Our Research

Anxiety, Mood, Addiction Research Collaborative

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Influence of synthetic sex hormones on alcohol effects in women?

In these projects, we use human laboratory procedures to study how natural and synthetic sex hormones influence alcohol subjective and behavioral effects in women.

Brain-Behavior Markers of Reward and Cannabis Abuse Risk In Young Adults


To date, little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying the rewarding, reinforcing properties of cannabis and how these may contribute to individual differences in subjective reward response to cannabis, a marker of drug abuse liability. The proposed study aims to characterize individual differences in subjective reward response and neural reward processing to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, among healthy young adults who may be at-risk for problematic cannabis use.

Context, Subjective and Cognitive Experiences with Patterns of Tobacco and Cannabis Co-Use in Young Adults


The objective of this study is to examine, in real time, the proximal antecedents and consequences of tobacco and cannabis co-use in young adults using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA).

Passive, Mobile Assessment of Sleep, Circadian Timing, and Keyboard Dynamics to Prospectively Predict Depression Severity, Cognition, Emotion Processing, and Emotion Regulation

R21 MH121852-01

This study combines actigraphy with the smartphone app ‘BiAffect’ to understand digital behaviors, sleep, and circadian patterns on cognitive function and emotion processing in individuals with major depressive disorder or insomnia. 

Transdiagnostic Brain-Behavior Profiling to Enhance Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

R01 MH112705-01  NIH/NIMH

The study examined mechanisms of change that underlie CBT, and identify predictors of CBT response, in patients with major depressive disorder or social anxiety disorder.

Workplace Harassment, Macro-Level Stressors, Substance Use and Health Outcomes: A Long-Term Follow Up

This project is a 25-year follow-up of participants from a prior study, to investigate the long term health effects of exposure to chronic workplace harassment, including psychopathology and substance abuse.

Chronic Stressors and Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Middle-aged Adults

This national mixed methods study addresses the most salient psychosocial causes of increased substance use and increased midlife mortality of US adults, comparing differences by race/ethnicity.

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.

Effects of THC on Retention of Memory for Fear Extinction Learning in PTSD

R61 MH111935-01    NIH/NIMH

Trauma-focused psychotherapy is first-line psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is believed to work through fear extinction mechanisms.  While generally effective, many remain symptomatic after treatment.  Animal studies have shown that activation of the cannabinoid system during extinction learning enhances fear extinction and its retention. Specifically, CB1 receptor agonists, such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), can facilitate extinction recall by preventing recovery of extinguished fear in rats. This aim of this study is to use Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol to increase retention of fear extinction in PTSD to improve clinical outcome.

Brain Mechanisms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder

K23 MH093679-01A2      NIH/NIMH

In the context of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the project proposes to perform pre- and post-treatment functional MRI of limbic-prefrontal circuitry in patients with social anxiety disorder to examine brain markers of response to therapy and treatment-related brain changes. 

Identification of Neural Predictors of Response to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Depression and Anxiety

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD)

The objective of this study is to broaden the clinical impact of an existing NIMH-funded K23 Career

Development Award project by including individuals with major depressive disorder.  The project involves longitudinal fMRI and EEG measures of socio-emotional processing and emotion regulation before and after CBT.

Sleep Disturbance in Mood Disorders Across the Lifespan

Campus Research Board   Pilot Grant   OVCR Research Development Services, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL

This study integrates actigraphy, an objective measure of sleep and activity-rest cycles, into several ongoing studies at the University of Illinois, which examine anxiety and mood disorders across the lifespan in order to test the feasibility of actigraphy.

Neural Mechanisms of Attention-Emotion Interactions in Social Anxiety Disorder

UL1RR024986      NIH funded CTSA institutional training program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

This study uses fMRI to examine the neural correlates of attentional control over threat-relevant stimuli in individuals with social anxiety disorder.

Other Role: Postdoctoral Fellow Scholar

Gender, Harassment and Drinking among College Students

This web-based longitudinal cohort study followed nearly 3000 college students from Illinois colleges and universities at 6 points across 4 years of college. It extends past research on college student drinking by a) examining how patterns of harassment at school (SH) and work (WH), in the context of other school and life stressors, differentially contribute to drinking trajectories and problem drinking for women versus men college students, and b) applying a stressor-vulnerability model to examine how a variety of gender-linked risk and protective factors influence the relationships between WH and SH and other work, school, and life stressors and trajectories of problematic alcohol use (i.e., trajectories of increasing or chronically heavy use) over time. 

Work-family Conflict and Drinking in Caregivers

This study used a combination of random digit dial (RDD) telephone recruiting and self-report mail survey methodology to conduct a 3-wave panel study of employed men and women with unpaid caregiving responsibilities, in the Chicago metropolitan area.  This study extended previous research on work-family conflict (WFC) by: 1) using a comprehensive measure of WFC to further specify relationships between WFC and drinking outcomes; 2) longitudinally studying WFC in a broader context of other job and life experiences to examine the relative importance of various stressors in predicting drinking outcomes over time; 3) examining workplace harassment and discrimination as potential risk factors for WFC; and 4) testing potential reverse-causal relationships among WFC, distress, and drinking behavior over time.