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Translational Alcohol Research Program (TARP)

T32 AA028259 funded by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

The Translational Alcohol Research Program (TARP) is a two-year program that spans the Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health including the Departments of Environmental Health Sciences, Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Social Behavioral Sciences and Emergency Medicine. TARP will afford post-doctoral trainees the opportunity to devote full-time effort during the initial phase of their careers to developing the skills and experience needed to become independent researchers in the field of translational research in Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD). A new generation of pharmacological, metabolomic, brain and whole-body imaging, mass spectrometry, cellular and molecular, hepatic and sterile inflammation approaches bring the potential to more effectively connect basic and clinical research and to apply a ‘systems’ approach to the study of AUD. The focus of the proposed training program is on understanding systemic processes involved in AUD, such as inflammation and toxicity, that affect multiple organ systems.

Applicants will be MD or PhD post-doctoral candidates trained in specialties that may include psychiatry, internal medicine, clinical psychology, pharmacology and toxicology, or neuroscience. Candidates will be selected by their potential for excellence in the field of translational research in AUD.

T32 Trainees are typically funded for two years and are required to commit at least 90 percent of their time to research.

New appointments typically being July 1 of each year. Applicants must be US citizens or hold a permanent U.S. Resident Visa (“Green Card”). Applicants must have their PhD or MD by July 1 for the start year to be considered for this training program.

How to Apply

Applicants should send materials including a CV, statement of research career goals, and 2 letters of reference to Dr. Vasilis Vasiliou or Dr. Kelly Cosgrove. Applicants do not need to have previous experience with alcohol research to apply. It is suggested that applicants identify several potential primary mentors in the statement of research goals (list of participating faculty below).

We welcome applications from PhD and MD level trainees in these or related fields:

  • Internal medicine
  • Genetics
  • Neurobiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Clinical and/ or Experimental Psychology
  • Developmental/behavioral pediatrics
  • Neonatology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry
  • Public health
  • Toxicology

Directors

  • Vasilis Vasiliou

    Department Chair and Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health Sciences) and of Ophthalmology and Visual Science and of Environment

    Research Interests
    • Alcoholism
    • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase
    • Diabetes Mellitus
    • Environmental Health
    • Glutathione
    • Gout
    • Ophthalmology
    • Genomics

    Vasilis Vasiliou, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. He received his BSc in Chemistry (1983) and PhD in Biochemical Pharmacology (1988) from the University of Ioannina, Greece. He then trained in gene-environment interactions, molecular toxicology and pharmacogenetics at the Department of Environmental Health in the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati (1991-1995). In 1996, he joined the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy where he rose through the ranks to become Professor and Director of the Toxicology Graduate Program. Since 2008, he was also Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. In July 2014, he joined the faculty of Yale University in his new position.

    Professor Vasiliou has established an internationally-recognized research program that has been continuously funded by NEI/NIH and NIAAA/NIH since 1997, and recently NIEHS. His research interests include the etiology and molecular mechanisms of environmentally-induced human disease, such as liver disease, obesity & diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. His research focuses on the means by which the exposome (total exposures throughout life), metabolism (specifically aldehyde dehydrogenases and cytochrome P-450s) and antioxidants (glutathione and catalase) contribute to human health and disease. His laboratory utilizes state-of-the-art integrated system approaches that include metabolomics, lipidomics, exposomics, tissue imaging mass spectrometry, deep-learning, as well as human cohorts and genetically-engineered mouse models in order to elucidate mechanisms, and to discover biomarkers and novel interventions for human disease. 

    In addition to his funded NIH-research portfolio, Dr. Vasiliou is the director of the NIAAA-funded R24-Resource Center for Mouse Models and Metabolomics Tools to Investigate Alcohol Metabolism and Tissue Injury.

    Dr. Vasiliou has published over 200 papers and edited three books on Alcohol and Cancer. Dr. Vasiliou is the editor of Human Genomics and serves on the editorial boards of several toxicology and visual sciences journals.

    Professor Vasiliou is committed to training the next generation of scientists. At the University of Colorado he was the Director of the Environmental and Molecular Toxicology Graduate Program for 15 years.  At Yale he leads an NIAAA-funded T32 Translational Alcohol Research Program (TARP) Training Program for post-doctoral fellows, and an NIHES -funded R25 Summer Research Experience in Environmental Health (SREEH) Training Program that introduce undergraduate students in Connecticut (CT) to Environmental Health Research. Dr. Vasiliou has trained mentored and advised more than 60 trainees ranging from MPH and PhD students to postdoctoral fellows and junior faculties.

  • Kelly Cosgrove

    Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience and of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging

    Research Interests
    • Alcohol Drinking
    • Brain
    • Opioid-Related Disorders
    • Neurobiology
    • Nicotine
    • Radiology
    • Positron-Emission Tomography
    • Neuroimaging
    • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor
    • Diseases
    • Chemicals and Drugs
    • Psychiatry and Psychology

    Dr. Cosgrove uses positron emission tomography (PET) to gain insights into the brains of people after they’ve stopped using alcohol and tobacco. Trained as a clinical psychologist who worked with individuals suffering from drug addiction, Dr. Cosgrove transitioned to conducting research in order to find more effective ways of helping patients recover from addiction and avoid relapse. Her laboratory develops and uses creative PET imaging paradigms to track changes in critical neurochemicals during the recovery from addiction.

