Jeff Kiesner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Developmental and Social Psychology at the University of Padova. He has a broad background in both research and teaching, including courses taught in statistics, developmental psychology, social psychology, clinical psychology, and neuroscience; and research publications across areas of developmental psychology, social psychology, clinical psychology and psychoneuroendocrinology.
He has conducted pioneering research on individual differences in symptom experience associated with the menstrual cycle, with the goal of better understanding what characterizes Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). This work has focused on demonstrating the importance of studying each woman’s individual profile and trajectory of physical and psychological changes across the menstrual cycle. Related to this research, he has published a cross-disciplinary theoretical paper connecting the development of affective disorders with the neuroendocrine, behavioral and social changes associated with pubertal development and the onset of the menstrual cycle among adolescent girls. Whereas Kiesner’s past research in this area has focused on high-frequency longitudinal assessment of symptoms, future research will include neuroimaging studies and neuroendocrine studies to understand the neurological links between the multitude of physical and psychological symptoms associated with PMDD.
A recent extension of this research includes a focus on sexual function and dysfunction among women, including problems associated with sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm. This research focusses on affective and cognitive mechanisms associated with inhibition of sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm, and will include studies aimed at understanding brain activations and effective connectivity. In addition to these well recognized (though poorly understood) issues concerning female sexual functioning, a new focus of Kiesner’s research will be on Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder/Genito-Pelvic Dysesthesia (PGAD/GPD). These less recognized and less studied disorders have important psychological implications and neuropathophysiological origins that will likely offer insights to prevention and treatment and will be an important part of Kiesner’s future work.