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, course, and consequences of substance use and substance use disorder over the life course. Longitudinal datasets span developmental stages of the life course including childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, midlife, and older adulthood; and include national, community, high-risk, and clinical samples. In addition to substance use, research focuses on other problem behaviors (e.g., delinquency and violence), and mental health problems and how they are comorbid with substance-use behaviors. Research also focuses on factors predicting substance-use reductions and recovery from substance use disorders, including young-adult "maturing out" but also reductions and recovery occurring in later periods of the lifespan. Findings are used to guide developmentally-informed prevention and intervention strategies at the clinical, public-health, and policy levels.

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 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.

The Trauma and Addiction Project Lab (TAP LAB) is a multidisciplinary program of research at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies (previously at the Department of Psychology, City College of New York, City University of New York).  TAP LAB aims to advance the science of trauma and addiction research by conducting studies on

  • the effects of trauma exposures and addiction on the mind and body;
  • intergenerational trauma and the impact of parental history on child functioning; 
  • the role of threat-related cognitive processing in the development and maintenance of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and associated interpersonal impairments; and
  • the efficacy of treatment interventions for co-occurring PTSD and addiction as well as associated psychiatric issues and conditions. 

TAP LAB integrates cognitive, interpersonal, and neurodevelopmental perspectives on traumatic stress and addiction over the lifespan and examines the impact of contextual factors such as race, ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status on treatment process and outcome.  
TAP LAB is committed to training and mentoring students, faculty, and researchers and developing institutional infrastructure to support addiction research. TAP is also dedicated to disseminating significant research findings to inform communities of the far-reaching consequences of trauma and addiction for disenfranchised populations and guidelines for effective clinical practice.