Faculty

  • Jenn Batisti

    Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine (Digestive Diseases)

    Research Interests
    • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
    • Diseases

    Dr. Batisti is a gastroenterologist and transplant hepatologist. Her specific interests include care of the liver transplant patient, organ allocation, nutrition in transplant, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

  • Kathleen Carroll

    Albert E. Kent Professor of Psychiatry; Director of Psychosocial Research, Division of Addictions; Principal Investigator, Psychotherapy Development Center for Drug Abuse

    Research Interests
    • Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms
    • Mental Disorders
    • Neurosciences
    • Psychiatry
    • Psychotherapy
    • Evidence-Based Medicine
    • Cognitive Science
    • Substance-Related Disorders
    • Psychiatry and Psychology

    In Memoriam: Kathleen M. Carroll, PhD

    1958–2020

    It is with profound sadness that we share the news that Kathleen (Kathy) M. Carroll, PhD, a clinical scientist who made seminal contributions to improving treatments for addiction, died unexpectedly after a brief illness on December 28, 2020. She was 62 years old. At the time of her death, Dr. Carroll was the Albert E. Kent Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, and director of psychosocial research in the Division on Addictions.

    Dr. Carroll possessed a rare blend of brilliance, generosity, and humility that propelled a career spanning over 30 years in addiction treatment research at Yale. She graduated summa cum laude from Duke University, received her PhD in clinical psychology and neuropsychology in 1988 from the University of Minnesota, and completed her predoctoral training at Yale School of Medicine’s Division of Substance Abuse. Following a brief stint as instructor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, she joined the faculty at Yale in 1989 as assistant professor of psychiatry. Working closely with Dr. Bruce Rounsaville, she helped establish and subsequently led the Psychotherapy Development Center (PDC), the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA’s) only funded Center of Excellence devoted to behavioral therapies research. Through Dr. Carroll’s leadership, the PDC became one of the most important sources of addiction treatment development and dissemination over the past 25 years, improving the methodological rigor of clinical trials research and leading to multiple clinical innovations that have impacted the lives of many struggling with addiction. Officially ending in 2020, the PDC produced over 1,500 peer-reviewed publications and launched the careers of dozens of independent investigators. Dr. Carroll also served as a principal investigator of NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network, a partnership between NIDA, treatment researchers, and community providers to work toward new treatment options in community-level clinical practice.

    The depths of her contribution to the field of addiction are unparalleled. She has been a principal investigator on over 100 research projects funded through NIH, with funding amounts totaling over $76 million. She authored or co-authored over 330 articles in peer-reviewed publications, with over 50 chapters in major textbooks, along with several books and published manuals. Her Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) manual for cocaine use disorders has been translated to over 14 languages and implemented worldwide. Among the defining accomplishments of her career has been broader recognition of the efficacy, safety, and durability of behavioral therapies. She helped establish the Stage Model of Behavioral Therapies Development that facilitated important advances by defining stages of science for behavioral therapies development, from pilot testing of novel approaches translated from basic clinical science (“Stage 1”) to efficacy testing via randomized clinical trials (“Stage 2”) to effectiveness research based in community settings (“Stage 3”). This required a set of methodological advances (e.g., systemization of interventions in manuals, development of fidelity rating systems, therapist training strategies) to which she made multiple contributions. She received a NIH MERIT award for her work which led to the development of an effective web-based version of CBT (“CBT4CBT”), now validated in eight independent trials. CBT4CBT became one of the first evidence-based computerized interventions for a range of substance use disorders and is currently being adapted and implemented for various co-occurring conditions.

    Dr. Carroll served on several journal editorial boards, advisory boards, and NIH scientific review panels, too numerous to list. Most recently, she was an invited member of the National Academy of Medicine’s committee on medications to treat opioid use disorders and was a major author of its influential consensus report Responding to the Opioid Crisis: Medications Save Lives.

    Dr. Carroll received many prestigious awards, but being honored in September of this year at the 50th anniversary celebration of the APT Foundation, where she conducted much of her research, was among the most meaningful to her. This award highlighted not only her research contributions but her mentorship and relationships with others, to which she was truly committed. According to long-time collaborator, Charla Nich, “we were blessed to be able to give Kathy a message just 3 months ago about our gratitude for her scientific integrity, brilliance, courage, strength, radical acceptance, and love personified.” Ayana Jordan, MD, PhD, a current mentee noted, “Her ability to lead compassionately and lift others while climbing, is indeed a gift from the creator.” Brian Kiluk, PhD, another long-time mentee, described her as “the embodiment of a true mentor—someone who both teaches and guides others on their career path, but also serves as a shining example for what others aspire to be.”

