Developmental scientist Kalsea Koss, assistant professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, is focused on understanding the interplay between social environments and biology to answer the question of how adversity gets “under the skin” to shape mental health during childhood and adolescence. Her research examines interplay across multiple levels of responses, including emotional, behavioral, genetic and biological contributions to understanding stress and development. Her current work focuses on the stress response system (e.g., the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) and the epigenome.

Her research broadly focuses on risky family environments for understanding how early adversity shapes developmental trajectories of health and well-being across the life course. Her work has examined a diverse range of stressors for families and children, including conflict, harsh parenting, neglect and poverty. She is also interested in the role of family protective factors that buffer against chronic stress and promote more optimal development.

Learn more about how UGA scientists are researching the social and environmental factors that get under the skin and affect health across the life span.