Associate Professor
UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
Division Chief
+1 415 502-1010

Biography

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

Lyden GR, Barrett ES, Sathyanarayana S, Bush NR, Swan SH, Nguyen RHN. Pregnancy intention and phthalate metabolites among pregnant women in The Infant Development and Environment Study cohort. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2020 Apr 06.
Hu Z, Tylavsky FA, Kocak M, Fowke JH, Han JC, Davis RL, LeWinn KZ, Bush NR, Sathyanarayana S, Karr CJ, Zhao Q. Effects of Maternal Dietary Patterns during Pregnancy on Early Childhood Growth Trajectories and Obesity Risk: The CANDLE Study. Nutrients. 2020 Feb 13; 12(2).
Roubinov DS, Boyce WT, Bush NR. Informant-specific reports of peer and teacher relationships buffer the effects of harsh parenting on children's oppositional defiant disorder during kindergarten. Dev Psychopathol. 2020 02; 32(1):163-174.
Day DB, Collett BR, Barrett ES, Bush NR, Swan SH, Wang C, Sathyanarayana S. Prenatal sex hormones and behavioral outcomes in children. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2020 Mar; 113:104547.
Loftus CT, Ni Y, Szpiro AA, Hazlehurst MF, Tylavsky FA, Bush NR, Sathyanarayana S, Carroll KN, Young M, Karr CJ, LeWinn KZ. Exposure to ambient air pollution and early childhood behavior: A longitudinal cohort study. Environ Res. 2020 Apr; 183:109075.
Rosa MJ, Hartman TJ, Adgent M, Gardner K, Gebretsadik T, Moore PE, Davis RL, LeWinn KZ, Bush NR, Tylavsky F, Wright RJ, Carroll KN. Prenatal polyunsaturated fatty acids and child asthma: Effect modification by maternal asthma and child sex. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Mar; 145(3):800-807.e4.
Bush NR, Aschbacher K. Immune Biomarkers of Early-Life Adversity and Exposure to Stress and Violence-Searching Outside the Streetlight. JAMA Pediatr. 2019 Nov 04; 1-3.
Ferguson KK, Rosen EM, Barrett ES, Nguyen RHN, Bush N, McElrath TF, Swan SH, Sathyanarayana S. Joint impact of phthalate exposure and stressful life events in pregnancy on preterm birth. Environ Int. 2019 12; 133(Pt B):105254.
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. Prenatal Omega-3 and Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Childhood Atopic Dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2020 Mar; 8(3):937-944.
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. The PedBE clock accurately estimates DNA methylation age in pediatric buccal cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 14.
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. 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. Int J Behav Med. 2019 Oct; 26(5):461-473.
Roubinov DS, Epel ES, Adler NE, Laraia BA, Bush NR. Transactions between Maternal and Child Depressive Symptoms Emerge Early in Life. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2019 Aug 27; 1-11.
Hamad R, Batra A, Karasek D, LeWinn KZ, Bush NR, Davis RL, Tylavsky FA. The Impact of the Revised WIC Food Package on Maternal Nutrition During Pregnancy and Postpartum. Am J Epidemiol. 2019 08 01; 188(8):1493-1502.
Shakiba N, Ellis BJ, Bush NR, Boyce WT. Biological sensitivity to context: A test of the hypothesized U-shaped relation between early adversity and stress responsivity. Dev Psychopathol. 2019 Jul 26; 1-20.
van Dammen L, Bush NR, de Rooij SR, Mol BWJ, Groen H, Hoek A, Roseboom TJ. Childhood adversity and women's cardiometabolic health in adulthood: associations with health behaviors, psychological distress, mood symptoms, and personality. BMC Womens Health. 2019 07 23; 19(1):102.
Roubinov DS, Bush NR, Hagan MJ, Thompson J, Boyce WT. Associations between classroom climate and children's externalizing symptoms: The moderating effect of kindergarten children's parasympathetic reactivity. Dev Psychopathol. 2019 Jun 10; 1-12.
Loftus CT, Hazlehurst MF, Szpiro AA, Ni Y, Tylavsky FA, Bush NR, Sathyanarayana S, Carroll KN, Karr CJ, LeWinn KZ. Prenatal air pollution and childhood IQ: Preliminary evidence of effect modification by folate. Environ Res. 2019 09; 176:108505.
Barrett ES, Mbowe O, Thurston SW, Butts S, Wang C, Nguyen R, Bush N, Redmon JB, Sheshu S, Swan SH, Sathyanarayana S. Predictors of Steroid Hormone Concentrations in Early Pregnancy: Results from a Multi-Center Cohort. Matern Child Health J. 2019 Mar; 23(3):397-407.
