Dr. Birk is an Instructor in Medical Sciences at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health. Prior to this position he completed his doctoral training in experimental psychology at Tufts University and postdoctoral training at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research focuses on the influence of emotions and their regulation on cardiovascular health. One goal of this research, exemplified by this R21 SOBC project, is to investigate how negative emotions that arise due to serious medical conditions may reduce patients’ engagement in health behaviors. A second research goal concerns the health effects of different strategies for regulating emotion. For example, perseverative thinking involves ruminating about the past or worrying about the future and is generally regarded as a maladaptive regulatory strategy. Dr. Birk and colleagues investigate how the occurrence and duration of perseverative thoughts may contribute to heightened blood pressure by cognitively prolonging the stress response. A third research goal is to understand the behavioral and physiological pathways by which depression and post-traumatic stress disorder have adverse effects on long-term health outcomes.