Olivia R. Orta, ScD

OliviaPostdoctoral Research Associate
Boston University School of Public Health
Epidemiology Department

Email oro109@mail.harvard.edu

Research Interests

My dissertation project is an integration of my research passions: reproductive and pediatric epidemiology, mental health, and laboratory bench science. Using hair samples, my project looks at the association between child abuse, dysregulated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis activity, and depression during pregnancy. Findings from this project: 1) will add to the literature linking a history of child abuse and depression during pregnancy, 2) will broaden the horizon of hair cortisol research, and 3) may be clinically relevant for the detection of women at high risk of trauma-related depression during pregnancy.


  1. Orta OR, Tworoger SS, Terry KL, Coull BA, Gelaye B, Kirschbaum C, Sanchez SE, Williams MA. Stress and hair cortisol concentrations from preconception to the third trimester. Stress. 2018 Dec 26:1-10. doi: 10.1080/10253890.2018.1504917. PubMed PMID: 30585520.
  2. Orta OR, Tworoger SS, Terry KL, Coull BA, Gelaye B, Kirschbaum C, Sanchez SE, Williams MA. An evaluation of distal hair cortisol concentrations collected at delivery. Stress. 2018 Apr 4:1-11. PubMed PMID: 29614892.
  3. Orta OR, Gelaye B, Bain PA, Williams MA. The association between maternal cortisol and depression during pregnancy, a systematic review. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2017 Sep 24. PubMed PMID: 28942465.
  4. Wu, B. W., Skidmore, P. M., Orta, O. R., Faulkner, J., Lambrick, D., Signal, L., … & Stoner, L. (2016). Genotype vs. Phenotype and the Rise of Non-Communicable Diseases: The Importance of Lifestyle Behaviors During Childhood. Cureus, 8(1).
  5. Orta, O. R., Barbosa, C., Velez, J. C., Gelaye, B., Chen, X., Stoner, L., & Williams, M. A. (2016). Associations of self-reported and objectively measured sleep disturbances with depression among primary caregivers of children with disabilities. Nature and Science of Sleep, 8, 181.
  6. Orta, O.R., Gelaye, B., Qiu, C., Stoner, L., & Williams, M.A. (2015). Depression, anxiety and stress among pregnant migraineurs in a pacific-northwest cohort. Journal of Affective Disorders, 172, 390-396.
  7. Carpi, A., Fostier, A.H., Orta, O.R., dos Santos, J.C., & Gittings, M. (2014). Gaseous mercury emissions from soil following forest loss and land use changes: Field experiments in the United States and Brazil. Atmospheric Environment, 96, 423-429.