Elizabeth D. Cash, PhD

Elizabeth D. Cash, PhD

Dr. Liz Cash is a Clinical Health Psychologist and Director of Research for the Department. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Louisville in 2012. She completed postdoctoral training in Health Psychology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 2013. She holds adjunct positions in the Departments of Psychological & Brain Sciences, and Family & Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville.

Research Focus

Dr. Cash is the director of the Head & Neck Cancer Outcomes Research Program. Her graduate training and current role in multidisciplinary medical clinics informs her investigation into biological and behavioral correlates of cancer progression. Her current research program is based on a model of psychoneuroendocrine and immune effects in cancer progression. Her research assesses relationships between psychological factors, circadian rhythms measured via actigraphy, endocrine rhythms measured via salivary cortisol, systemic inflammatory processes, and biomarkers of tumor progression, response to treatment, and prognosis among patients diagnosed with cancer.

Collaboration and Consultation 

Dr. Cash collaborates and consults broadly within the medical and psychology communities. She is available to consult with investigators interested in utilizing behavioral, neuroendocrine, and physiological assessment modalities in their research, including:


Dr. Cash has experience in design of research utilizing actigraphy for measurement of both circadian (rest/activity) rhythms as well as sleep variables (total sleep time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency). She has collaborated on data collection, data reduction, statistical analysis, and interpretation for studies examining the relationship of actigraphy parameters to psychological, biological, and treatment-related variables in cancer patients.

Salivary Cortisol

Dr. Cash has experience in design and execution of research utilizing salivary sampling methods for measurement of physiological stress responses, and circadian HPA rhythms. She has consulted and collaborated on data collection, data reduction, statistical analysis, and interpretation for studies examining how diurnal salivary cortisol rhythms relate to multiple factors in varying populations. Examples include: the use of diurnal cortisol as a prognostic indicator in lung cancer; psychological and biological correlates to salivary cortisol in breast, lung, gynecologic, and head & neck cancers; relationships of stress to diurnal cortisol rhythms among adults evacuated after a natural disaster; relationships of anxiety to diurnal cortisol rhythms in parent-child dyads; and diurnal cortisol rhythms in women with fibromyalgia participating in a randomized trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction.


Through regular collaboration with medical colleagues, Dr. Cash provides methodological advice and statistical analysis for a variety of studies. She has in-depth experience with statistical approaches for social sciences that are appropriate for small and large datasets. She also has a working knowledge of epidemiological data management and statistical approaches.

Laboratory Skills

Dr. Cash has consulted on collection of physiological data, including psychophysiological recording of autonomic function; and peripheral physiology as measured in blood, urine, and saliva. She has experience with study design and sample collection, processing and storage.

Representative Publications & Presentations

Cash, E.; Weissbecker, I.; Salmon, P.; Floyd, A.; Dedert, E.; Gesler, W.; Sephton, S.E. (2014). Mindfulness Meditation Alleviates Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Women: Results of a Randomized Trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Sephton, S.E.; Lush, E.; Dedert, E.; Floyd, A.; Gesler, W.N.; Dhabhar, F.S.; Spiegel, D.; Salmon, P. (2013). Diurnal Cortisol Rhythm as Predictor of Lung Cancer Survival. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 

Dedert, E.; Lush, E.; Chagpar, A.; Dhabhar, F.S.; Segerstrom, S.C.; Spiegel, D.; Dayyat, E; Daup, M.; McMasters, K.; Sephton, S.E. (2012). Stress, Coping and Circadian Disruption Among Women Awaiting Breast Cancer Surgery. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 

Cash, E.; Gettelfinger, J.; Rebholz, W.; Russ, E.; Wilson, L.; Sephton, S.E.; Bumpous, J.M. (2014). Depressive Symptoms Predict Poor Treatment Adherence and Response in Head and Neck Cancer. Paper presentation at the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies (IFHNOS) 5th World Congress and American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) Annual Meeting, New York, New York, July 26-30

Cash, E.; Self, E.; Wilson, L.; Russ, E.; Bumpous, J.M. (2013). Anxiety, Depressive Symptoms, and Quality of Life in Newly Diagnosed Head and Neck Cancer Patients. Poster presentation at the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNSF) 117th Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Sept 29-Oct 2

Tennant, P.; Cash, E.; Bumpous, J.M.; Potts, K.L. (2013). Persistent tracheostomy after primary chemoradiation for advanced hypopharyngeal and laryngeal cancer. Head & Neck. 

Williams, S.R.; Cash, E.; Daup, M.; Geronimi, E.M.C.; Sephton, S.E.; Woodruff-Borden, J. (2013). Exploring Patterns in Cortisol Synchrony Among Anxious and Nonanxious Mother and Child Dyads: A Preliminary Study. Biological Psychiatry. 

Eismann, E.; Lush, E.; Sephton, S.E. (2010). Circadian Effects in Cancer-Relevant Psychoneuroendocrine and Immune Pathways. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 

Lush, E., Salmon, P., Floyd, A., Studts, J., Weissbecker, I., Sephton, S.E. (2009). Mindfulness Meditation for Symptom Reduction in Fibromyalgia: Psychophysiological Correlates. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. 

Curriculum Vitae