Dr. Jennifer Loftis is a Research Scientist at the VA Portland Health Care System and a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at OHSU. Her research is focused on investigating the neuroimmunological mechanisms contributing to mood disorders and cognitive impairments, discovering treatment targets, and testing new interventions for improving neuropsychiatric function. Dr. Loftis’ translational research program uses rodent models and human research participants to characterize inflammatory pathways involved in cognitive dysfunction and neuropsychiatric symptoms, particularly in the context of substance abuse and chronic viral infection. She identified a novel role for cytokines in the development of depressive symptoms in patients with chronic hepatitis C, and this finding has led to the testing of hypotheses regarding how circulating inflammatory cytokines affect central nervous system (CNS) functioning. Dr. Loftis’ long-term goal as a principal investigator is to expand our understanding of the biochemical and molecular mechanisms associated with neuropsychiatric impairments and CNS inflammation.
Dr. Loftis is an active mentor and teacher in the community. At OHSU, she is a core faculty member for the Clinical Psychology PhD program and a mentor for the Partnership for Scientific Inquiry program (https://psiprogram.weebly.com/). She also mentors for the VA Mental Illness Research Education Clinical Center of Excellence (MIRECC).
Dr. Loftis balances her research and teaching responsibilities with administrative and community service. She serves as a member of the OHSU School of Medicine Faculty Council and the Department of Psychiatry Research Advisory and Promotions & Tenure Committees. At the VA Portland Health Care System, she is chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and a member of the Research & Development Committee.