About Us : Faculty : Irwin
Michael Irwin, M.D.
Norman Cousins Professor
Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
Director & Senior Research Scientist
Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute

Research Interests

Dr. Irwin’s principal research interests focus on the mechanisms of neuroimmune interactions and the impact of PNI processes on disease including infectious disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and substance dependence. He has been the principal investigator of 14 federally funded research awards, including five currently active research awards from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, National Institute of Aging, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders and the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Selected Current Research

Alcoholism: Sleep and Cytokines in African Americans
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, AA13239
Michael Irwin, Principal Investigator

This study will advance our understanding of the reciprocal relationships between cytokines and sleep in alcohol dependence with implications for answering why sleep is disordered in alcoholic patients and for the development of novel treatments for sleep disturbance in alcoholism.

Depression and Trial of Varicella Vaccine in the Elderly
National Institute of Mental Health, MH55253
Michael Irwin, Principal Investigator
To determine whether major depressive disorder is associated with declines in VZV specific immunity the elderly and evaluate whether major depressive disorder attenuates the magnitude or duration of vaccine-stimulated VZV specific immunity as compared to responses in controls.

Behavioral Intervention for Herpes Zoster Risk in Aging
National Institute on Aging, AG18367
Michael Irwin, Principal Investigator
This study examines whether a relaxation response based behavioral intervention, Tai Chi Chih (TCC) influences in vivo immune responses to varicella vaccine in older adults with implications for herpes zoster risk; and, 2) assess whether changes in psychological adaptation, health behaviors, and health functioning predict changes in varicella vaccine responses following TCC.

Recent Publications

Irwin, M., G. Rinetti, et. al. (2004). “ Nocturnal proinflammatory cytokine-associated sleep disturbances in abstinent African American alcoholics.” Brain Behav Immun 18(4): 349-60.

Irwin, M.R. and G. Rinetti (2004). “Disordered sleep, nocturnal cytokines, and immunity: interactions between alcohol dependence and African-American ethnicity.” Alcohol 32(1): 53-61.

Lesperance, F., N. Frasure-Smith, et al. (2004). “The association between major depression and levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1, interleukin-6, and C-reactive protein in patients with recent acute coronary syndromes. “ Am J Psychiatry 161(2): 271-7.

Redwine, L., J. Dang, et al. (2004). “Cellular adhesion molecule expression, nocturnal sleep, and partial night sleep deprivation.” Brain Behav Immun 18(4): 333-40.

Zautra, A J., D.C. Yocum, et al. (2004). “Immune activation and depression in women with rheumatoid arthritis.” J Rheumatol 31(3):457-63.

Michael Irwin, M.D.
Cousins Center for PNI
300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Room 3109
Box 957076
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7076
Tel: (310) 825-8281
Fax: (310) 794-9247