Ruby Mendenhall, Associate Professor in Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, and Social Work, was recently featured in a webcast on the Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity site.
Mendenhall employs sociogenomics to explore how aspects of stress in urban environments “get under the skin” to affect health and wellness. Sociogenomics highlights the dynamic nature of the genome and how environmental factors can influence gene expression patterns. She is examining how the stress of living in neighborhoods with high levels of violence may affect how the genes that regulate the immune system and inflammation are expressed.
Mendenhall is currently in the proposal stage for a new initiative called DREAM, Developing Responses to poverty through Education And Meaning. This initiative combines research, intervention and education to understand the experience and conditions of low income communities in Illinois, utilizing differences in genomic expression to evaluate factors such as stress, mental health, and environment.
Spotlight's Jodie Levin-Epstein talked with Mendenhall about the DREAM project; research on the Earned Income Tax Credit; and the role of Black Women's network impact on economic trajectories. Watch the videos on the Spotlight website.
Ruby Mendenhall is an affiliate of the Gene Networks in Neural & Developmental Plasticity research theme at IGB and an affiliate of the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Source for News, Ideas and Action is a non-partisan initiative that brings together diverse perspectives from the political, policy, advocacy and foundation communities to find genuine solutions to the economic hardship confronting millions of Americans. Through the ongoing exchange of ideas, research and data, Spotlight seeks to inform the policy debate about reducing poverty and increasing opportunity in the United States.