The faculty consists of over thirty individuals who will provide didactic instruction, clinical training and research mentorship. These include faculty within the Division on Substance Use Disorders, as well as faculty from other Divisions and Departments within the Medical Center and the larger Columbia University community. Specific academic interests of key research faculty include:
Animal Models of Substance Use Disorders
Jonathan Javitch, MD, PhD is focused on determining the structural bases of the transport of substrate by the dopamine transporter and its inhibition by drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine. We are also studying regulation of the trafficking and function of the dopamine transporter and its role in sensitization. Several lines of evidence support the relevance of sensitization to the pathophysiology of addiction.
David Sulzer, PhD studies plasticity of neurotransmission and the events involved in cell death, particularly how the cortex, striatum, and dopamine system of the substantial nigra and ventral tegmental area work together to produce learning, memory, and decision making. His lab studies basic properties of dopaminergic neurotransmission, providing insights into synaptic regulation in the brain.
Human Behavioral Pharmacology
Suzette Evans, PhD studies issues related to vulnerability to substance abuse in women, with an emphasis on the role of the menstrual cycle, gonadal hormones and sex differences. She has been investigating the effects of one form of early trauma and a family history of alcoholism, on the response to drugs of abuse in women. Further, she has conducted numerous studies assessing the effects of alcohol, alone and in combination with medications, in various populations including light drinkers, moderate drinkers, and heavy drinkers. In collaboration with colleagues, she has been assessing behavioral measures of impulsivity and using a standard psychological stressor (the Trier Social Stress Test) to assess response to stress among various groups of individuals at risk for substance abuse.
Richard Foltin, PhD has developed preclinical models in both laboratory animals and humans of drug abuse, eating disorders and treatment interventions. His studies focus on improving methodologies for modeling key features of eating and drug abuse disorders in laboratory settings. Such models allow for empirical testing of the factors believed to influence the target behavior. In addition to understanding the underlying behavioral mechanisms of appetitive disorders, the models are valuable for testing putative behavioral and pharmacological interventions for such disorders.
Margaret Haney, PhD has developed laboratory models of drug-use cessation and relapse. She is using these models to test novel approaches to the treatment of cocaine and marijuana dependence.
Sandra Comer, PhD investigates medications that may be useful for treating opioid dependence, examines factors that may affect the abuse liability of opioid medications (such as gonadal hormones or drug use history), and assesses variables that may alter responsivity to opioids (such as the presence or absence of pain).
Clinical Trials of Substance Use Disorder Treatments
Adam Bisaga, MD has been developing human laboratory models of addictions and testing novel pharmacotherapies for opioid, and cocaine use disorders using clinical trials methodology.
Aimee Campbell, PhD develops and tests behavioral interventions for substance use disorders and HIV prevention and treatment, including through the use of technology-based platforms, with a specific emphasis on methods to improve access to and implementation of science-based treatments. Her work incorporates the personal, interpersonal, and social contexts in which individuals manage the overlapping challenges of addiction, trauma, mental health disorders, and HIV sexual and drug risk behaviors.
Kenneth Carpenter, PhD examines the role of environmental context on drug treatment outcome and the use of behavioral analytic accounts of human language and cognition for understanding the mechanisms of change in drug treatment programs. He is now developing experimental models of human language and cognition in order to investigate the role of these factors in drug use and treatment facilitated behavioral change.
Denise Hien, PhD is currently assessing combined psychopharmacologic and behavioral treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders and Addictive Disorders.
Frances R. Levin, MD is interested in developing pharmacologic treatments for cocaine and marijuana dependence; and utility of pharmacotherapies for substance use disorders with psychiatric comorbidity. She is also engaged in developing educational programs to teach substance abuse knowledge and skills.
John Mariani, MD is focused on investigating novel pharmacotherapies for addictive disorders, such as cannabis, cocaine and alcohol use disorders.
Edward V. Nunes, MD seeks to develop and evaluate behavioral and pharmacologic treatments for drug dependence and psychiatric comorbidity, and test the effectiveness of promising new treatments in multi-site, community-based effectiveness trials. Also, he is interested in dissemination and implementation research.
Epidemiology and Treatment Implementation
Lisa Dixon, MD is focused on improving the quality of care for individuals with serious mental disorders with a particular emphasis on services that include families, reducing the negative impact of co-occurring addictions and medical problems, and improving treatment engagement and adherence. Dr. Dixon's work has joined individuals engaged in self-help, outpatient psychiatric care, as well as clinicians and policy makers in collaborative research endeavors.
Deborah Hasin, PhD studies brief technologically enhanced interventions for reduction in drinking and substance use in primary care. Also, she studies the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in the etiology of alcohol and drug disorders and the longitudinal investigation of the influence of primary and substance-induced depressive disorder on the course of cocaine, heroin and alcohol dependence; Moreover, she analyzes national epidemiological datasets on drug and alcohol use, drug and alcohol dependence and the factors affecting the onset and chronicity of substance use disorders.
Silvia Martins, MD, PhD focuses on environmental and individual factors associated with substance use and substance use disorders, psychiatric disorders in the U.S. general population and gambling/problem gambling in Puerto Rican Youth. Her research also investigates trends in nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder in the U.S. populations and a recently-funded study to investigate the effects of state-level marijuana laws on the prevalence of marijuana use among adolescents and adults as well as other consequences potentially related to the implementation of these laws.
Mark Olfson, MD directs several studies on the delivery of mental health services in community settings with an emphasis on the pharmacoepidemiology of psychotic and mood disorders. His research interests focus on national patterns and trends in the utilization of mental health services and quality of care. Dr. Olfson serves as Co-Director of the AHRQ Center for Education and Research on Mental Health Therapeutics and the Scientific Director of Columbia University TeenScreen.
Cognitive Neuroscience and Translational Neuroimaging
Diana Martinez, MD uses positron emission tomography to image dopamine receptors and dopamine transmission in addiction. Current studies include three studies in human subjects and one in non-human primates.
Nasir Naqvi, MD, PhD combines clinical trials with functional magnetic resonance imaging in order to probe the neurocognitive mechanisms by which behavioral treatments for alcohol use disorder change behavior. Current studies examine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brief Interventions, and disulfiram therapy.
Jonathan Posner, MD focuses on how the brain experiences emotion, maintains focus, and controls impulses, with a particular focus on the role of these processes in addiction and other psychiatric disorders, primarily in adolescent populations.
Joanna Steinglass, MD conducts translational research on anorexia nervosa. Her research aims to elucidate the neural mechanisms of anorexia nervosa, and to develop treatments to better prevent relapse. Her work focuses on the link between neural mechanisms and salient behavioral disturbances for individuals with anorexia nervosa.