Psychoneuro- endocrinology (PNE) Lab

The Psychoneuroendocrinology Lab (PNEL or PNE Lab) is a research and training center that was established in 2011. The PNE Lab is housed within the Department of Psychology at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). The PNE Lab houses state of the art equipment for conducting a wide variety of salivary assays including enzyme-linked immunosorbant assays (ELISA). The lab is well-suited for interdisciplinary research for researchers and organizations interested in such areas as stress and behavior (e.g., child development, sleep and circadian rhythm, social behavior and emotions), smoking, reproductive health (e.g., development, fertility), sports and performance (e.g., physical training, overtraining), wellness and aging (e.g., illness and infection, hormone balance, nutrition), health and inflammation, and obesity. Many biomarkers which are capable of being measured via saliva have also been linked to various disorders including cushings syndrome, autism, ADHD, chronic fatigue, hypertension, anxiety, etc. Various resources related to immunoassays can be found at Salimetrics - an industry leader in conducting salivary immunoassays. Also, introductory information related to immunoassays can be found at the hyperlinks below.

About the Lab

The co-directors of the PNE Lab are Dr. Robert T. Hitlan and Dr. M. Catherine DeSoto, both professors in the Psychology Department at UNI. The PNE Lab allows for the collection and testing for various salivary biomarkers including those involved with endocrine system functioning including reproductive hormones (e.g., Testosterone, Estriol, DHEA, DHEA-S, Progesterone, 17a-Hydroxyprogesterone), immunological functioning/Inflammatory responses (e.g., C-Reactive protein, Secretory Immunoglobulin A), Cytokines (e.g., IL-1 Beta, IL-6), stress makers (e.g., Alpha-amylase, Cortisol), and other salivary biomarkers (e.g., Continine, Melatonin). From a research standpoint saliva collection represents a minimally invasive procedure for obtaining reliable and valid information on the concentration levels for a host of biomarkers capable of being assessed via saliva. 

The PNE Lab can help researchers and community members/organizations in several ways:

  • Determining which biomarkers are most relevant to one's particular research question(s)
  • Consulting on appropriate design methodolgy (including what would be the preferred collection technique) for incorporating biomarker assessment into one's research
  • Providing storage facilities for saliva samples
  • Measuring the concentration levels of various biomarkers (see above)
  • Detailed reporting of obtained results
  • Statistical analysis services  

Below is a listing of various biomarkers that can be reliably assessed via saliva samples.

  • 17a-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Alpha-amylase
  • Androstenedione
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • ​Cortisol
  • Cotinine
  • DHEA
  • DHEA-S
  • Estradiol
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-1 Beta
  • Melatonin
  • Progesterone
  • Secretory Immunoglobulin A
  • Testosterone
  • 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG): DNA Damage/Oxidative Stress

Testing and service fees will vary depending on the biomarkers to be measured and additional service requests.

Please feel free to contact the PNE Lab with any questions.

Contact Information:
Phone: (319) 273-2223
Fax: (319) 273-6188