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Kelly DeMartini, PhD

Research Scientist of Psychiatry; Administrative Director, Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism

Research Summary

I am currently conducting research aimed at understanding how habit formation is related to problems with alcohol use. I am also currently working on projects to understand factors that impact alcohol treatment (behavioral and pharmacological) outcomes. I am also investigating sleep interventions for young adult heavy drinkers.

Specialized Terms; Brief alcohol interventions development; mobile technology and mobile health; quantitative modeling; sleep and alcohol use; young adult drinking; liver transplant; substance use with medical comorbidities

Extensive Research Description

My research is broadly aimed at the development of treatments and interventions for alcohol use across patient populations, including young adult drinkers and patients with alcohol use disorders and medical comorbidities. Epidemiological data indicate that rates of heavy drinking in young adults have not decreased, despite decades of intensive research to develop efficacious interventions for this population. Among all those over 18 years of age in the United States, approximately 25% report binge drinking in the past month. Across populations, heavy alcohol consumption is associated with a host of negative consequences, including legal, medical, relational and other problems, even alcohol-related death. A great deal more research is needed to develop novel alcohol use interventions and to identify mechanisms to maximize the benefit of current treatments.

My research focuses on:

1. The development of mobile technology-based interventions, including SMS-based platforms

2. Quantitative modeling (including person-centered models) of factors related to trajectories of alcohol use both during and post-treatment

3. Understanding factors, including gender, that mediate or moderate alcohol treatment response

4. The development of brief alcohol interventions for young adult drinkers

I have a particular interest in the development of technology-based treatments for problem drinking and alcohol use disorders, especially for patients with comorbid medical conditions. These conditions can limit a patient's ability to travel for treatment; provide adjunct care via technology-based interventions can provide necessary, additional support. For young adults, technology-based treatments can increase their willingness to participate in treatment and match their preferences for how to engage providers.

Overall, my research aims to develop efficacious treatments for alcohol use disorders, particularly treatments that can be accessed outside of the typical treatment setting. Building these treatments requires thorough understanding of key treatment mediators and moderators, including those that vary over time. Treatments that increase access to care and account for these person-specific mediators could greatly increase efficacy.


Research Interests

Alcoholism; Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms; Health; Psychiatry; Psychotherapy; Technology; Clinical Trial; Biostatistics

Public Health Interests

Behavioral Health; Clinical Trials; Modeling; Substance Use, Addiction

Selected Publications