Zhenyu (Zach) Zhang, M.S., M.A., is a fourth-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at Penn State. Zach’s research interests include : 1) examining multidimensionality of child maltreatment, including developmental timing, type, duration and severity, and their unique effects on adverse outcomes, including psychopathology, risky behaviors, and health outcomes; 2) elucidating biological mechanisms (e.g., neuroendocrine markers and biological aging) linking child maltreatment and adverse outcomes; 3) examining potential sex differences in the biological processes following child maltreatment; and 4) translating findings we learn from basic research to inform, develop, and evaluate timely, accessible and cost-effective prevention and treatment programs for maltreatment populations.
Zach is on the Prevention and Treatment and Developmental Processes training tracks. His primary mentor is Dr. Chad Shenk, and his secondary and tertiary mentors are Drs. Lorah Dorn, and Chris Engeland respectively. Under the mentorship of Dr. Shenk, Zach is working on the Child Health Study to identify the potential differential impact of those dimensions on later health outcomes. He is also working on Dr. Shenk’s, Life Events and Reactions Study (LEARS), and, Epigenetic and Cognitive Aging Project (eCAP), to examine genetic and epigenetic markers linking child maltreatment and later adverse health. Zach is working with Dr. Dorn to study how puberty as a sensitive period can shape developmental trajectories of children exposed to maltreatment. Additionally, Zach is working with Dr. Engeland to observe the assaying of various sex and stress-related hormones, participate in the handling of specimens, and study the links between various biomarkers.