Why do people use drugs and alcohol despite the risks? Why do some people develop problems with drugs and alcohol while others do not? How might socio-cultural factors impact problematic substance use? Do treatments for problematic substance use really work?

To address questions like these, the Addiction Science FIRE Stream takes approaches that range from basic studies of the neurobehavioral and psychological processes that underlie addictive behavior to research on the treatment of addictive behavior and psychological conditions that often co-occur with addiction. Moreover, we have a primary focus on the unique vulnerabilities and health disparities experienced by racial/ethnic minority and lower socioeconomic status communities. The Addiction Science FIRE Stream evaluates novel treatment targets for drug and alcohol abuse in real-world clinical settings with underserved populations.

Rather than structuring the stream around a single research question, the team-based approach of the Addiction Science FIRE stream provides the opportunity for students to explore a range of research questions and methods in addiction science.

Based in the Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory within the Department of Psychology, students gain exposure to the following approaches to discovery in addiction science:
  • Basic approaches that focus on fundamental neurobehavioral and psychological processes
  • Students learn how EEG and MRI neuroimaging modalities are accompanied by a number of other physiological measures to gather critical additional information about affective and cognitive processes
  • Applied laboratory approaches that build upon knowledge of basic processes to identify targets for prevention and intervention.
  • Students gain experience with behavioral analogue methods for examining risk for problematic substance use with research participants from diverse and vulnerable communities
  • Treatment research that develops, implements, and evaluates interventions in real-world clinical settings.
  • Students work with research participants in a community health setting enrolled in an intervention study to improve executive functioning


    2018 Addiction Science Stream

    2017 Addiction Science Stream

    2016 Addiction Science Stream

    2015 Addiction Science Stream

    Faculty Advisor
    Dr. Edward Bernat

    Research Educator
    Dr. Cristina Risco