Uma Rao

picture of Uma  Rao

Professor and Vice Chair for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychiatry & Human Behavior
School of Medicine

MBBS (Equivalent to MD), Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, India


University of California, Irvine
5251 California Avenue, Suite 240
Mail Code: 1680
Irvine, CA 92617
Research Interests
Adolescent mood disordeers, substance use disorders, obesity and pain
Academic Distinctions
Dr. Rao has completed her training in General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook as well as a post-doctoral research fellowship in child Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. She is board certified in General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Since completing training, she has had academic as well as clinical and research leadership positions in several nationally and internationally recognized academic institutions until she joined UCI in April 2017. Currently, she serves as Chief for the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UCI, and the Director of Education and Research in Psychiatry at the Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).

Dr. Rao is a clinical researcher and has received continuous funding support from the National Institutes of Health as well as private foundations and endowments. She has published numerous research articles and has received awards from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Indo-American Psychiatric Association and community agencies for scientific and volunteer contributions. She has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and currently is the editor of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry News.
Research Abstract
Dr. Rao has been involved in mood and substance use disorders research for over 25 years. Her primary areas of interest are adolescent depressive and addictive disorders, including neurobiological and psychosocial predictors of first onset and longitudinal clinical course in youth with familial and/or environmental risk, developmental/ethnic influences on the phenomenology and neurobiological processes, and translational intervention research. Recently, she has extended her work to include physical/medical conditions that frequently co-occur with these disorders, specifically obesity and pain, from a health disparities perspective.
Morris MC, Walker LS, Bruehl S, Stone AL, Mielock AS, Rao U (2016). Impaired conditioned pain modulation in youth with functional abdominal pain. Pain 157(10):2375-2381. Editor’s Choice article. PMCID: PMC5028273.
Morris MC, Hellman N, Abelson JL, Rao U (2016). Cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure as early markers of PTSD risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review 49:79-91. PMCID: PMC5079809.
Morris MC, Mielock AS, Rao U (2016). Salivary stress biomarkers of recent nicotine use and dependence. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 42(6):640-648. PMCID: PMC5148122.
Morris MC, Kouros CD, Mielock AS, Rao U (2017). Depressive symptom composites associated with cortisol stress reactivity in adolescents. Journal of Affective Disorders 210:181-188. PMCID: PMC5292072.
Morris MC, Abelson JL, Mielock AS, Rao U (2017). Psychobiology of cumulative trauma: hair cortisol as a risk marker for stress exposure in women. Stress 20(4):350-354. PMCID: PMC5615845.
R01 MD010148: "Ethnic Influences on Stress, Energy Balance and Obesity in Adolescents". Funded by NIH/NIMHD. Funding Period: 02/24/2017 to 02/28/2022.
R01 DA040966: "Prevention of Adolescent Risky Behaviors: Neural Markers of Intervention Effects". Funded by NIH/NIDA. Funding Period: 07/01/2017 to 03/31/2022.
R01 MH108155: "Effects of Childhood Maltreatment on Neurocircuitry in Adolescent Depression". Funded by NIH/NIMH. Funding Period: 08/01/2017 to 07/31/2022.
Professional Societies
Distinguished Fellow, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Fellow, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
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