Our Program Post-Doctoral Opportunities Faculty

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Mary Larimer has more than three decades of experience in research on etiology, prevention, and treatment of harmful alcohol use and related substance use and high risk behaviors. The majority of her work has focused on alcohol, drug, and gambling disorders among emerging adults and college students, and she is among the nation’s leading experts in these areas. She has been continuously grant funded since 1985, and currently serves as PI on a NIAAA-funded R01, a NIDA-funded R01, and a large grant from the National Council on Responsible Gaming, as well as co-PI or co-Investigator on multiple other projects. Dr. Larimer’s projects offer several training opportunities For example, her NIDA R01 focuses on comorbidity of disordered gambling with at least one other substance use diagnosis, primarily alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and polysubstance disorders, and longitudinally evaluates in-person and web interventions for these comorbidities in a diverse sample of students. Similarly, her NIAAA R01 follows high school seniors longitudinally for 4 years, and evaluates alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit substance use trajectories and prevention. A supplement to her NIAAA R01 addresses the impact of marijuana legalization in Washington State on rates and predictors of marijuana use, and data collected as part of this research will enable an evaluation of the impact of this policy on marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco use and dependence as well as health risks of these substances together and in combination. Dr. Larimer is a Co-I on research addressing alcohol, drug and violence etiology and prevention among students at tribal colleges and universities (Duran, PI) which includes both policy and prevention/treatment perspectives.

David Atkins is a Research Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at UW. He is a clinical psychologist who functions as an applied statistician, and provides training in advanced statistical techniques as applied to addiction research topics. In addition, Dr. Atkins has substantive research in psychotherapy process related to alcohol and drug interventions. Dr. Atkins is PI of two interdisciplinary grants (AA018673 / DA034860) examining computational linguistic approaches to evaluating motivational interviewing and studying its linguistic treatment mechanisms. More than 300 sessions come from poly-substance abusing samples in which both drugs and alcohol are treatment foci. Ongoing work is examining how change talk (CT) differs by drug type (e.g., marijuana has far less CT, relative to alcohol, heroin, or cocaine) and how the process of MI is affected by poly-substance use.

John Baer is a Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. Dr. Baer is also the Coordinator of Education within the Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education at the VA Medical Center in Seattle, and Director of Training within the Washington Node of NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network. Dr. Baer’s research interests center around developing and evaluating interventions for alcohol and substance use disorders, including prevention and treatment approaches.

Bia Carlini is a Senior Research Scientist at the ADAI. Her research focuses primarily tobacco cessation and comorbidity of tobacco dependence with alcohol and other substances of abuse. She also has active research related to tobacco and marijuana control policies, as well as cultural adaptation of addiction treatment to work with minority and underserved communities as well as reach non-treatment-seeking individuals. She will be available to serve as a mentor or co-mentor for trainees as well as contribute to didactic training opportunities including offering a new seminar on alcohol and tobacco comorbidity.

Charles Chavkin is a Professor of Pharmacology, Adjunct Professor of Anesthesiology, and Director of the UW Center for Drug Addiction Research. Dr. Chavkin’s lab uses mouse genetic and behavioral models to study the mechanisms controlling the risk of drug abuse. These risks include behavioral stress exposure, which increases the rewarding valence of cocaine, nicotine and ethanol. Stress also causes reinstatement of extinguished drug seeking behaviors (relapse). Animals made physically dependent on ethanol or morphine show enhanced drug seeking (craving) behaviors during withdrawal.

Jeremy Clark is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. His research examines the link between a history of alcohol use in adolescence, risky decisions, and perturbation of dopamine systems by determining how adolescent alcohol and drug exposure impacts reinforcement learning, cost sensitivity, and reward valuation. Dr. Clark also is an active participant in cross-training of trainees in psychosocial and behavioral neuroscience perspectives on longer-term effects of adolescent alcohol and drug exposure. Dr. Clark has funding as PI and Co-I from both NIAAA and NIDA, and collaborates closely with Dr. Phillips (Core Faculty) to address common mechanisms underlying multiple substances of abuse.

Kelly Cue Davis is a Research Associate Professor of Social Work with over 15 years’ experience conducting research regarding alcohol-related sexual behavior. The overarching focus of her research concerns the influence of alcohol and drug intoxication on negative sexual outcomes, including HIV and other STI-related sexual risk behavior, sexual aggression, sexual victimization, and sexual dysfunction. She is particularly interested in the mediating cognitive, emotional, and psychophysiological factors that underlie relationships between alcohol and drug use and sexual behavior. Dr. Davis has access to data sets assessing both alcohol and other drug use and affect in the context of sexual risk taking.

