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  2. Emma Childs

Emma Childs PhD

Emma Childs
Designation
  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Contact Information
  • echilds@uic.edu
  • (312) 355-2726
  • School of Public Health / Psychiatric Institute (SPHPI)
    1601 W. Taylor St.
    SPHPI MC 912
    Chicago IL 60612
  • Room #:414
Website

Dr. Emma Childs is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and Director of The Human Addiction Psychopharmacology laboratory. Dr Childs’ research is dedicated to improving our understanding of addictive disorders. One of her primary areas of interest is studying how powerful associations are formed between abused drugs and cues (i.e., the people, places and paraphernalia) surrounding drug use. These links are especially persistent in drug addicted individuals and represent a major barrier to the successful treatment of addiction because they can trigger relapse even after long periods of abstinence. Other areas of interest include individual factors that contribute to substance abuse and dependence. For example, genetic, personality, environmental (including stress) and physiological (including sex) factors can all influence an individual’s risk to develop a substance use disorder.

Dr. Childs received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Pharmacology from King’s College London, UK. She then completed post-doctoral training with Professor Harriet de Wit at the University of Chicago, subsequently becoming a junior member of faculty in the Department of Psychiatry. Recently, she joined the UIC Department of Psychiatry and is currently funded by grants awarded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

  • psychiatry

    Dr Childs’ research is dedicated to improving our understanding of addictive disorders. One of her primary areas of interest is studying how powerful associations are formed between abused drugs and cues (i.e., the people, places and paraphernalia) surrounding drug use. These links are especially persistent in drug addicted individuals and represent a major barrier to the successful treatment of addiction because they can trigger relapse even after long periods of abstinence. Other areas of interest include individual factors that contribute to substance abuse and dependence. For example, genetic, personality, environmental (including stress) and physiological (including sex) factors can all influence an individual’s risk to develop a substance use disorder.

  • Current Research

    Dr. Childs’ is conducting projects funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R01 AA022961) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R21 DA033488).


    1. Gorka S.M., Phan K.L., Childs E. (In Press) Acute Calming Effects of Alcohol are associated with Disruption of the Salience Network. Addiction Biology. PMC Journal – In Process.
    2. Childs E., Lutz J.A, de Wit H (2017) Dose-related effects of delta-9-THC on emotional responses to acute psychosocial stress. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 177:136-144. PMC Journal – In Process.
    3. Lutz J.A., Childs E. (2017) Test-retest reliability of the underlying latent factor structure of alcohol subjective response. Psychopharmacology. 234(8):1209-1216. PMCID: PMC5394794.
    4. Childs E., Astur R.S., de Wit H. (2017) Virtual reality conditioned place preference using monetary reward. Behavioral Brain Research. 322(Pt A):110-114. PMCID: PMC5335910 
    5. Childs E., de Wit H. (2016) Alcohol-induced place conditioning in moderate social drinkers. Addiction. 111(12):2157-2165. PMCID: PMC5226878.
    6. Childs E., Bershad A.K., de Wit H. (2016) Effects of d-amphetamine upon psychosocial stress responses J Psychopharmacology. 30(7):608-15. PMC Journal – In Process.
    7. Bershad AK, Jaffe JH, Childs E, de Wit H. (2015) Opioid partial agonist buprenorphine dampens responses to psychosocial stress in humans. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 52:281-8. PMCID: PMC4297554.
    8. Childs E. (2014) Energy drink ingredients: influence on mood and cognitive performance. Nutrition Reviews. 72 Suppl 1:48-59. PMC Journal – In Process.
    9. Childs E, White T, de Wit H (2014) Personality traits modulate emotional and physiological responses to acute stress. Behavioral Pharmacology. 25(5-6):493-502. PMCID: PMC4119514.
    10. Childs E, de Wit H. (2014) Regular exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in Physiology. 5:161. PMCID: PMC4013452. *Top 10 most viewed article, May 2014: http://www.frontiersin.org/blog/Top_10_most_viewed_Physiology_research_articles_in_May_2014/1102
Title Description Investigator(s) Category Status
Contextual Conditioning with Drugs in Humans: Causes and Consequences 5R21DA033488-03 – National Institute on Drug Abuse Anxiety, Mood, Addiction Research Collaborative On-going
How Do Conditioned Drug Associations Promote Drug Taking 5R01AA022961-05 – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Anxiety, Mood, Addiction Research Collaborative On-going
How do drug conditioned cues influence mood and behavior? In these projects, we use a human laboratory paradigm to study the formation of conditioned drug associations and to examine their influence on mood, behavior and drug taking. The HAPPY Lab On-going