Photo of Jennifer M. Loftis, Ph.D.

Jennifer M. Loftis Ph.D.


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 ( 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.

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Areas of interest

  • Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • Cognition
  • Mood disorders
  • Substance use disorders


  • B.A., University of California at Santa Barbara 1990
  • M.A., Fairleigh Dickinson University 1994
  • Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University 2002
  • Fellowship:

    • Post-doctoral fellowship, Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, OHSU, 2004 - 2007


  • "Protective effects of higher cognitive reserve for neuropsychological and daily functioning among individuals infected with hepatitis C" Journal of NeuroVirology October 2013
  • "Hepatitis C Treatment of Veterans with Psychiatric Illness [3]" American Journal of Gastroenterology March 2006
  • "Discounting of delayed rewards and executive dysfunction in individuals infected with hepatitis C" Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology February 2011
  • "Depression comorbidity and antidepressant use in veterans with chronic hepatitis C" Journal of Clinical Psychiatry May 2008
  • "Corticotropin releasing factor-1 receptor antagonism alters the biochemical, but not behavioral effects of repeated interleukin-1β administration" Neuropharmacology January 2012
  • "Psychiatric and substance use disorders comorbidities in veterans with hepatitis C virus and HIV coinfection" Current Opinion in Psychiatry July 2009
  • "NMDA receptor subunit mRNA and protein expression in ethanol-withdrawal seizure-prone and -resistant mice" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research May 2001
  • "Can rodents be used to model interferon-α-induced depressive symptoms?" Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry September 30 2006
  • "Drinking alcohol has sex-dependent effects on pair bond formation in prairie voles" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America April 22 2014
  • "Serum serotonin levels are associated with antiviral therapy outcomes in patients with chronic hepatitis C" Open Infectious Diseases Journal  2010
  • "Social housing and alcohol drinking in male-female pairs of prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster)" Psychopharmacology November 2012
  • "Antiviral completion rates and sustained viral response in hepatitis C patients with and without preexisting major depressive disorder" Psychosomatics September 2009
  • "Neuroimmune basis of methamphetamine toxicity" International Review of Neurobiology  2014
  • "Regulation of NMDA receptor subunits and nitric oxide synthase expression during cocaine withdrawal" Journal of Neurochemistry  2000
  • "Methamphetamine causes persistent immune dysregulation" Neurotoxicity Research July 2011
  • "Association of interferon-α-induced depression and improved treatment response in patients with hepatitis C" Neuroscience Letters July 22 2004
  • "Relations between tickling and humorous laughter" Biological Psychology  1990
  • "Serotonin gene polymorphisms and bipolar I disorder" Annals of Medicine December 2005
  • "Administration of pegylated interferon-α-2a or -2b does not induce sickness behavior in Lewis rats" Psychoneuroendocrinology November 2006
  • "Psychiatric management of the hepatitis C patients" Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology December 2006
  • "Serotonin a la carte" Pharmacology and Therapeutics March 2006
  • "The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit NR2B" Pharmacology and Therapeutics January 1 2003
  • "Alcohol intake in prairie voles is influenced by the drinking level of a peer" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research October 2011
  • "Altered energy production, lowered antioxidant potential, and inflammatory processes mediate CNS damage associated with abuse of the psychostimulants MDMA and methamphetamine" European Journal of Pharmacology March 15 2014
  • "Association study of 21 circadian genes with bipolar I disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia" Bipolar Disorders November 2009
  • "Predictors of pain intensity and pain functioning in patients with the hepatitis C virus" General Hospital Psychiatry  2010
  • "Partial MHC/Neuroantigen Peptide Constructs" PLoS One February 27 2013
  • "Antiviral therapy completion and response rates among hepatitis c patients with and without schizophrenia" Schizophrenia Bulletin January 2010
  • "Erratum to "A randomized trial of paroxetine to prevent interferon-α-induced depression in patients with hepatitis C" [Journal of Affective Disorders 103 (2007) 83-90] (DOI" Journal of Affective Disorders February 2009
  • "Interferon-α treatment of patients with hepatitis C" CNS Drugs  2005

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