Nicki Bush, PhD

Div. Chief for Development Med
Psychiatry

Dr. Bush is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics.
She is the Director (Division Chief) of the Division of Developmental Medicine and the Lisa and John Pritzker Distinguished Professor of Developmental and Behavioral Health.

She is an M-PI for the ECHO National Children's Study PATHWAYS cohort (NIH) and a site PI for the ECHO NYU Center cohort (NIH), the Co-Scientific Director of the CANDLE study (Urban Child Institute; NIH) the PI of the SEED prenatal programming study (R01), the UCSF PI of the TIDES multi-site prenatal programming study (R01), the PI of the PAWS-Genetics Substudy (RWJF), and the PI of the CTRP-HEALTH Trauma and Biomarkers study (CTSI; RWJF; JPB Foundation).

Dr. Bush’s research focuses on the manner in which early social contexts interface with individual differences to affect developmental trajectories across the life course. She examines how socioeconomic, parental, and environmental risks for maladaptive behavior and developmental psychopathology are modulated by individual differences in children’s temperamental, neurobiological, and genetic reactivity to stress. She also investigates the ways in which contextual experiences of adversity become biologically embedded by changing children’s developing physiologic systems and epigenetic processes, thereby shaping individual differences that mediate and moderate the effects of context on trajectories of development and mental health. Her work focuses on identifying points for prevention of disease as well as protective factors and interventions that promote resilience.

Biography Summary:

Nicole (Nicki) Bush joined the faculty after completing a postdoctoral fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the UCSF/UCB site. Prior to that, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in children’s physiologic stress reactivity at UC Berkeley. She received her PhD in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and completed her child clinical training internship at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She has a background in basic research as well as clinical and community intervention with families from high-stress contexts, and she is actively involved in policy-oriented projects.

Her research has examined relations among biobehavioral predispositions (e.g., temperament and physiology) and stressful life circumstances (e.g., poverty, parenting, and neighborhood) in the prediction of a broad range of children's mental health outcomes. In recent years, Dr. Bush has expanded her examination of contextual risk effects by infusing her models with a new understanding of biology (physiology, genetics, epigenetics) throughout early development, including the prenatal period. Her work integrates insights from social epidemiology, sociology, clinical psychology, and developmental psychobiology to elucidate the interplay of biology and context in youth development, as physiological systems mature and social environments change. Her examinations of how social disadvantage interacts with and alters children’s biological stress response systems aim to clarify the etiology of children’s mental and physical health outcomes and subsequent adult health. She collaborates with clinical interventionists to identify preventative and intervention efforts that can promote resilience in children and families and reverse biological and psychological harm from adversity.

Clinical Expertise:

Disruptive behaviors in early childhood; adolescent mood and anxiety; adolescent delinquency; family therapy; dialectical behavioral therapy; individual adult therapy; community intervention in high-risk neighborhoods and schools; unlicensed wilderness therapy programs.

Publications: 

Maternal trauma and fear history predict BDNF methylation and gene expression in newborns.

PeerJ

Pilkay SR, Combs-Orme T, Tylavsky F, Bush N, Smith AK

Prenatal Maternal Objective and Subjective Stress Exposures and Rapid Infant Weight Gain.

The Journal of pediatrics

Felder JN, Epel E, Coccia M, Cordeiro A, Laraia B, Adler N, Coleman-Phox K, Bush NR

Pregnancy intention and phthalate metabolites among pregnant women in The Infant Development and Environment Study cohort.

Paediatric and perinatal epidemiology

Lyden GR, Barrett ES, Sathyanarayana S, Bush NR, Swan SH, Nguyen RHN

Effects of Maternal Dietary Patterns during Pregnancy on Early Childhood Growth Trajectories and Obesity Risk: The CANDLE Study.

Nutrients

Hu Z, Tylavsky FA, Kocak M, Fowke JH, Han JC, Davis RL, LeWinn KZ, Bush NR, Sathyanarayana S, Karr CJ, Zhao Q

Prenatal sex hormones and behavioral outcomes in children.

Psychoneuroendocrinology

Day DB, Collett BR, Barrett ES, Bush NR, Swan SH, Wang C, Sathyanarayana S

Exposure to ambient air pollution and early childhood behavior: A longitudinal cohort study.

Environmental research

Loftus CT, Ni Y, Szpiro AA, Hazlehurst MF, Tylavsky FA, Bush NR, Sathyanarayana S, Carroll KN, Young M, Karr CJ, LeWinn KZ

Prenatal polyunsaturated fatty acids and child asthma: effect modification by maternal asthma and child sex.