Dennis Donovan is Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI), Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Adjunct Professor of Psychology. He is PI and Director of the Pacific Northwest Node of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network and Co-Director of the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Substance Abuse and HIV/STI Scientific Work Group. Dr. Donovan’s research has focused on aspects of cognitive-behavioral and social learning factors within addictive behaviors, including alcohol, drug, and tobacco research. Dr. Donovan is actively involved with community-based participatory research approaches to working with indigenous communities, both locally and nationwide; with effectiveness studies of brief motivational interventions for medical patients and in trauma settings; and with research on aggressive and alcohol- and drug-impaired driving, the role of alcohol and substance use disorders in HIV, and the impact of alcohol and drug policies.

Bonnie Duran is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington, and Co-Director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. Dr. Duran has extensive experience in public health education, evaluation, program planning and research with Native Americans and other communities of color. She is currently working with Tribal Colleges and Universities on behavioral health epidemiology and interventions for alcohol and drug use disorders and related comorbid conditions.

Brian Flaherty is an Associate Professor of Psychology. He has expertise in psychometrics, the analysis of change, and mixture modeling with alcohol and addiction data. Dr. Flaherty conducts both methodological and substantive research. Recent statistical and methodological research includes working with a parameterization of the latent class model referred to as associative latent transition analysis, as well as issues around measurement invariance in the latent class context. Dr. Flaherty’s substantive research focuses on substance use onset and dependence, including research on transitions in tobacco use among adult smokers in association with measures of AOD use, and patterns of alcohol and substance use in national data.

William George is a Professor of Psychology. His research primarily focuses on the relationship between alcohol and drug use and social problems such as violence, sexual aggression, and HIV risk behavior, specifically the role of alcohol expectancies and alcohol myopia in post-drinking disinhibition. Much of his work incorporates experimental alcohol and placebo administration to test pharmacologic and expectancy effects on perceptions and risk behaviors. He also conducts research evaluating the relationship between affect, alcohol and drug use, and aggressive and risky behaviors, as well as how cultural factors and racial stereotypes interact with these topics. Participants in recent studies report high rates of comorbid substance use including both marijuana and tobacco use

Debra Kaysen is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her research focuses on effects of trauma on women, and interactions between trauma exposure, PTSD, and alcohol and drug problems. Her research has utilized interview, web-survey, daily monitoring, and ecological momentary assessment protocols to evaluate development, maintenance, and recovery from post-trauma symptomatology, and the role of alcohol and substance use in these processes. She also has interests in etiology, prevention, and treatment of alcohol and substance use disorders in LGBTI populations, evaluating factors including minority stress, peer networks, and environmental influences in this population. She has long-term longitudinal and daily data regarding alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use among sexual minority women.

Jason Kilmer is a Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, with expertise in disseminating and evaluating brief interventions for college student alcohol and drug prevention, and working with state and national organizations to improve prevention and intervention efforts. His most recent research evaluates impacts of alcohol, drug, and tobacco policies on perceived norms, access, risk perception, use, consequences, and health outcomes related to alcohol and marijuana use. Most recently, he serves as PI of a study of young adult alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use as part of a statewide evaluation of Washington’s marijuana legalization legislation. He also serves as co-I on 2 intervention studies targeting alcohol, drug, tobacco, and gambling comorbidity.

Dianne Lattemann is a Research Professor of Psychology. Her research focuses on endocrine regulation of brain catecholamine pathways. One major focus has been the dopamine pathways, and in particular, activity of the dopamine re-uptake transporter (DAT). The DAT is responsible for clearing released dopamine from the synapse, and is a target for cocaine, amphetamine, and a number of psychotherapeutic drugs. Her research has demonstrated that synthesis and activity of the DAT–based on measurements that range from mRNA levels through behavioral paradigms in the rat–can be modulated by hormones as diverse as insulin and the adrenal glucocorticoids. There are well-documented effects of both food deprivation and stress on the activity of mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons, and mesolimbic dopamine, resulting in the enhancement of reinforcing efficacy of alcohol and addictive drugs. Dr. Lattemann is pursuing the hypothesis that one cellular mechanism for these effects is changes in the numbers and function of the DAT.