    Dr. Carroll’s tremendous academic and scientific accomplishments are dwarfed by her kind, generous, and playful spirit. She had an amazing ability to find joy in everyday situations, especially in life’s most difficult moments. She loved swimming, art history, architectural history, hiking, and reading. Kathy was an expert on the works of Shakespeare and opera. She also had a fine sense of humor and loved a good prank. She was a lifelong progressive with great compassion for social justice and coupled anti-racist principles with her recent academic work on identifying and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in substance use treatment outcomes.

    Dr. Carroll has maintained a decades old relationship with Christian Community Action (CCA) in New Haven and contributed annually through efforts to provide for school clothing, Christmas gifts, and Easter baskets for children living in emergency housing. From her hospital bed one week prior to falling critically ill, she reached out to CCA caseworkers to make sure that all the homeless children were cared for—and donated electronically toward that effort.

    Kathy is survived by her daughter, Kate, her brother, John and his two amazing sons, Dag and Dashiell, her mother Barbara, and her husband Geoffrey White and his daughters, Natalie, and Carla White as well as Matthew Chivian. Her Yale/APT team, too large to mention by name, embraced Kathy as family. Kathy was predeceased by her father John, and loving canine companions Trundo and Ernie. In lieu of flowers, Kathy’s family is suggesting a donation to the Kathy Carroll Memorial Playground fund at Christian Community Action, 168 Davenport Ave., New Haven, CT 06519. CCA has agreed to set up a creative, safe, and fun outdoor play space for the children in emergency housing.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Dr. Kathleen M. Carroll graduated summa cum laude from Duke University, received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1988 from the University of Minnesota, and completed her pre-doctoral training at the Yale University School of Medicine’s Division of Substance Abuse, where she was promoted to Professor in 2002. She was Principal Investigator of the Center for Psychotherapy Development at Yale, NIDA’s only Center devoted to behavioral therapies research, and since 1999 she had been Principal Investigator of the New England Node of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Clinical Trials Network. Dr. Carroll was the author of over 300 peer-reviewed publications as well as numerous chapters and books.   Her research had focused on the development and evaluation of behavioral treatments and combinations of behavioral therapies and pharmacotherapies to improve treatment outcomes for individuals with substance use disorders.  

  • Ying Chen

    Research Scientist in Epidemiology (Environmental Health Sciences)

    Research Interests
    • Digestive System Diseases
    • Disorders of Environmental Origin
    • Nervous System Diseases
    • Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases

    Ying Chen has a broad background in environmental genetics and molecular toxicology, with specific training and expertise in redox biology, oxidative stress related disease and transgenic animal models of glutathione (GSH) deficiency. Her research in the past over ten years has focused on understanding the mechanistic roles of GSH redox homeostasis in human disease conditions related to environmental (including dietary) exposures. Other ongoing research projects in the Vasiliou lab include studies of: (i) the mechanistic roles of ALDH1B1 in alcohol-associated colon cancer, and (ii) the functional roles of ALDH1A1/3A1 in corneal pathophysiology.<_o3a_p>

  • Lisa Fucito

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Tobacco Treatment Service Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven

    Research Interests
    • Alcoholism
    • Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms
    • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders
    • Psychotherapy
    • Sleep
    • Sleep Wake Disorders
    • Tobacco
    • Smoking Cessation
    • Risk Reduction Behavior
    • Psychiatry and Psychology
    Clinical Interests
    • Psychiatry
    • Sleep Wake Disorders
    • Smoking
    • Substance-Related Disorders

    I am an expert in multiple health risk behaviors including tobacco use, heavy drinking, and poor sleep. My research focuses on better understanding these behaviors and their co-occurrence in order to develop innovative interventions that improve people's lives. My current clinical research focuses on how technology (e.g., biosensors, social media, electronic health records) can increase the reach and effectiveness of interventions and improve health outcomes across behaviors. I utilize various research methodologies including clinical trials, qualitative studies, laboratory-analogue models, and implementation and dissemination research. My research has generated important scientific contributions. These include the unique treatment needs and preferences of individuals with multiple health risk profiles, the value of intervening on more than one risk behavior, the utility of social media and other health concerns (e.g., sleep) for reaching and engaging individuals about their heavy alcohol use, and the negative reciprocal association between poor sleep and alcohol use among young adults. Current studies include: (1) a RCT of a multimodal mobile sleep intervention for heavy-drinking young adults, (2) implementation of a sustainable tobacco treatment model for patients treated across the statewide Yale Cancer Center care network via electronic health record tools, (3) a preliminary test of switching from combustible cigarette smoking to an electronic cigarette among adult smokers with co-morbid medical conditions, and (4) an RCT of a mobile tobacco cessation intervention for lung cancer screening patients. In addition to my research activities, I direct the Tobacco Treatment Service at Smilow Cancer Hospital and teach/mentor medical students, residents, and fellows in addiction and behavioral medicine.