The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology

Rosa MJ, Hartman TJ, Adgent M, Gardner K, Gebretsadik T, Moore PE, Davis RL, LeWinn KZ, Bush NR, Tylavsky F, Wright RJ, Carroll KN

Joint impact of phthalate exposure and stressful life events in pregnancy on preterm birth.

Environment international

Ferguson KK, Rosen EM, Barrett ES, Nguyen RHN, Bush N, McElrath TF, Swan SH, Sathyanarayana S

Prenatal Omega-3 And Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids And Childhood Atopic Dermatitis.

The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice

Gardner KG, Gebretsadik T, Hartman TJ, Rosa MJ, Tylavsky FA, Adgent MA, Moore PE, Kocak M, Bush NR, Davis RL, Lewinn KZ, Wright RJ, Carroll KN

The PedBE clock accurately estimates DNA methylation age in pediatric buccal cells.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

McEwen LM, O'Donnell KJ, McGill MG, Edgar RD, Jones MJ, MacIsaac JL, Lin DTS, Ramadori K, Morin A, Gladish N, Garg E, Unternaehrer E, Pokhvisneva I, Karnani N, Kee MZL, Klengel T, Adler NE, Barr RG, Letourneau N, Giesbrecht GF, Reynolds JN, Czamara D, Armstrong JM, Essex MJ, de Weerth C, Beijers R, Tollenaar MS, Bradley B, Jovanovic T, Ressler KJ, Steiner M, Entringer S, Wadhwa PD, Buss C, Bush NR, Binder EB, Boyce WT, Meaney MJ, Horvath S, Kobor MS

Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Distress, Weight Gain, and Glucose Control for Pregnant Low-Income Women: A Quasi-Experimental Trial Using the ORBIT Model.

International journal of behavioral medicine

Epel E, Laraia B, Coleman-Phox K, Leung C, Vieten C, Mellin L, Kristeller JL, Thomas M, Stotland N, Bush N, Lustig RH, Dallman M, Hecht FM, Adler N

Transactions between Maternal and Child Depressive Symptoms Emerge Early in Life.

Journal of clinical child and adolescent psychology : the official journal for the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 53

Roubinov DS, Epel ES, Adler NE, Laraia BA, Bush NR

The Impact of the Revised WIC Food Package on Maternal Nutrition during Pregnancy and Postpartum.

American journal of epidemiology

Hamad R, Batra A, Karasek D, LeWinn KZ, Bush NR, Davis RL, Tylavsky FA

Prenatal air pollution and childhood IQ: Preliminary evidence of effect modification by folate.

Environmental research

Loftus CT, Hazlehurst MF, Szpiro AA, Ni Y, Tylavsky FA, Bush NR, Sathyanarayana S, Carroll KN, Karr CJ, LeWinn KZ

Predictors of Steroid Hormone Concentrations in Early Pregnancy: Results from a Multi-Center Cohort.

Maternal and child health journal

Barrett ES, Mbowe O, Thurston SW, Butts S, Wang C, Nguyen R, Bush N, Redmon JB, Sheshu S, Swan SH, Sathyanarayana S

Maternal metabolic factors during pregnancy predict early childhood growth trajectories and obesity risk: the CANDLE Study.

International journal of obesity (2005)

Hu Z, Tylavsky FA, Han JC, Kocak M, Fowke JH, Davis RL, Lewinn K, Bush NR, Zhao Q

Measuring socioeconomic adversity in early life.

Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)

Anand KJS, Rigdon J, Rovnaghi CR, Qin F, Tembulkar S, Bush N, LeWinn K, Tylavsky FA, Davis R, Barr DA, Gotlib IH

Maternal urinary phthalate metabolites in relation to gestational diabetes and glucose intolerance during pregnancy.

Environment international

Shaffer RM, Ferguson KK, Sheppard L, James-Todd T, Butts S, Chandrasekaran S, Swan SH, Barrett ES, Nguyen R, Bush N, McElrath TF, Sathyanarayana S

Association of Maternal Social Relationships With Cognitive Development in Early Childhood.

JAMA network open

Shin EK, LeWinn K, Bush N, Tylavsky FA, Davis RL, Shaban-Nejad A

Association of Prenatal Phthalate Exposure With Language Development in Early Childhood.

