Socioeconomic gradient in health is topic of Jan. 29 IOG research colloquium

On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology will host a research colloquium, "Biopsychosocial Mechanisms Underlying ´╗┐the Socioeconomic Gradient in Health: Evidence from Detroit and Beyond." The speaker is Samuele Zilioli, assistant professor in WSU's Department of Psychology and Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences. The free event is 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the IOG, 71 E. Ferry St., second floor, Detroit.

Health and longevity track social stratification. Low socioeconomic status (SES) confers higher risks of cardiovascular, respiratory and psychiatric diseases, and premature mortality.

Zilioli's Socioeconomic Gradient Bow-Tie Model (2018) is a theoretical attempt to capture the complexity of the socioeconomic gradient in health by considering reinforcing and balancing dependencies between a person’s SES, physical and social environments, and biopsychological processing of environmental inputs. Health outcomes, regarding surrogate endpoints (e.g., blood pressure, BMI) and clinical endpoints (e.g., physical symptoms, mortality), are the product of this continuous synthesis.

Grounded in the SGBT model, his research aims to shed light on the psychosocial mediators and moderators of the effects of SES on health-related biology (e.g., endocrine and immune functioning) and physical health across the lifespan. Dr. Zilioli has worked with healthy subjects and subjects affected by chronic disease like asthma and cardiovascular disease, and often targeted high-risk populations, including racial and ethnic minorities from Detroit.

This presentation will focus on glucocorticoid mechanisms as a significant biological intermediary through which SES and SES-related stressors can influence health. Although studies conducted among youth will be presented, most studies will focus on middle age and older adults, with a particular focus on Detroit African Americans.

Zilioli earned his Ph.D. in cognitive and neural sciences from Simon Fraser University and received the Governor General's Gold Medal for achieving the highest academic standing upon graduation. Learn more about his research on his lab website.

For more information on the IOG colloquium, contact IOG Training Director Gail Jensen at 313-664-2622 or

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