  • Joel Gelernter

    Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Genetics and of Neuroscience; Director, Division of Human Genetics (Psychiatry)

    Research Interests
    • Affective Disorders, Psychotic
    • Alcoholism
    • Anxiety Disorders
    • China
    • Genetics
    • Genetics, Population
    • Israel
    • Polymorphism, Genetic
    • Psychiatry
    • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
    • Thailand
    • Global Health
    • Substance-Related Disorders

    Joel Gelernter, MD, is Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Genetics and Neurobiology; and Director, Division of Human Genetics (Psychiatry), at the Yale University School of Medicine.

    The research focus of his laboratory is genetics of psychiatric illness – phenotypes including cocaine, opioid, nicotine, cannabis, and alcohol dependence, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and panic and other anxiety disorders. He also studies a range of intermediate phenotypes, such as neuroimaging measures; and basic issues in population and complex trait genetics. The overall approach involves study of genetic polymorphism and sequence variation, on a molecular level and from the perspective of population genetics. Dr Gelernter’s laboratory published genomewide association studies (GWAS) for cocaine and opioid dependence, PTSD, alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence, and several related traits. All of these studies have resulted in the identification of novel risk loci.

  • Ansel Hillmer

    Assistant Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and of Psychiatry

    Research Interests
    • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
    • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
    • Alcohol-Related Disorders
    • Neuroimaging

    Ansel obtained his Ph.D. in Medical Physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2014. The two prongs of his research include the characterization of novel PET imaging targets and paradigms, and applying these paradigms to study psychiatric conditions in new and innovative ways.  Current projects include using PET to image the glutamate system via mGluR5 receptors in alcohol use disorder; imaging the effects alcohol has on the brain's immune system; characterizing novel radiotracers of immune-related targets in the brain; endogenous opioid signaling in the context of cannabis use; and method development for analyzing multimodal imaging datasets using MRI and PET data. 

  • Tamas Horvath

    Jean and David W. Wallace Professor of Comparative Medicine and Professor of Neuroscience and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences; Chair, Department of Comparative Medicine; Director, Yale Program in Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism

    Research Interests
    • Neuroendocrinology
    • Obesity
    • Physiology

    Tamas Horvath is Professor and Chair of the Department of Comparative Medicine and Professor of Neurobiology and Ob/Gyn at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. He is also the Director for the Yale Program on Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism. He received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree from the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences in Budapest, Hungary, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from the University of Szeged in Hungary. His research has been focusing on neuronal circuitries that support physiological and pathological homeostatic conditions, including processes associated with reproduction, energy metabolism and neurodegeneration.

  • Yasuko Iwakiri

    Associate Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases)

    Research Interests
    • Fibrosis
    • Hypertension, Portal
    • Kupffer Cells
    • Liver Regeneration
    • Pancreatitis
    • Splenomegaly
    • Vascular Diseases
    • Lymphangiogenesis
    • Endothelial Cells
  • Amy Justice

    C.N.H. Long Professor of Medicine (General Medicine) and Professor of Public Health (Health Policy); Co-Leader, Cancer Microbiology

    Research Interests
    • Aging
    • Chronic Disease
    • Health Policy
    • Internal Medicine
    • Medical Oncology
    • Veterans
    • HIV Infections

    Dr. Justice is a Clinical Epidemiologist who has developed multiple large national cohorts based on data from the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System Electronic Medical Record enhanced with National Death Index and CMS data, patient completed surveys, DNA and tissue repositories, and stored pathology samples. She has two decades of experience in the processes required to clean, validate, and standardize raw EMR data and in its analysis using standard statistical methods, machine learning techniques, and cross cohort validations. The oldest and best known of her projects is the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS). VACS is an ongoing, longitudinal study of >170,000 United States veterans with and without HIV infection continuously funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1996. She has developed and validated widely used indices including a prognostic index, the VACS Index, and a patient reported symptom index, the HIV Symptom Index. She is the principal investigator of the National Cancer Institute provocative questions grant HIV and Aging Mechanisms for Hepatocellular Cancer, has published over 400 peer reviewed manuscripts, and has presented work at the United Nations, The International AIDS Society, The Royal Medical College in London, the White House, and Congress. She is a member of the National Cancer Institute Ad hoc Subcommittee on HIV and AIDS Malignancy and the HIV and Aging Working Group, NIH Office of AIDS Research. She has recently joined the International Advisory Boards of Lancet HIV and Journal of the International AIDS Society.  

  • Brian D. Kiluk

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Technology-Based Interventions

    Research Interests
    • Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms
    • Cognition
    • Drug Utilization
    • Cocaine-Related Disorders
    • Psychiatry and Psychology

    Brian D. Kiluk, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine is a licensed clinical psychologist conducting research in the field of substance use disorder treatment. He received his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, completed postdoctoral training at Yale through a National Institute on Drug Abuse T32 Fellowship, and ultimately joined the faculty ranks in the Department of Psychiatry in 2012.  Dr. Kiluk's area of research includes an emphasis on three major topics: (1) the evaluation and enhancement of a web-based version of cognitive behavioral therapy for alcohol and drug use disorders (CBT4CBT); (2) exploration of the mechanisms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for substance use disorders, and (3) the identification of clinically meaningful outcome indicators of clinical trials for illicit drug use disorders.  He serves as Principal Investigator on research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and his work has been featured at national scientific meetings.  As an expert in CBT for substance use disorders, Dr. Kiluk also consults with treatment facilities across the U.S. to provide workshop training in manual-guided CBT, as well as ongoing fidelity monitoring and coaching.   