JAMA pediatrics

Bornehag CG, Lindh C, Reichenberg A, Wikström S, Unenge Hallerback M, Evans SF, Sathyanarayana S, Barrett ES, Nguyen RHN, Bush NR, Swan SH

Urinary oxidative stress biomarkers and accelerated time to spontaneous delivery.

Free radical biology & medicine

Rosen EM, van 't Erve TJ, Boss J, Sathyanarayana S, Barrett ES, Nguyen RHN, Bush NR, Milne GL, McElrath TF, Swan SH, Ferguson KK

The biological embedding of early-life socioeconomic status and family adversity in children's genome-wide DNA methylation.

Epigenomics

Bush NR, Edgar RD, Park M, MacIsaac JL, McEwen LM, Adler NE, Essex MJ, Kobor MS, Boyce WT

Children's biobehavioral reactivity to challenge predicts DNA methylation in adolescence and emerging adulthood.

Developmental science

Goodman SJ, Roubinov DS, Bush NR, Park M, Farré P, Emberly E, Hertzman C, Essex MJ, Kobor MS, Boyce WT

Maternal experiences of trauma and hair cortisol in early childhood in a prospective cohort.

Psychoneuroendocrinology

Slopen N, Roberts AL, LeWinn KZ, Bush NR, Rovnaghi CR, Tylavsky F, Anand KJS

The mindful moms training: development of a mindfulness-based intervention to reduce stress and overeating during pregnancy.

BMC pregnancy and childbirth

Vieten C, Laraia BA, Kristeller J, Adler N, Coleman-Phox K, Bush NR, Wahbeh H, Duncan LG, Epel E

Novel Interventions to Reduce Stress and Overeating in Overweight Pregnant Women: A Feasibility Study.

Maternal and child health journal

Laraia BA, Adler NE, Coleman-Phox K, Vieten C, Mellin L, Kristeller JL, Thomas M, Stotland NE, Lustig RH, Dallman MF, Hecht FM, Bush NR, de Groat CL, Epel E

Association between prenatal psychological stress and oxidative stress during pregnancy.

Paediatric and perinatal epidemiology

Eick SM, Barrett ES, van 't Erve TJ, Nguyen RHN, Bush NR, Milne G, Swan SH, Ferguson KK

Effect of prenatal mindfulness training on depressive symptom severity through 18-months postpartum: A latent profile analysis.

Journal of clinical psychology

Felder JN, Roubinov D, Bush NR, Coleman-Phox K, Vieten C, Laraia B, Adler NE, Epel E

Maternal depressive symptoms and infant healthcare utilization: The moderating role of prenatal mindfulness.

General hospital psychiatry

Roubinov DS, Felder JN, Vieten C, Coleman-Phox K, Laraia B, Adler N, Wilson L, Epel E, Bush NR

Child temperament and teacher relationship interactively predict cortisol expression: The prism of classroom climate.

Development and psychopathology

Roubinov DS, Hagan MJ, Boyce WT, Essex MJ, Bush NR

Effects of pre- and postnatal maternal stress on infant temperament and autonomic nervous system reactivity and regulation in a diverse, low-income population.

Development and psychopathology

Bush NR, Jones-Mason K, Coccia M, Caron Z, Alkon A, Thomas M, Coleman-Phox K, Wadhwa PD, Laraia BA, Adler NE, Epel ES

Parent and Child Trauma Symptoms During Child-Parent Psychotherapy: A Prospective Cohort Study of Dyadic Change.

Journal of traumatic stress

Hagan MJ, Browne DT, Sulik M, Ippen CG, Bush N, Lieberman AF

Poor Sleep Quality, Psychological Distress, and the Buffering Effect of Mindfulness Training During Pregnancy.

Behavioral sleep medicine

Felder JN, Laraia B, Coleman-Phox K, Bush N, Suresh M, Thomas M, Adler N, Epel E, Prather AA

Socioeconomic Disparities in Childhood Obesity Risk: Association With an Oxytocin Receptor Polymorphism.

JAMA pediatrics

Bush NR, Allison AL, Miller AL, Deardorff J, Adler NE, Boyce WT

An epigenetic clock for gestational age at birth based on blood methylation data.

