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Muñoz, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Muñoz

Assistant Professor
Department of Human Development and Family Sciences

I am accepting new Ph.D. students in 2023.


Phone: 512-471-1740

Office Location


Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University
M.S., Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University
B.S., Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine

Academic Positions

2019 – Present    Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences
                            University of Texas at Austin; Austin, TX

2020 – Present    Faculty Affiliate, Center on Aging and Population Sciences
                            University of Texas at Austin; Austin, TX 

2019 – Present    Faculty Research Associate, Population Research Center
                            University of Texas at Austin; Austin, TX

2015 – 2019         Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Psychology
                            University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA

Research Interests

My research interests center on identifying early and modifiable predictors of adult cognitive health. I apply a lifespan developmental perspective to evaluate the role of psychosocial and environmental stress on cognitive health, considering how early environments and exposures influence cognitive outcomes in later life. Through my research, I also aim to understand how biological predispositions (e.g., genetic risk) and culture specific factors (e.g., acculturation) may shape the association between stress and cognitive health throughout adulthood. I employ a variety of designs to address my research questions, including longitudinal studies across years of assessments, ecological momentary assessments, and an integration of both (e.g., measurement-burst designs).


Diversity and Inclusion Emphasis

I am committed to promoting inclusivity, equity, and diversity through my research, teaching, and mentoring. Our population of older adults is increasingly becoming more diverse with racial and ethnic minoritized adults suffering a greater incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias compared to their counterparts. A central focus of my research program is to expand our understanding of how psychosocial and environmental contexts influence cognitive health among racial and ethic minoritized adults with the goal of addressing disparities in cognitive health outcomes in old age. My commitment to diversity and inclusion in teaching and mentoring is rooted in my personal experiences as a Mexican immigrant, first-generation college student. This motivates me to intentionally address issues of diversity and inclusion to minimize disparities in academic persistence for all students and trainees. To this end, I strive to include a diverse perspective to the topics discussed with my students and research team.



Visit my research website for a current publication list: https://sites.cns.utexas.edu/munoz/publications 

Grants and Fellowships

2017 - 2019 National Institute on Aging; Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32AG056134). Project Title: The Role of Neighborhood Stress in Cognitive Function among Racially and Ethnically Diverse Adults
2015, Pennsylvania State University; Joseph and Jean Britton Graduate Fellowship
2009 & 2013, Pennsylvania State University; Bunton-Waller Fellowship

Awards and Honors

January 2022 Rising Star Award, Association for Psychological Sciences
2021 – 2023 NIH Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program
June 2017 Butler-Williams Scholar, National Institute on Aging
May 2013 RAND Summer Institute Scholarship
August 2010 Kathryn A. Shustek Scholarship, Pennsylvania State University
August 2009 Donald Ford Endowment for Professional Development, Pennsylvania State University