  • John Krystal

    Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Translational Research and Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience; Co-Director, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; Chair, Department of Psychiatry; Chief of Psychiatry, Yale-New Haven Hospital; Director: NIAAA Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism; Director, Clinical Neuroscience Division, VA National Center for PTSD

    Research Interests
    • Alcoholism
    • Drug Therapy
    • Genetics
    • Neurobiology
    • Psychiatry
    • Schizophrenia
    • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
    • Veterans
    • Neuroimaging

    Dr. Krystal is a leading expert in the areas of alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. His work links psychopharmacology, neuroimaging, molecular genetics, and computational neuroscience to study the neurobiology and treatment of these disorders. He is best known for leading the discovery of the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine in depressed patients.

    He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine. He also serves in a variety of advisory and review capacities for NIAAA, NIMH, Wellcome Trust, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Broad Institute, and the Karolinska Institutet.

    Dr. Krystal previously served on the National Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Advisory Council (NIAAA), the Department of Defense Psychological Health Advisory Committee, and the NIMH Board of Scientific Counselors (chair, 2005-2007). He has led the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (president, 2012), and International College of Neuropsychophamacology (president, 2016-2018).

    Currently, he is co-chair of the Neuroscience Forum (NeuroForum) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a member of the NIMH National Mental Health Advisory Council, and he edits the journal, Biological Psychiatry (impact factor: 11.982).

  • Chiang-Shan Ray Li

    Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience

    Research Interests
    • Alcohols
    • Anatomy
    • Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms
    • Mental Disorders
    • Biological Therapy
    • Central Nervous System
    • Nervous System
    • Nervous System Diseases
    • Psychological Phenomena
    • Therapeutics
    • Behavior Control
    • Research Subjects
    • Drug Users
    • Chemicals and Drugs
    • Psychiatry and Psychology

    I am a Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience at Yale University School of Medicine. I graduated from National Taiwan University College of Medicine and California Institute of Technology and has been a faculty member at Yale since 2003. My earlier work employed non-human primate models to understand the neural bases of cognition. Current research in my laboratory continues to focus on systems neuroscience. By combining psychophysics, computational modeling and brain imaging we explore the circuit mechanisms of a multitude of cognitive constructs, including self control, affect regulation, and reward-related processes. The primary goals are to understand systems neural bases of these cognitive processes and how these neural processes contribute to the etiology of psychiatric and neurological illnesses, with a specific emphasis on addiction.

  • Graeme Mason

    Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and of Psychiatry; Director Metabolic Modeling and Director Psychiatric MRS, Magnetic Resonance Research Center; Director, Neuroimaging Sciences Training Program, Radiology & Biomedical Imaging and Psychiatry; Chair, Magnetic Resonance Research Center Protocol Review Committee, Radiology & Biomedical Imaging

    Research Interests
    • Alcoholic Intoxication
    • Alcoholism
    • Amino Acids
    • Carbohydrates
    • Central Nervous System Diseases
    • Fatty Acids
    • Mathematical Computing
    • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
    • Tobacco Use Disorder
    • Mood Disorders
    • Cocaine-Related Disorders
    • Alcohol-Induced Disorders, Nervous System
    • Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
    • Physiological Effects of Drugs
    • Neuroimaging

    Dr. Grame F. Mason develops experimental models and methods for studies of brain metabolism using 1H and 13C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Mass Spectrometry in conjunction with 13C isotopic labeling in vivo, in cell preparations, and other systems. His work began during his graduate studies at Yale where he used a rat model for the experimental determination of brain glucose transport kinetics, energetics, and neurotransmitter metabolism. Dr. Mason received further training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he guided the group's 13C-labeling studies of the human brain in vivo in the 4.1T whole-body MR system. Dr. Mason studies metabolism and neurotransmission in the brain in vivo, including effects of psychiatric disorders and substances such as alcohol and nicotine; Dr. Mason examines healthy subjects and patients to investigate relationships among GABA, glutamate, and glutamine concentrations and their rates of synthesis and release in the brain, in particular with regard to effects of acute and chronic use of alcohol.  He also studies detailed kinetic modeling of isotopomer and isotopologues using data from high-resolution NMR and mass spectrometry.

