Pyter_LeahAssociate Professor, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research
Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Co-Director, Neuroscience Graduate Program

College of Medicine
Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

460 Medical Center Dr.
Columbus, OH 43210

Research Lab Goals

To improve the mental and bodily health of cancer patients and cancer survivors. To understanding the basic mechanisms underlying disease-induced changes in inflammatory processes in the brain and periphery. Specifically, I use rodent models of cancer to study the immune-mediated effects of cancer on behavior and tissue repair.

Research and Clinical Interests

  • Cancer behavioral comorbidities
  • Rhythms
  • Endocrinology
  • Microbiome

Research Techniques

  • Small animal surgery
  • Protein and mRNA quantification
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Behavioral tests

Current Research Projects

Cancer, Neuroinflammation and Behavior

Depression and cognitive impairments are more prevalent in cancer patients than the general population. This is likely due to a combination of the disease process, cancer treatments, and the stress of dealing with a life-threatening disease. This project focuses on the neuroinflammatory mechanisms by which peripheral tumors alter brain function (depressive-like and cognitive behaviors) in a mouse model of breast cancer.

Cancer and Wound Healing

All cancer patients require tissue repair as part of their treatment process (e.g., surgery, chemotherapy, radiation). However, cancer patients are generally immunocompromised. For this side of our research, we are examining how oral cancer influences treatment-relevant inflammatory processes (e.g., wound healing) in the skin and muscosa of a mouse model.

PubMed articles  Research Lab

Education and Training

MS: Biology University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
PhD: Neuroscience The Ohio State University
Visiting Research Assistant Professor: Center for Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration, University of Illinois at Chicago, worked with Drs. Phillip Marucha, Christopher Engeland and Luisa DiPietro
Fellowship: Institute for Mind and Biology, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, worked with Drs. Brian Prendergast and Martha McClintock

Professional Memberships

  • Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society
  • Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
  • American Psychosomatic Society
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Ohio State Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Group
  • OSU Cancer Comprehensive Cancer Center – Cancer Control Program

Honors and News

  • Early Career Reviewer at the Center for Scientific Review, NIH, 2015 
  • American Psychosomatic Society Young Investigator Colloquium Scholar ($500), 2014 
  • American Psychosomatic Society Young Investigator Colloquium Honorable Mention, 2013 
  • University of Illinois at Chicago Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Associate Representative, 2012 

Press Coverage