Research Assistant Professor  - Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Dr. Kolacz is a research assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. He studies how the brain and body coordinate to shape emotional responses, the ways in which life history shapes reactions to stress and threats and how insights about these processes can make clinical interventions more effective. His research explores how chronic threat responses affect emotions in concert with functions of the body such as the heart, gut and muscles that control vocal intonation. He uses wearable sensors to noninvasively measure physiological activity in lab studies, in clinics and at home.

Dr. Kolacz leads ongoing projects to study the role of brain-body responses in trauma recovery and develop new methods to noninvasively measure physiological stress. His research is supported by the NIH to study the effects of mindfulness on anxiety and body stress responses and to identify physiological profiles of patients with chronic gastrointestinal diseases that are exacerbated by stress. 

Dr. Kolacz has co-authored more than 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals like Developmental Psychobiology, Psychological Trauma and the American Journal of Gastroenterology. He has received awards from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and the Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association. Dr. Kolacz is regularly invited to discuss his research at conferences across the United States and around the world.

Clinical and Research Interests

  • Wearable sensing to track outcomes and predict treatment response
  • Interventions for improving emotion regulation and reducing hyperarousal
  • Trauma recovery

Active Funding

  • Site PI: Digital health platform to deliver mindfulness as a Stress Management Intervention Leveraging on Electronic (SMILE) health records for racial and ethnic populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multi-year project funded by the NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • Co-investigator: Brain-gut-genome profiling in connective tissue disorder-related gastrointestinal dysfunction. Multi-year project funded by the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Education and Training

PhD: Developmental psychology and quantitative concentration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship: Traumatic Stress Research Consortium at the Kinsey Institute, Indiana University