Bush NR, Bibbins-Domingo K. Power of the Positive: Childhood Assets and Future Cardiometabolic Health. Pediatrics. 2019 03; 143(3).
Hu Z, Tylavsky FA, Han JC, Kocak M, Fowke JH, Davis RL, Lewinn K, Bush NR, Zhao Q. Maternal metabolic factors during pregnancy predict early childhood growth trajectories and obesity risk: the CANDLE Study. Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 10; 43(10):1914-1922.
Anand KJS, Rigdon J, Rovnaghi CR, Qin F, Tembulkar S, Bush N, LeWinn K, Tylavsky FA, Davis R, Barr DA, Gotlib IH. Measuring socioeconomic adversity in early life. Acta Paediatr. 2019 07; 108(7):1267-1277.
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. Maternal urinary phthalate metabolites in relation to gestational diabetes and glucose intolerance during pregnancy. Environ Int. 2019 02; 123:588-596.
Shin EK, LeWinn K, Bush N, Tylavsky FA, Davis RL, Shaban-Nejad A. Association of Maternal Social Relationships With Cognitive Development in Early Childhood. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 01 04; 2(1):e186963.
Bornehag CG, Lindh C, Reichenberg A, Wikström S, Unenge Hallerback M, Evans SF, Sathyanarayana S, Barrett ES, Nguyen RHN, Bush NR, Swan SH. Association of Prenatal Phthalate Exposure With Language Development in Early Childhood. JAMA Pediatr. 2018 12 01; 172(12):1169-1176.
Rosen EM, van 't Erve TJ, Boss J, Sathyanarayana S, Barrett ES, Nguyen RHN, Bush NR, Milne GL, McElrath TF, Swan SH, Ferguson KK. Urinary oxidative stress biomarkers and accelerated time to spontaneous delivery. Free Radic Biol Med. 2019 01; 130:419-425.
Bush NR, Edgar RD, Park M, MacIsaac JL, McEwen LM, Adler NE, Essex MJ, Kobor MS, Boyce WT. The biological embedding of early-life socioeconomic status and family adversity in children's genome-wide DNA methylation. Epigenomics. 2018 11; 10(11):1445-1461.
Roubinov DS, Bush NR, Adler NE, Boyce WT. Differences in Febrile and Respiratory Illnesses in Minority Children: The Sociodemographic Context of Restrictive Parenting. Acad Pediatr. 2019 07; 19(5):534-541.
Goodman SJ, Roubinov DS, Bush NR, Park M, Farré P, Emberly E, Hertzman C, Essex MJ, Kobor MS, Boyce WT. Children's biobehavioral reactivity to challenge predicts DNA methylation in adolescence and emerging adulthood. Dev Sci. 2019 03; 22(2):e12739.
Ungar, M., Hadfield, K., Bush, N., Quesne-Vallee, A., & Pekelny, I.. Pathways and Barriers to the Transition to Parenthood: Existential Concerns regarding Fertility, Pregnancy, and Early Parenthood. (Ed. O. Taubman-Ben-Ari). Resilience to prenatal stress. 2018; (in press).
Slopen N, Roberts AL, LeWinn KZ, Bush NR, Rovnaghi CR, Tylavsky F, Anand KJS. Maternal experiences of trauma and hair cortisol in early childhood in a prospective cohort. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2018 12; 98:168-176.
Roubinov DS, Hagan MJ, Boyce WT, Adler NE, Bush NR. Family Socioeconomic Status, Cortisol, and Physical Health in Early Childhood: The Role of Advantageous Neighborhood Characteristics. Psychosom Med. 2018 06; 80(5):492-501.
Vieten C, Laraia BA, Kristeller J, Adler N, Coleman-Phox K, Bush NR, Wahbeh H, Duncan LG, Epel E. The mindful moms training: development of a mindfulness-based intervention to reduce stress and overeating during pregnancy. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2018 Jun 01; 18(1):201.
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. Novel Interventions to Reduce Stress and Overeating in Overweight Pregnant Women: A Feasibility Study. Matern Child Health J. 2018 05; 22(5):670-678.
Jones-Mason, K., Alkon, A., Coccia, M., & Bush, N. . Autonomic nervous system functioning assessed during the still-face paradigm: A meta-analysis and systematic review of methods, approach and findings. Developmental Review . 2018.
Eick SM, Barrett ES, van 't Erve TJ, Nguyen RHN, Bush NR, Milne G, Swan SH, Ferguson KK. Association between prenatal psychological stress and oxidative stress during pregnancy. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2018 07; 32(4):318-326.
Felder JN, Roubinov D, Bush NR, Coleman-Phox K, Vieten C, Laraia B, Adler NE, Epel E. Effect of prenatal mindfulness training on depressive symptom severity through 18-months postpartum: A latent profile analysis. J Clin Psychol. 2018 07; 74(7):1117-1125.
