Aoife O'Donovan, MPsychSc, PhD - Contact Information

Aoife O'Donovan, PhD

Title: Adjunct Assistant Professor


University College Dublin, PhD

Postgraduate Training:

Postdoctoral Scholar, Health Psychology, University of California, San Francisco; Society in Science – Branco Weiss Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Biography Summary:

Dr. Aoife O’Donovan is a Society in Science - Branco Weiss Fellow at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Her research is focused on uncovering how traumatic and chronic stress exposure increase risk for mental and physical disorders. To this end, she has studied the effects of psychological stress exposure on the endocrine and immune systems in samples with and without psychiatric disorders. Her work to date has revealed associations of psychological stress with elevated inflammation and oxidative stress, and with accelerated cellular aging as indexed by telomere length. In ongoing projects, she is examining if exaggerated neurobiological sensitivity to threat increases inflammation and drives accelerated cellular aging in the aftermath of trauma exposure. Dr. O’Donovan received an undergraduate degree in applied psychology from University College Cork, a master’s degree in health psychology from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a PhD in clinical psychobiology from University College Dublin. She received Fulbright and Rotary International scholarships to study at UCSF as a graduate student, and she was awarded the Neal E. Miller New Investigator Award for Early Career Contributions to Behavioral Medicine Research in 2012.


Aging; anxiety; chronic stress; immune system; inflammation; post-traumatic stress disorder; telomere; threat sensitivity; traumatic stress.

Campus Location: VAMC

Publications on PubMed »


Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service