  • Sherry McKee

    Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Yale Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory; Clinical Director, Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic; Director, Yale Program for Sex Differences in Alcohol Use Disorder, Psychiatry

    Research Interests
    • Criminal Psychology
    • Tobacco Use Disorder
    • Substance-Related Disorders
    • Alcohol-Related Disorders
    • Psychiatry and Psychology

    Dr. Sherry McKee is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale Medical School, Director of the Yale Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory, and Clinical Director of the Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic. Dr. McKee directs a translational program of research focused on treatment development for addictive disorders, with an emphasis on women and more recently criminal justice populations. Her work spans clinical trials, behavioral pharmacology, survey research, and epidemiological research to uncover mechanisms underlying poor outcomes and to translate these finding into improved interventions. Dr. McKee has directed large NIH-funded efforts (P50-ORWH/NIDA; P01-ORWH/NIAAA) focused on developing effective medications for addictive behaviors which are responsive to sex-differences. For these efforts, she has directed interdisciplinary teams conducting translational cross-species research focused on expediting the development of gender-sensitive therapeutics, mentoring junior faculty, and providing a national resource on women and addiction. Dr. McKee also leads a federally funded partnership between Yale University, the of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the State of Connecticut Department of Correction, to develop and implement an integrated system of addiction care for offender re-entry.

  • Wajahat Mehal

    Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases); Director of Yale Weight Loss Program; Director of Yale Fatty Liver Disease Program

    Research Interests
    • Digestive System Diseases
    • Fibrosis
    • Hepatitis
    • Inflammation
    • Liver
    • Weight Loss
    • Weight Reduction Programs

    * B.A., University of Oxford, 1986
    * M.D., University of Oxford, 1990
    * D. Phil., University of Oxford, 1993

    * Director Yale Fatty Liver Disease Program
    * Director Yale Weight Loss Program
    * Director Yale Tissue Regeneration and Fibrosis Program

  • Evan Morris

    Professor; Co-director for Imaging, Yale PET Center

    Research Interests
    • Sensory Receptor Cells
    • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography

    Morris specializes in using kinetic modeling and image processing to extract physiological information from dynamic PET images. His current projects include:

    • Modeling and texture analysis to image Non-small cell lung cancer with tyrosine kinase inhibitor tracers
    • Novel kinetic modeling to image dyskinesias in Parkinson's
    • Continued Optimization of Dopamine Movies to study Addiction and Behavior
    • Applying principles in functional connectivity and machine learning to analyze dopamine movies
    • Imaging new targets in Depression, Alcoholism

    Morris and his group continue to refine mathematical and statistical aspects of their techniques for making "dopamine movies" of the brain. With their dopamine movies, Morris and colleague Kelly Cosgrove and their team discovered sex differences in brains of smokers smoking cigarettes (J Neurosci Dec 10, 2014).

  • Michael Nathanson

    Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases) and Professor of Cell Biology; Director, Yale Liver Center; Director, Center for Cell and Molecular Imaging

    Research Interests
    • Cell Nucleus
    • Cell Biology
    • Digestive System Diseases
    • Liver
    • Calcium Signaling
    • Hepatocytes
    Clinical Interests
    • Hepatitis
    • Liver Diseases
  • Stephanie O'Malley

    Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Division of Substance Abuse Research in Psychiatry; Deputy Chair, Clinical Research

    Research Interests
    • Alcoholism
    • Psychiatry
    • Smoking
    • Substance-Related Disorders
    • Risk Reduction Behavior
    • Psychiatry and Psychology
  • Godfrey Pearlson

    Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience

    Research Interests
    • Genotype
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • Neurobiology
    • Phenotype
    • Psychiatry
    • Psychotic Disorders
    • Substance-Related Disorders
    • Endophenotypes

    Dr. Pearlson's medical school training was in the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Following this he completed a graduate degree in philosophy at Columbia University in New York and was successively a resident, postdoctoral fellow and faculty member at Johns Hopkins University Department of Psychiatry under Dr. Paul McHugh, where he was ultimately Professor of Psychiatry and founding director of the division of Psychiatry Neuroimaging.

    Dr. Pearlson is currently founding director of the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, a 50-person organization consisting of 5 component labs. The Center specializes in the translational neuroscience of major mental illness, including dementias, mood disorders, substance abuse (cannabis, alcohol, cocaine), schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism spectrum and other conditions spanning childhood to old age.

    The center includes two 3-Tesla research-dedicated MRI scanners and scans ~1200 individuals annually, all of whom are genotyped. It has a fully equipped psychophysiology lab, rTMS suite and a bio-bank for specimen storage. The Center also specializes in the importation of virtual reality (VR) paradigms into the functional MRI environment to yield ecologically valid "virtual environments" to study complex behaviors in the scanner such as automobile driving.

    Dr. Pearlson's research uses neuroimaging as a tool to address a broader array of questions regarding the neurobiology of major mental disorders, primarily psychosis and substance abuse. Important "firsts" include showing that structural and functional brain changes associated with schizophrenia can also occur in psychotic bipolar disorder, the relationship of structural and functional abnormalities in the superior temporal gyrus with hallucinations in schizophrenia, using VR to explore complex behaviors in the MRI scanner (or example simulated driving) to assess disruptive effects of abused substances (cannabis, alcohol) and the first demonstration of human in-vivo cocaine-mediated dopamine release using PET ligands. As part of the B-SNIP consortium, his lab contributed towards a reconceptualization of psychotic illness based on biological, rather than clinical syndromic criteria.

