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Allison Aiello, Ph.D., Professor, Epidemiology


Dr. Aiello's research seeks to integrate social and biological data across the life course, including epigenetic approaches, to identify the key triggers of population variation in susceptibility to dementia, poor mental health, cardiometabolic, and immune/infectious disease outcomes. Her overall research goal is to elucidate whether stress-related biological imprinting, through immune and epigenetic mechanisms, explain how health inequities from these conditions arise and produce disease risk across the life span.

Dr. Aiello is an expert in social and infectious disease epidemiology with a focus on aging and life course determinants of health. Her research examines social, psychological, and immunological aspects of disease disparities. She has pioneered research linking socioeconomic position, cytomegalovirus infection, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cognition, and physical function across the life course. Dr. Aiello has several ongoing projects examining social determinants of infection, telomeres, and immune response in diverse populations across the US and in the UK. She has extensive research experience involving socioeconomic health disparity research and overseeing large population-based epidemiologic studies involving the collection and analysis of biospecimens across a range of ages. Dr. Aiello's research contributes to two of the CPC's primary research areas-Demography and Population Health. Her research investigates individual- and population-level socioeconomic, psychosocial, and racial/ethnic disparities in infectious and chronic diseases, with a focus on biological pathways and mediators of health across the life course among minority populations. Dr. Aiello's work involves all three of the CPC's signature research approches: her work is multidisciplinary, considers factors at multiple levels, and makes use of longitudinal data collection and analysis to evaluate interventions on both the individual and population level.
Dr. Aiello is PI for the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study (DNHS), a population representative cohort study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This study began just before the start of the Great Recession and has provided important data on how socioeconomic disadvantage influences health among African Americans. Dr. Aiello is also PI of the Life Course Socioeconomics, Acculturation, & Type-2 Diabetes Risk Among Latinos Study (the Ninos study). This NIH-funded cohort study assesses how inter- and intra-generational socioeconomic disadvantage influences diabetes and metabolic health across generations of Latinos living in California. In addition, she is PI of the Infectious Links between Psychosocial Stress and Aging Study, where she examines the role of persistent pathogens in the pathways between exposure to psychosocial stress and telomere shortening in the UK Whitehall study.

Dr. Aiello continues to explore how life course socioeconomic determinants and neighborhood- and individual-level socioeconomic disadvantage influence immunological functioning and aging. She is currently extending her work on life course determinants by examining prenatal immunological programming from exposure to socioeconomic disadvantage and stressors at the individual and neighborhood level.

Related Projects

Last Updated: 2019-09-13