Genome Biology

Knight AK, Craig JM, Theda C, Bækvad-Hansen M, Bybjerg-Grauholm J, Hansen CS, Hollegaard MV, Hougaard DM, Mortensen PB, Weinsheimer SM, Werge TM, Brennan PA, Cubells JF, Newport DJ, Stowe ZN, Cheong JL, Dalach P, Doyle LW, Loke YJ, Baccarelli AA, Just AC, Wright RO, Téllez-Rojo MM, Svensson K, Trevisi L, Kennedy EM, Binder EB, Iurato S, Czamara D, Räikkönen K, Lahti JM, Pesonen AK, Kajantie E, Villa PM, Laivuori H, Hämäläinen E, Park HJ, Bailey LB, Parets SE, Kilaru V, Menon R, Horvath S, Bush NR, LeWinn KZ, Tylavsky FA, Conneely KN, Smith AK

First trimester phthalate exposure and male newborn genital anomalies.

Environmental research

Sathyanarayana S, Grady R, Barrett ES, Redmon B, Nguyen RHN, Barthold JS, Bush NR, Swan SH

Sugary beverage and food consumption, and leukocyte telomere length maintenance in pregnant women.

European journal of clinical nutrition

Leung CW, Laraia BA, Coleman-Phox K, Bush NR, Lin J, Blackburn EH, Adler NE, Epel ES

Layered Social Network Analysis Reveals Complex Relationships in Kindergarteners.

Frontiers in psychology

Golemiec M, Schneider J, Boyce WT, Bush NR, Adler N, Levine JD

Measuring Cardiac Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Activity in Toddlers - Resting and Developmental Challenges.

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE

Bush NR, Caron ZK, Blackburn KS, Alkon A

Developmental psychopathology (D. Cicchetti, Eds.)

Differential sensitivity to context: Implications for developmental psychopathology.

Bush, N., & Boyce, W. T.

The symphonic structure of childhood stress reactivity: patterns of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and adrenocortical responses to psychological challenge.

Development and psychopathology

Quas JA, Yim IS, Oberlander TF, Nordstokke D, Essex MJ, Armstrong JM, Bush N, Obradovic J, Boyce WT

Handbook of developmental psychopathology (M. Lewis & K. Rudolph. Eds.)

The contributions of early experience to biological development and sensitivity to context.

Bush, N., & Boyce, W. T.

Treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders (R. Hagerman & R. Hendren Eds.)

Neurodevelopmental and Neurobiological Aspects of Major Depression

Rawdin, B., Lindqvist, D., Bush, N., Hamilton, S., Boparai, R., Makin, S., Reus, V., Mellon, S, & Wolkowitz, O.

Rigor, vigor, and the study of health disparities.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Adler N, Bush NR, Pantell MS

Social stratification, classroom climate, and the behavioral adaptation of kindergarten children.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Boyce WT, Obradovic J, Bush NR, Stamperdahl J, Kim YS, Adler N

Poverty and single parenting: Relations with preschoolers' cortisol and effortful control

Infant and child development

Zalewski, M., Lengua, L., Fisher, P., Bush, N., Trancik, A., & Meltzoff, A.

Kindergarten stressors and cumulative adrenocortical activation: the "first straws" of allostatic load?

Development and psychopathology

Bush NR, Obradovic J, Adler N, Boyce WT

Temperament variation in sensitivity to parenting: predicting changes in depression and anxiety.

Journal of abnormal child psychology

Kiff CJ, Lengua LJ, Bush NR

Autonomic and adrenocortical reactivity and buccal cell telomere length in kindergarten children.

Psychosomatic medicine

Kroenke CH, Epel E, Adler N, Bush NR, Obradovic J, Lin J, Blackburn E, Stamperdahl JL, Boyce WT

Temperament as a moderator of the relation between neighborhood and children's adjustment.

Journal of applied developmental psychology

Bush NR, Lengua LJ, Colder CR

Effortful control as a moderator of the relation between contextual risk factors and growth in adjustment problems.

Development and psychopathology

Lengua LJ, Bush NR, Long AC, Kovacs EA, Trancik AM

Contextual risk and parenting as predictors of effortful control and social competence in preschool children.

Journal of applied developmental psychology

Lengua LJ, Honorado E, Bush NR

Temperament in context: Infant temperament moderates the relationship between perceived neighborhood quality and behavior problems.

Journal of applied developmental psychology

Colder CR, Lengua LJ, Fite PJ, Mott JA, Bush NR

Unlicensed residential programs: the next challenge in protecting youth.

The American journal of orthopsychiatry

Friedman RM, Pinto A, Behar L, Bush N, Chirolla A, Epstein M, Green A, Hawkins P, Huff B, Huffine C, Mohr W, Seltzer T, Vaughn C, Whitehead K, Young CK