Roubinov DS, Felder JN, Vieten C, Coleman-Phox K, Laraia B, Adler N, Wilson L, Epel E, Bush NR. Maternal depressive symptoms and infant healthcare utilization: The moderating role of prenatal mindfulness. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2018 Jul - Aug; 53:82-83.
Jones-Mason KM, Coccia M, Grover S, Epel ES, Bush NR. Basal and reactivity levels of cortisol in one-month-old infants born to overweight or obese mothers from an ethnically and racially diverse, low-income community sample. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2018 02; 88:115-120.
Roubinov DS, Hagan MJ, Boyce WT, Essex MJ, Bush NR. Child temperament and teacher relationship interactively predict cortisol expression: The prism of classroom climate. Dev Psychopathol. 2017 12; 29(5):1763-1775.
Bush NR, Jones-Mason K, Coccia M, Caron Z, Alkon A, Thomas M, Coleman-Phox K, Wadhwa PD, Laraia BA, Adler NE, Epel ES. Effects of pre- and postnatal maternal stress on infant temperament and autonomic nervous system reactivity and regulation in a diverse, low-income population. Dev Psychopathol. 2017 12; 29(5):1553-1571.
Hagan MJ, Browne DT, Sulik M, Ippen CG, Bush N, Lieberman AF. Parent and Child Trauma Symptoms During Child-Parent Psychotherapy: A Prospective Cohort Study of Dyadic Change. J Trauma Stress. 2017 12; 30(6):690-697.
Felder JN, Laraia B, Coleman-Phox K, Bush N, Suresh M, Thomas M, Adler N, Epel E, Prather AA. Poor Sleep Quality, Psychological Distress, and the Buffering Effect of Mindfulness Training During Pregnancy. Behav Sleep Med. 2018 Nov-Dec; 16(6):611-624.
Child temperament, classroom climate, and changes in cortisol over the kindergarten year. Development and Psychopathology. 2017; 29:1763-1775.
Bush NR, Allison AL, Miller AL, Deardorff J, Adler NE, Boyce WT. Socioeconomic Disparities in Childhood Obesity Risk: Association With an Oxytocin Receptor Polymorphism. JAMA Pediatr. 2017 01 01; 171(1):61-67.
Hagan MJ, Bush N, Mendes WB, Arenander J, Epel E, Puterman E. Associations between childhood adversity and daily suppression and avoidance in response to stress in adulthood: can neurobiological sensitivity help explain this relationship? Anxiety Stress Coping. 2017 Mar; 30(2):163-175.
McLaughlin KA, Lane RD, Bush NR. Introduction to the Special Issue of Psychosomatic Medicine: Mechanisms Linking Early-Life Adversity to Physical Health. Psychosom Med. 2016 Nov/Dec; 78(9):976-978.
Bush NR, Lane RD, McLaughlin KA. Mechanisms Underlying the Association Between Early-Life Adversity and Physical Health: Charting a Course for the Future. Psychosom Med. 2016 Nov/Dec; 78(9):1114-1119.
Hagan MJ, Roubinov DS, Adler NE, Boyce WT, Bush NR. Socioeconomic Adversity, Negativity in the Parent Child-Relationship, and Physiological Reactivity: An Examination of Pathways and Interactive Processes Affecting Young Children's Physical Health. Psychosom Med. 2016 Nov/Dec; 78(9):998-1007.
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. An epigenetic clock for gestational age at birth based on blood methylation data. Genome Biol. 2016 10 07; 17(1):206.
Arons A, Bolbocean C, Bush NR, Tylavsky FA, LeWinn KZ. Participation in the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children is not associated with early childhood socioemotional development: Results from a longitudinal cohort study. Prev Med Rep. 2016 Dec; 4:507-11.
Sathyanarayana S, Grady R, Barrett ES, Redmon B, Nguyen RHN, Barthold JS, Bush NR, Swan SH. First trimester phthalate exposure and male newborn genital anomalies. Environ Res. 2016 Nov; 151:777-782.
Leung CW, Laraia BA, Coleman-Phox K, Bush NR, Lin J, Blackburn EH, Adler NE, Epel ES. Sugary beverage and food consumption, and leukocyte telomere length maintenance in pregnant women. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 09; 70(9):1086-8.
Jones-Mason K, Allen IE, Bush N, Hamilton S. Epigenetic marks as the link between environment and development: examination of the associations between attachment, socioeconomic status, and methylation of the SLC6A4 gene. Brain Behav. 2016 07; 6(7):e00480.
