PH.D. Student Studies Connections between Cardiovascular Disease, Insomnia, and Depression

Tasneem Khambaty | Ph.D. Student, Psychology

Growing up in Pakistan, Tasneem Khambaty had an early interest in the brain, but explains that, "In the 90s, in Pakistan, you couldn't really study psychology." In 2001, Khambaty and her family immigrated to the United States with hopes of finding greater opportunities for higher education. After earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Ohio, Khambaty knew she wanted to pursue her doctorate degree — but not just anywhere.

Finding the right program at the right school was of utmost importance in her search: "My primary concern was finding a program where faculty research interests aligned with my own. Professors and researchers were extremely important criteria."


As it turns out, the right school was IUPUI. Khambaty is now a third-year psychology Ph.D. student studying under Dr. Jesse Stewart, whose primary research is cardiovascular behavioral medicine. Dr. Stewart says of Khambaty: "Tasneem is a talented and driven graduate student. Although she has been a member of my lab for only a short time, she has already identified key unanswered questions in the literature and has begun designing a study to address these issues."

While her background is in depressive disorders, Khambaty plans to study the relationship between cardiovascular disease, insomnia, and depression. She hopes to discover connections between these three afflictions — is there a cause and effect relationship and, if so, which is the cause and which is the effect?

In the future, Khambaty would like to continue research in an academic setting. She believes there is great potential in the field of health psychology: "Previously, psychology and physical health were dichotomous. By looking at the mind and body together, health psychology may bridge that gap, and ultimately help a lot of people."