Faculty & Staff

Ivan Vargas

Ivan Vargas

Assistant Professor

(ARSC)-Arts & Sciences


Phone: 479-575-4256

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Dr. Vargas will be accepting a new graduate student for Fall 2020. 

My overall research aim is to enhance our understanding of the biopsychosocial factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of both depression and insomnia, with the end goal of identifying clinically useful markers that may inform treatment and prevention efforts. My research broadly investigates the neurobiology of depression and insomnia and aims to evaluate:

(1) the role of the HPA-axis and sleep [disturbance] in the development and maintenance of depression;

(2) the shared psychological and neurobiological concomitants of depression and insomnia and how these may help us understand the pathways by which these disorders develop sequentially and/or simultaneously; and

(3) the cognitive biases or neuropsychological deficits that are associated with increased risk for both disorders.

Please visit our lab website for more information regarding ongoing research projects and how to become a member of our research team.

PSYC 5313 - Introduction to Clinical Science: Research Design & Ethical Guidelines 

Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2016

M.S., University of Michigan, 2012

B.A., University of Notre Dame, 2010

Representative Publications:

Vargas, I., Payne, J., Kuhlman, K.R., Muench, A., & Lopez-Duran, N.L. (In Press). Sleep Deprivation and the Selective Consolidation of Emotional Memories. Learning & Memory, 26, 176-181.

Vargas I., Garland, S., Kloss, J.D. & Perlis, M.L. (In Press). Insomnia and Psychiatric Disorders. In Grandner (Ed.), Sleep and Health. Elsevier.

Garland, S., Vargas I., Grandner M., & Perlis, M.L. (In Press). Insomnia – Behavioral Treatments. In Chopra, Das, & Doghramji (Eds.), Management of Sleep Disorders in Psychiatry. New York, NY: Oxford University Press USA.

Vargas, I., Vgontzas, A., Abelson, J.L., Faghih, R., Morales, K.H. & Perlis, M.L. (2018). Altered ultradian cortisol rhythmicity as a potential neurobiologic substrate for chronic insomnia. Sleep Medicine Reviews.

Garland, S., Vargas I., Grandner M., & Perlis, M.L. (2018). Treating Insomnia in Patients with Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders: A Focused Review. Canadian Psychology, 59(2), 176-186.

Vargas, I. & Lopez-Duran, N.L. (2017). The cortisol awakening response (CAR) after sleep deprivation: is CAR a “response” to awakening or a circadian process? Journal of Health Psychology, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105317738323

Vargas, I., Drake, C.L., & Lopez-Duran, N.L.  (2017). Insomnia symptom severity modulates the impact of sleep deprivation on attentional biases to emotional information. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 1-11.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-017-9859-4

Kuhlman, K.R., Geiss, E.G., Vargas, I., & Lopez-Duran, N.L. (2017). HPA-axis activation as a key moderator of childhood trauma exposure and adolescent mental health. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-017-0282-9

Vargas, I., & Lopez-Duran, N.L. (2017). Investigating the effect of acute sleep deprivation on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis response to a psychosocial stressor. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 79, 1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.01.030

Shull, A., Mayer, S., McGinnis, E.G., Geiss, E.G., Vargas, I., & Lopez-Duran, N.L. (2016). Trait and State Rumination Interact to Prolonged Cortisol Activation to Psychosocial Stress in Females. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 74, 324-332. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.09.004

Vargas, I., Mayer, S., & Lopez-Duran, N.L. (2016). The cortisol awakening response and depressive symptomatology: The moderating role of sleep and gender. Stress and Health. doi: 10.1002/smi.2691.

Lopez-Duran, N.L., McGinnis, E., Kuhlman, K.R., Geiss, E.G., Vargas, I., & Mayer, S. (2015). HPA-axis stress reactivity in youth depression: Evidence of impaired regulatory processes in depressed boys. Stress, 18(5), 545-553. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2015.1053455

Kuhlman, K.R., Geiss, E.G., Vargas, I., & Lopez-Duran, N.L. (2015). Differential associations between childhood trauma subtypes and adolescent HPA-axis functioning. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 54(1), 103-114. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.01.020

Vargas, I., Friedman, N.P., & Drake, C.L. (2015). Vulnerability to Stress-Related Sleep Disturbance and Insomnia: Investigating the Link with Comorbid Depressive Symptoms. Translational Issues in Psychological Sciences, 1(1), 57-66. doi: 10.1037/tps0000015

Drake, C.L., Vargas, I., Roth, T., & Friedman, N.P. (2014). Quantitative measures of nocturnal insomnia symptoms predict greater deficits across multiple daytime impairment domains. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 12, 1-15. doi: 10.1080/15402002.2014.880345

Vargas, I., & Lopez-Duran, N.L. (2014). Dissecting the impact of sleep and stress on the cortisol awakening response among healthy young adults. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 40(1), 10-16. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.10.009 

Haeffel, G.J. & Vargas, I. (2011). Resilience to Depressive Symptoms: The Buffering Effects of Enhancing Cognitive Style and Positive Life Events. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 42(1), 13-18. doi 10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.09.003