Congdon JL, Adler NE, Epel ES, Laraia BA, Bush NR. A Prospective Investigation of Prenatal Mood and Childbirth Perceptions in an Ethnically Diverse, Low-Income Sample. Birth. 2016 06; 43(2):159-66.
Golemiec M, Schneider J, Boyce WT, Bush NR, Adler N, Levine JD. Layered Social Network Analysis Reveals Complex Relationships in Kindergarteners. Front Psychol. 2016; 7:276.
Bush NR, Caron ZK, Blackburn KS, Alkon A. Measuring Cardiac Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Activity in Toddlers - Resting and Developmental Challenges. J Vis Exp. 2016 Feb 25; (108):53652.
Bush, N., & Boyce, W. T.. Developmental psychopathology (D. Cicchetti, Eds.). Differential sensitivity to context: Implications for developmental psychopathology. 2016; 2:107-137.
Quas JA, Yim IS, Oberlander TF, Nordstokke D, Essex MJ, Armstrong JM, Bush N, Obradovic J, Boyce WT. The symphonic structure of childhood stress reactivity: patterns of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and adrenocortical responses to psychological challenge. Dev Psychopathol. 2014 Nov; 26(4 Pt 1):963-82.
Bush, N., & Boyce, W. T.. Handbook of developmental psychopathology (M. Lewis & K. Rudolph. Eds.). The contributions of early experience to biological development and sensitivity to context. 2014; 287-309.
Rawdin, B., Lindqvist, D., Bush, N., Hamilton, S., Boparai, R., Makin, S., Reus, V., Mellon, S, & Wolkowitz, O.. Treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders (R. Hagerman & R. Hendren Eds.). Neurodevelopmental and Neurobiological Aspects of Major Depression. 2014; 73-104.
Adler N, Bush NR, Pantell MS. Rigor, vigor, and the study of health disparities. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 16; 109 Suppl 2:17154-9.
Boyce WT, Obradovic J, Bush NR, Stamperdahl J, Kim YS, Adler N. Social stratification, classroom climate, and the behavioral adaptation of kindergarten children. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 16; 109 Suppl 2:17168-73.
Zalewski, M., Lengua, L., Fisher, P., Bush, N., Trancik, A., & Meltzoff, A.. Poverty and single parenting: Relations with preschoolers' cortisol and effortful control. Infant and child development. 2012; (21):537-554.
Bush NR, Obradovic J, Adler N, Boyce WT. Kindergarten stressors and cumulative adrenocortical activation: the "first straws" of allostatic load? Dev Psychopathol. 2011 Nov; 23(4):1089-106.
Kiff CJ, Lengua LJ, Bush NR. Temperament variation in sensitivity to parenting: predicting changes in depression and anxiety. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2011 Nov; 39(8):1199-212.
Kroenke CH, Epel E, Adler N, Bush NR, Obradovic J, Lin J, Blackburn E, Stamperdahl JL, Boyce WT. Autonomic and adrenocortical reactivity and buccal cell telomere length in kindergarten children. Psychosom Med. 2011 Sep; 73(7):533-40.
Bush NR, Alkon A, Obradovic J, Stamperdahl J, Boyce WT. Differentiating challenge reactivity from psychomotor activity in studies of children's psychophysiology: considerations for theory and measurement. J Exp Child Psychol. 2011 Sep; 110(1):62-79.
Obradovic J, Bush NR, Boyce WT. The interactive effect of marital conflict and stress reactivity on externalizing and internalizing symptoms: the role of laboratory stressors. Dev Psychopathol. 2011 Feb; 23(1):101-14.
Bush NR, Lengua LJ, Colder CR. Temperament as a moderator of the relation between neighborhood and children's adjustment. J Appl Dev Psychol. 2010 09; 31(5):351-361.
Obradovic J, Bush NR, Stamperdahl J, Adler NE, Boyce WT. Biological sensitivity to context: the interactive effects of stress reactivity and family adversity on socioemotional behavior and school readiness. Child Dev. 2010 Jan-Feb; 81(1):270-89.
Lengua LJ, Bush NR, Long AC, Kovacs EA, Trancik AM. Effortful control as a moderator of the relation between contextual risk factors and growth in adjustment problems. Dev Psychopathol. 2008; 20(2):509-28.
Lengua LJ, Honorado E, Bush NR. Contextual risk and parenting as predictors of effortful control and social competence in preschool children. J Appl Dev Psychol. 2007 Jan; 28(1):40-55.
Colder CR, Lengua LJ, Fite PJ, Mott JA, Bush NR. Temperament in context: Infant temperament moderates the relationship between perceived neighborhood quality and behavior problems. J Appl Dev Psychol. 2006 Sep; 27(5):456-467.
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. Unlicensed residential programs: the next challenge in protecting youth. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2006 Jul; 76(3):295-303.