Stimulant Neuroimaging Lab

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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.

Research Aim(s): 
  • To characterize neural mechanisms that underlie implicit and explicit memory processes in chronic cocaine smokers compared to high- and low-risk individuals by using cognitive experimental tasks and fMRI. Brain regions of interest and connectivity between brain regions (multiple ways) will be examined. The ultimate goal is to understand craving.
  • To investigate how the neural mechanisms that underlie implicit and explicit memory processes in high-risk individuals and chronic cocaine smokers are affected by cognitive manipulation using experimental tasks, and fMRI that utilizes brain regions of interest and multiple connectivity analysis approaches.


Active Research Projects: 

 Cocaine, Appetitive Memory and Neural Connectivity. National Institute on Drug Abuse, K01DA029047.

Recent Press and Presentations: 

Banu, L.M., Buckman, J. F., Puhalla, A., Hanson, C., Hanson, S., Barnas, P., Ray, S., Heiss, S., & Bates, M. E. (2015). Marijuana cue reactivity in heavy marijuana users and controls: An fMRI study. Poster presented at the 3rd Annual Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction Conference, Baltimore, MD.

Buckman, J. F., Puhalla, A., Ray, S., Hanson, S. J., Hanson, C., Deo, P., Banu, L., Barnas, P., Heiss, S., Peyser, D., Bates, M. E. (2014, Nov). Collecting high-quality ECG data within the fMRI environment: Physiologic and neural reactions to a high-load respiratory task. Poster presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.

Vaschillo, E., Biswal, B., Buckman, J. F., Peyser, D., Heiss, S., Barnas, P., Banu, L., Puhalla, A., Vaschillo, B., Eddie, D., Ray, S., Hanson, S. J., Hanson, C., & Bates, M. E. (2014, Sep). Resonance breathing affects hemodynamic oscillations in the brain at 0.1 Hz. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Advancement of Respiratory Psychophysiology Conference, New Brunswick, NJ.

Ray, S., Gohel, S., & Biswal, B. (2014, Sep). Functional connectivity between occipital-limbic brain area is positively related to years of cocaine use in abstinent cocaine users. Presented at the 4th Biennial Conference on Resting State/ Brain Connectivity, Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ray, S., Gohel, S., & Biswal, B. Reduced intra- and inter-hemispheric resting state functional connectivity in cocaine users. (2014, June). Presented at the 20th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Hamburg, Germany.

Puhalla, A., Buckman, J. F., Ray, S., Hanson, S. J., Hanson, C., Peyser, D., Deo, P., Banu, L., Barnas, P., Heiss, S., & Bates, M. E. (2014, June). Simultaneous high quality recording of ECG and fMRI data: Neural and Physiologic reactions to a high load respiratory task. Poster presented at the Rutgers Neuroscience Symposium, Piscataway, NJ.

Ray, S., Hanson, C., Haney, M., Biswal, B. B., & Hanson, S. J. (2014, June). Modeling causal relationship between memory and craving related brain networks in non-treatment seeking cocaine smokers using IMaGES, a Graph theoretic approach. San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Training Offered: 

This lab offers training for undergraduate students, post-baccalaureate research assistants, graduate students, and early career faculty.

Core Faculty: Suchismita Ray, Ph.D.
Affiliated Faculty: Stephen J. Hanson, Ph.D. (Rutgers University-Newark)
Bharat B. Biswal, Ph.D. (New Jersey Institute of Technology)
Margaret Haney, Ph.D. (Columbia University)
Marsha E. Bates, Ph.D. (Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies)
Robert Pandina, Ph.D. (Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies)
Current Lab Research Assistants: Aradhana Srinagesh
Alexis Budhi
Salman Zafar
JesseGabriel Tecson
Other information: 

Recent Former Students
Brian Foster (Currently attending Medical School: Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital)
Ashley Aya (Currently attending Medical School: Pittsburgh)
Leila Hazavei (Currently attending Medical School: University of Pennsylvania)
Sindhu Kilakkathi (Currently attending Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin)
Umair Nassir (Currently attending Medical School: Rowan University)