Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Priscilla Martinez, PhD, MPhil

Priscilla Martinez is a postdoctoral fellow with the Alcohol Research Group and the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Her current research focuses on observing and examining the relationship between immune function, alcohol use disorders and psychological distress among Norwegian alcohol and drug users in treatment, the temporal relationship between alcohol use and depression in Ghana using SAGE data, and the impact of socioeconomic status on the association between alcohol use and depression in the general Norwegian population using national registry data.

Her research interests include alcohol use and abuse in resource-poor settings, alcohol use among women, older adults and people living with HIV/AIDS, alcohol use disorder comorbidity with depression and anxiety, the immunological underpinnings of alcohol use disorder comorbidity with depression and anxiety, social and environmental moderators of these immunological mechanisms, and alcohol-related health disparities.

Martinez received a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Oslo in Norway and a bachelor's in biochemistry and molecular biology from Mills College.

National Alcohol Research Center Pilot Studies: Pilot 1: Dried Blood Spot Sampling in the National Alcohol Survey

This study will evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of using mail-in, self-administered Dried Blood Spot (saDBS) technology as a way of collecting blood samples from people who have participated in a national, telephone-based alcohol research survey. The study will determine the proportion of people willing to participate in a study involving saDBS among those contacted and eligible, and observe the proportion who complete and return viable saDBS kits. The study will stratify by race and gender and will test the received blood samples for immune proteins called cytokines that are associated with alcohol use and other mental health measures, including symptoms of depression and anxiety. An exploratory aim of this study is to determine associations between levels of cytokines in the blood, alcohol use, and mental health measures.