Active Projects

The AERG is one of a handful of American research groups conducting research on use practices, motivations, consequences and complications of steroidal and nonsteroidal anabolic and ergo/thermogenic drugs – Appearance- and Performance-Enhancing Drugs, or APEDs – by elite athletes and instrumental users. The AERG has published several instruments for the study of these issues, including the sole reliable and valid diagnostic instrument for (the APEDUS).  The AERG and possesses and is continuing to collect the largest and most complex internet-gathered samples of users to date.

This NJ Commission on Brain Injury Research (NJCBIR) supported lab works with student athletes to understand risk for and recovery from sport-related concussion. Our studies focus on enhancing the mental and physical well-being of student athletes by bringing scientists and physicians together. The goals of our lab are to understand athletes mental and physical health characteristics and to carefully track symptom timelines after a head injury in an effort to improve understanding of the factors that may increase risk for more protracted recovery timelines.    

This NIAAA and NIDA supported lab conducts brain-heart research by integrating the conceptual models and methods of psychology, neuroscience, physiology, exercise science, and computational modeling. Our research is aimed at understanding the relations between alcohol and other drug use behaviors, cognition, emotional regulation, and neurocardiac signaling. We are developing novel interventions for biobehavioral disorders such as addiction. The lab provides team science training for undergraduate and graduate students, post-baccalaureate research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, and early career faculty.

Researchers in this laboratory collect and analyze longitudinal data to delineate the development, etiology, and consequences of substance use over the life course. Longitudinal data sets span early childhood through adulthood and include both community and high-risk samples. In addition to substance use, research focuses on other problem behaviors, such as delinquency and violence, and how they are comorbid with substance use behaviors. Findings are used to inform the development of prevention programs.

Our laboratory is interested in the genetic basis of complex brain disorders, including genetic predisposition for alcoholism, drug abuse, and other compulsive behaviors, as well as molecular and biochemical mechanisms underlying such neuro-sensory processes as stress, bone physiology, neuropathic pain, and analgesia.

This lab utilizes innovative computing technologies for high dimensional, complex clinical trial data to better provide answers that have been just beyond our reach based on single trials alone. This lab is devoted to developing and refining state-of-the-art quantitative methods and using them as a scaffold to pursue “hard-to-reach” research objectives. The ultimate purpose of this lab is twofold: to seek innovations and refinements in clinical diagnoses and trials aimed at reducing excessive drinking and strengthen their research standards; and to seek innovations in quantitative research methodologies to meet the challenges of analyzing clinical trial data across the data life cycle. Current projects include Project INTEGRATE, which combines individual participant data (N = 12,630) from 24 independent, brief motivational interventions (BMIs) for college students to examine the overall strength of the effectiveness of BMIs and their mechanisms of change; and the Research Diagnostic Project (RDP), which uses both proprietary and public-access datasets to explore refinements of diagnostic decision rules for alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and opioid problems.

This laboratory conducts integrated research into the physiology of various stimuli that affect bone metabolism, especially the bone protein osteocalcin, recently identified as a hormone influencing extraskeletal metabolism. Among the conditions we study are acute and chronic alcohol consumption, skeletal unloading, and sensory neural influence.

The goal of this research lab is to investigate neural mechanisms that underlie memory processes in current stimulant users, and those at risk for stimulant use, through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Cognitive experimental tasks, brain regions of interest and multiple brain connectivity analysis techniques are utilized to investigate neurocognitive mechanisms that might promote craving in stimulant users. Results from this research have the potential to lay the groundwork for more articulated neurocognitive models of craving and impulse control in stimulant users. Potential therapeutic applications include neurofeedback, cognitive restructuring within the memory system, and medication development.