    Dr. Pearlson is an former NIMH MERIT awardee and is PI on multiple R01 grants from NIAAA, NIDA and NIMH. He has been awarded a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator award and a Michael visiting professorship from the Weizmann Institute. He has published >750 peer-reviewed research articles, with an H-index of 108. He is also co-founder of the annual BrainDance competition for high school and college students across New England. These competitive awards encourage students to gain knowledge about psychiatric diseases and to develop a more tolerant and realistic perspective towards people with severe psychiatric problems.

    Dr. Pearlson was awarded the 2019 American Psychiatric Association Mentorship Award, the 2015 Stanley Dean Award for Schizophrenia Research from the American College of Psychiatrists and in 2015 was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars (distinguished alumni).
    Current important intra-departmental collaborations are with Drs. Krystal (CTNA), Gelernter and Potenza.

  • Ismene Petrakis

    Professor of Psychiatry; Chief of Psychiatry, VA Connecticut Healthcare System

    Research Interests
    • Alcoholism
    • Neurobiology
    • Psychiatry
    • Psychopharmacology
    • Veterans
    • Comorbidity
    • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
    • Substance-Related Disorders
    • Psychiatry and Psychology

    Dr. Petrakis is a Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and the Director of the Mental Health Service Line at VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS) since July 2010. Dr. Petrakis completed residency training at Yale School of Medicine and then a NIDA-funded addiction psychiatry clinical/research fellowship. She joined the faculty in 1992. Prior to July 2010, she was the Director of the Substance Abuse Treatment Program of the VACHS since 1996.

    Dr. Petrakis is also the Director of the Addiction Psychiatry Residency at Yale, an ACGME-accredited program and the PI of both an NIAAA-funded and a NIDA-funded training grant (T32).

    Her research interests are predominately two-fold: (1) finding appropriate treatments for dually diagnosed individuals and (2) understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying alcohol dependence. She has received funding from the Department of Defense, NIH-NIAAA, the VA, NARSAD and the Stanley Foundation.

  • Yusuf Ransome

    Assistant Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences)

    Dr. Ransome’s research investigates how social, economic, and psychosocial determinants influence racial/ethnic- and geography-related disparities in HIV care continuum indicators, alcohol and other substance use disorders, and youth homelessness. Two broad determinants of interest are a) social capital/cohesion, and b) religion, faith, and spirituality. Dr. Ransome currently has a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study the direct association and underlying mechanisms between social capital and cohesion on HIV care continuum outcomes in the United States. Some methodological approaches Dr. Ransome uses in his research program include survey data analysis, multilevel modeling, structural equation modeling, spatial epidemiology, and geographic information systems.

  • Carolyn Sartor

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry

    Research Interests
    • Alcoholism
    • Marijuana Abuse
    • Child Abuse
    • Psychiatry
    • Substance-Related Disorders
    • Healthcare Disparities
  • Rajita Sinha

    Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neuroscience; Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center; Chief, Psychology Section in Psychiatry; Co-director of Education, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation

    Research Interests
    • Child Psychiatry
    • Chronic Disease
    • Neurobiology
    • Neurosciences
    • Psychiatry
    • Stress, Psychological
    • Substance-Related Disorders
    • Psychiatry and Psychology

    Rajita Sinha, Ph.D. is the Foundations Fund Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University and also Professor of Neurobiology and Child Study. She is Chief of the Psychology section in Psychiatry and Co-Director of Education at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, home of the NIH supported Yale Clinical Translational Science Award. She is the Founding Director of the Yale Stress Center, a university-wide center that focuses on understanding the stress mechanisms affecting health behaviors, mood and emotion regulation and chronic disease risk. She is internationally known for her pioneering research on the mechanisms underlying chronic stress and adversity to negative health consequences and those underlying resilient coping that promote health and disease prevention. Her research has made discoveries in identifying childhood trauma, chronic stress and addiction related brain and peripheral changes in stress pathways that affect behavioral choices and decision making and loss of control to increase addiction and chronic disease risk. She is also developing and testing new pharmacological and behavioral strategies to reverse the toxic effects of stress and addictive behaviors such as excessive alcohol use, overeating of high fat and high sugar foods and other behavioral addictions. These objectives are being accomplished through a series of NIH funded research projects and she has published widely on these topics. She has served on many NIH special emphasis panels, review committees and workshops, presented at numerous national and international conferences, and her work is widely cited.

