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Learn more about the lab's ongoing research projects.

Alcoholism, Early Adversity, and Relapse

This project investigates the effects of early adversity on the neurobiology of alcoholism and their prediction of alcohol relapse. We use a combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis measures during exposures to stress, alcohol, and neutral cues. After the MRI scan, all patients with alcohol use disorder receives 8-week outpatient treatment and are followed for 90 days using a smartphone app.

Brain, Heart, and Hazardous Drinking

The goal of this project is to identify brain-heart markers of stress-related risky drinking. We use a combined fMRI and electrocardiogram (ECG) technique to measures responses in the brain and autonomic nervous system during alcohol and stress exposure. After the scan, all participants are followed for 30 days using a smartphone app to understand relationships between stress, alcohol use and other health-related behaviors.

Stress, Mood, and Addiction

This study aims to understand the link between stress-related coping, depression, and addiction (e.g., alcohol misuse) using fMRI and HPA axis measures. The project examines brain and stress hormone responses that may contribute to co-occurring mood and reward dysfunction.

Technology-Assisted Prevention

The YSL develops a technology-assisted prevention program for stress and addiction related illnesses (e.g., alcohol misuse). This project aims to develop an innovative prevention program involving computer and smartphone-app based intervention. Using the technology-assisted program, the project is intended to reach out to young adults and those who reside in various community settings to prevent addiction.