Director

Sheila G. West, Ph.D

Dr. West Curriculum Vitae

Sheila G. West, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Director of the Vascular Health Interventions Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. West leads an interdisciplinary research team that conducts randomized clinical trials examining effects of nutrition and psychological stress on blood pressure and vascular function in adults at risk cardiovascular disease. The goal of her research program is to identify foods and nutrients that enhance vascular function and reduce blood pressure responses to stress. In 1997, Dr. West earned a Ph.D in Experimental and Biological Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received extensive training in cardiovascular physiology and health psychology. She received a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Mental Health and a university-wide teaching award while at UNC. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at Ohio State University, and joined the faculty at Penn State in 1999. She was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 2005.

Dr. West’s work has been published in Hypertension, Current Atherosclerosis Reports, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and other biomedical and psychological journals. She has authored or co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters examining the effects of dietary interventions and psychological stress on markers of cardiac risk. Her recent studies have examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acids, pistachios, walnuts, dairy foods, and soy on vascular endothelial function (measured via ultrasound) and blood pressure responses to acute stress. She has consulted for several food and nutraceutical companies and has served as a member of Scientific Advisory Boards for the Soy Nutrition Institute, the California Walnut Commission, and the California Pistachio Commission. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and numerous industry groups. Dr. West is actively involved in graduate and undergraduate education at Penn State and she has developed a semester long course called “Biobehavioral Aspects of Stress.”