Christine Lee is a Research Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her work focuses on etiology, maintenance, prevention, and intervention of high-risk alcohol and substance use among late adolescents and young adult college students. She has an innovative and impressive portfolio of work examining developmental, social, and motivational influences on etiology and prevention of high-risk behaviors including alcohol and marijuana use, as well as work evaluating impact of drug control policies, specifically marijuana legalization, in relation to comorbid alcohol and tobacco use. Her most recently funded work will evaluate longitudinal trajectories of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use during the transition from high school into young adulthood, testing competing models of factors influencing development and desistence of alcohol and substance use disorders throughout this transition.

Melissa Lewis is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She is a health and social psychologist whose substantive research interests lie in examining social psychological principles in broadly defined health-related behaviors. Her research investigates social and motivational mechanisms involved in etiology and prevention of addictive and high-risk behaviors (e.g., drinking, drug use, risky sexual behavior and HIV risk). She also explores factors increases likelihood of involvement in high-risk health behaviors, such as vulnerability to social pressure. Her research includes large-scale longitudinal and daily survey methods, clinical trials, and experimental methods.

Kristen Lindgren is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her research interests include alcohol and drug use disorders, PTSD, sexuality, and relationships. Her work focuses on identifying and retraining implicit (i.e., non-conscious or automatic) cognitive processes that contribute to development and maintenance of maladaptive behavior and psychopathology. She is PI of a R00 and R01 from NIAAA addressing these topics. Preliminary data suggest stronger alcohol-related implicit associations are predictive of more use of other illicit drugs. Research opportunities include understanding the role of implicit processes as predictors of polysubstance use and relapse.

Jeanette Norris is a Senior Research Scientist at ADAI and Affiliate Associate Professor of Psychology. Dr. Norris’s research has focused on the role of alcohol myopia related to alcohol’s influence on perception of permissive and nonpermissive cues in the context of sexual aggression, sexual victimization, and sexual risk-taking. Her work includes alcohol administration, experimental methods, and survey research to address these questions among women at risk for sexual assault due to alcohol and drug use. Given high comorbidity of alcohol and marijuana in her samples.

Paul Phillip is Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Pharmacology. His research investigates the role of dopamine transmission in normal and pathological mental function with a strong emphasis on addictive behaviors, using traditional behavioral paradigms such as operant behavior and classical conditioning as well neuroeconomic approaches to study decision making. Dopamine neurotransmission is monitored directly using real-time electrochemistry to identify components of dopamine transmission that are altered during behavior or pathology. His lab also utilizes interference methods including neuropharmacology (systemic administration or site-specific intracranial microinjections), viral-mediated gene delivery and intracranial electrical stimulation. Recently, work in Dr. Phillips lab has identified neuroadaptations that cause an increase in drug consumption following cocaine use, and he has collaborated with Dr. Clark on research identifying neuroadaptations that alter cognition in later life following adolescent alcohol use; both are examples of behavioral effects that have been identified across classes of abused substances individually or following polysubstance abuse.

Douglas Ramsay is Professor and Chair of the Department of Dental Public Health Sciences, Professor of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, and Adjunct Professor of Psychology. Dr. Ramsay teaches and supervises students at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels. His research interests include mechanisms underlying alcohol and drug tolerance; psychopharmacology; learning and memory; and patient adherence/compliance with therapeutic regimens. He is especially interested in how physiological and behavioral regulatory mechanisms influence alcohol and drug effects. His currently funded research includes an animal investigation of the relationship between acute and chronic tolerance with a special emphasis on the factors that make some animals particularly vulnerable to addiction, and research on how to provide feedback to patients in order to improve their ability to regulate their own adherent behavior to a therapeutic regimen.

Tracy Simpson is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Clinical Director of Women’s Trauma Recovery Programs at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. Her research interests focus on the relation between alcohol and substance use and trauma, trauma recovery, and PTSD. She currently has two funded projects evaluating different aspects of the relation between PTSD and alcohol and drug craving and relapse. Dr. Simpson contributes to the training faculty’s ability to address issues of co-morbidity with considerable relevance to the etiology, prevention, and treatment of alcohol and drug use disorders. She also has considerable expertise with novel assessment technologies, including interactive voice system software, which enhances the research methodology support available to our trainees.

Denise Walker is Research Associate Professor of Social Work. Her research interests center on motivation for behavior change, and the implementation of motivational interventions to reduce alcohol, substance use, and domestic violence in a variety of populations including adolescents and military personnel. Dr. Walker’s research assesses tobacco, marijuana, opiate, and stimulant use in addition to alcohol use.