  • Jane Taylor

    Charles B. G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry, of Psychology and of Neuroscience

    Research Interests
    • Behavior
    • Mental Disorders
    • Motivation
    • Neurobehavioral Manifestations
  • Federico Vaca

    Professor of Emergency Medicine and in the Child Study Center; Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs; Director, Yale Developmental Neurocognitive Driving Simulation Research Center (DrivSim Lab), Emergency Medicine

    Research Interests
    • Accident Prevention
    • Adolescent
    • Behavioral Medicine
    • Emergency Medicine
    • Social Behavior
    • Motor Vehicles
    • Behavioral Research
    • Adolescent Development
    • Healthcare Disparities

    Dr. Vaca is a Professor and Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs in Yale School of Medicine's Department of Emergency Medicine and he holds a secondary appointment in the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Vaca previously served as a Medical Fellow for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in Washington, D.C. He serves on the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies’ Committee on Operator Education and Regulation, ANB30 and its Young Driver Subcommittee. Dr. Vaca was a recent Collaborating-Visiting Scholar at the NIH-Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), Division of Intramural Population Health Research (DIPHR), Health Behavior Branch (HBB).

    Dr. Vaca is a research and academic mentor to research fellows in the NIDA-funded K12 Mentored Clinical Scientists Development Program Award in Drug Abuse and Addiction and the Yale University Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.

    His research has focused on adolescent development and behaviors that influence the risk of motor vehicle crash morbidity and mortality as well as health disparities in injury and alcohol use disorders. Dr. Vaca has served on several national expert panels directed by the National Institutes of Health, National Academies of Science and the Transportation Research Board, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Safe States Alliance (formerly the State Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association), and the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Dr. Vaca has served as member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors for the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. He is also a Research Scientist member of the National Hispanic Science Network.


    Dr. Vaca was recently awarded the 2013 American College of Emergency Physicians National Faculty Teaching Award.

  • Joshua Wallach

    Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health)

    Research Interests
    • Environmental Exposure
    • Health Policy
    • Peer Review
    • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing
    • United States Food and Drug Administration
    • Reproducibility of Results
    • Epidemiologic Research Design
    • Bias
    • Conflict of Interest
    • Drug Approval
    • Meta-Analysis
    • Pharmacoepidemiology
    • Climate Change

    Dr. Wallach’s research focuses on synthesizing, evaluating, and establishing the best evidence to inform research, regulatory, and public health decisions. His primary area of research, known as meta-research (i.e. the study of research itself), includes the key thematic areas of research methods, reporting/transparency, and reproducibility. Dr. Wallach’s research interests include meta-analytical methodology, evaluating study biases, clinical trial design/conduct, pharmacoepidemiology, and regulatory science. 

    His work with the Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency (CRIT) at Yale focuses on evaluating the tools, standards, and approaches used to assess the safety, efficacy, quality, and performance of FDA-regulated products using epidemiologic and meta-research methods. Dr. Wallach is also a Faculty Affiliate of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS). 

    Dr. Wallach is currently leading or collaborating on numerous studies, including meta-analyses of environmental exposures and clinical interventions, real world data analyses of medications, and meta-research projects with students.

    Recent publications with students:

    Joshua Skydel (Medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine):

    Skydel JJ, Luxkaranayagam AT, Dhruva SS, Ross JS, Wallach JD. Analysis of Postapproval Clinical Trials of              Therapeutics Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration Without Clinical Postmarketing Requirements or Commitments. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(5):e193410.

    Patrick Liu (Medical student at Yale School of Medicine):

    Liu P, Ioannidis JPA, Ross JS, et al. Age-treatment subgroup analyses in Cochrane intervention reviews: a meta-epidemiological study. BMC Med. 2019;17(1):188.

    Liu P, Ross JS, Ioannidis JP, Dhruva SS, Vasiliou V, Wallach JD. Prevalence and significance of race and  ethnicity subgroup analyses in Cochrane intervention reviews. Clin Trials. 2019:1740774519887148.

    Lingzhi Chu (Doctoral student in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at the Yale School of Public Health)

    Chu L, Ioannidis JPA, Egilman AC, Vasiliou V, Ross JS, Wallach JD. Vibration of effects in epidemiologic studies of alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk. Int J Epidemiol. 2020

    Emma Deary (Undergraduate student at Wellesley College, Summer Research Experience in Environmental Health Sciences).

    Deary EC, Ross JS, Nyhan K, Wallach JD. Conflicts of Interest Among Authors of Published Cannabidiol Articles, 2014-2019. Annals Of Internal Medicine 2020.

  • Zuoheng Anita Wang

    Associate Professor of Biostatistics

    Research Interests
    • Genetics
    • Biomarkers
    • Statistics
    • Genomics

    Dr. Wang is Associate professor of Biostatistics at Yale School of Public Health. Her research focuses on combining genetics, genomics, immunology, and statistical modeling to answer biologically important questions in genetic epidemiological studies and cancer research. Dr. Wang's statistical expertise lies in kernel machine methods, mixed effects models, correlated data, and longitudinal data analysis. She develops statistically innovative methods and computationally efficient tools in large-scale genetic and genomic studies to identify genetic susceptibility variants and advance the understanding of the etiology of complex diseases including alcohol and drug abuse, asthma, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Current studies include using next-generation sequencing data to detect rare genetic variants in longitudinal genetic studies, combining knowledge in genomics and immunology to understand the risk of breast cancer survival, and differential gene expression in single-cell RNA sequencing data.