Presentation by our Invited Speaker


Prof Anna Whittaker 


Department of Psychology  

University of Birmingham


All are welcome, light refreshments will be served


Stress and cardiovascular reactivity:

Consequences and correlates of extreme stress reactions.


Venue: E1-022 (Main Building)

Friday 13th April at 1pm


This talk will explore how our physiological responses to psychological stress can be used to help us understand more about health, wellbeing and behaviour as well as predicting our future risk of disease or healthy ageing.  It will challenge the notion that exaggerated reactions to stress are the most detrimental to health through presenting a range of research showing that inadequate stress responses can also indicate underlying pathologies and negative health behaviours.

Anna Whittaker is a Professor in Behavioural Medicine, HCPC registered Health Psychologist, and Fellow of the British Psychological Society working at the University of Birmingham in the areas of Psychoneuroimmunology, Cardiovascular Psychophysiology, and Behavioural Medicine. She is particularly interested in the impact of stress and other behavioural factors on health via interactions between the cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and immune systems. Her main areas of research are: 1) Cardiovascular stress reactivity, where she is developing a new theory of the negative health and behavioural correlates of blunted reactivity, and am engaged in several collaborations on large datasets; and 2) Ageing, stress, physical activity, nutrition and effects on health and wellbeing, particularly immunity, where she has been/am engaged in large grant funded projects to examine the synergistic impact of ageing and psychological and behavioural factors such as stress, depression, and physical activity on indices of immunity and physical frailty.  She is currently lead of a new European Commission Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network on Physical Activity and Nutrition Influences iN ageing (PANINI) training 11 Early Stage Researchers with 18 European partners (academic, industry, health and third sector).  She has won several international research/early career awards, has a strong public engagement profile, and is well published in all of these areas in the top journals in her field and sees her work developing further along these lines to integrate my knowledge of psychological and behavioural factors (including physical activity), immunity, and cardiovascular and neural reactions to stress to produce an integrative multidisciplinary model of risk of unhealthy ageing.  With her existing and new collaborators, psychological, physical activity, nutritional, or biomedical interventions will be developed to be applied in individuals identified as at risk, to prevent the progression to frailty and poor physical and emotional health in older age.