In laying out the last UF CARE Newsletter for 2021-2022, it became evident that (at the risk of sounding like a Hallmark Card or Self-Help Book (I could use both)), I am extremely fortunate. I have the exciting and humbling experience of working with an amazing body of faculty and trainees (and staff for that matter!).  AND, as you’ve seen in each of our newsletters, these trainees are moving on to productive and exciting careers.  Their ultimate success is, of course, their own. That said,  the support and training they receive from exceptional UF CARE faculty is essential. I also believe that their development is encouraged through the intellectual and financial support provided through UF CARE.  In turn, UF CARE’s contributions to this process are possible only because of support provided by UF Leadership and those of you who made donations and allocated  portions of your IDCs.  AND WOW!!!  Our fiscal staff have informed me that UF CARE released 45 THOUSAND DOLLARS in direct aid to trainees over the past year.   These are the tangible contributions—beyond that we have sponsored numerous exceptional lectures, a successful Annual Symposium and are extending efforts to build social networks that persist!  It’s been a difficult couple of years, but there strong reason for optimism.  Check out the inside for some inspiration!   [PS if you come across a great self-help book, let me know]




Congratulations to our Spring/Summer 2022 travel awardees! Thank you to those who were able to join us on June 1st to hear the awardees present their wonderful work.  



UF Women of Neuro

UF CARE Director, Dr. Sara Jo Nixon, was recently featured in the McKnight Brain Institute "UF Women of Neuro" series, which highlights some of the incredible women leading the research initiatives at the MBI. 

For more information on Dr. Nixon and other women in neuroscience, visit the UF Women in Neuro site here:

UF CARE Collaboration

Jalie Tucker, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dynamic pathways to recovery from alcohol use disorder: Meaning and methods

Dr. Jalie Tucker (Professor, Department of Health Education & Behavior) and Katie Witkiewitz, PhD, University of New Mexico, edited Dynamic pathways to recovery from alcohol use disorder: Meaning and methods, that was published this year by Cambridge University Press. Several UF CARE members have chapters in it. Planning of the book was before NIAAA’s recent focus on defining recovery and funding more recovery research …


National Leadership

Participating in professional societies is an important aspect of our work, and serving in leadership positions a particular honor and responsibility. We are happy to announce that Dr. Oliver Grundmann (Clinical Professor, Department of Entrepreneurial Programs in Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy) was elected by the Board of Regents of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology to serve as President-Elect. He will serve as Vice President 2022-2023 and President 2023-2024. 


ACCP President-Elect


We are excited to announce that a member of UF CARE's External Advisory Committee, Dr. Howard Becker (Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, College of Medicine, MUSC), was elected to serve as President-Elect of the Research Society on Alcoholism. He will serve as Vice President 2022-2023 and President 2023-2024. 


RSA President-Elect

University Leadership

Dr. Catherine Striley (Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions) was elected to the UF Senate Steering Committee. 

The Steering Committee is the executive committee of the Faculty Senate. It advises the Chair of the Faculty Senate on all matters, including issues brought to its attention from outside the Senate's or administration's formal structure.


Congressional Briefing 

Dr. Sara Jo Nixon (Professor and Co-Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine) and Dr. Jeff Boissoneault (Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, College of Public Health and Health Professions) were invited panelists on a Congressional Briefing entitled "Alcohol and Healthy Aging: Current Research and Future Directions", sponsored by the Friends of NIAAA, in collaboration with the American Psychological Association, and the Research Society on Alcoholism.

Dr. Nixon presented Neurobiological and Behavioral Consequences of Moderate Alcohol Consumption in Older Adults.

Dr. Boissoneault presented Pain and Alcohol Use: Implications for Healthy Aging.

Affiliate Member Accomplishments

UF CARE affiliate member Neo Gebru (mentor Dr. Robert Leeman) was named the 2022 Department of Health Education and Behavior Ph.D. Student of the Year.

Neo was also awarded the Research Society on Alcoholism Nadia Chaudhri Rising Scholar Award and Translational Mechanisms of Behavior Change (MOBC) Meeting Travel Award. 


UF CARE affiliate member Christian Garcia (mentor Dr. Sara Jo Nixon) was one of five doctoral students at UF  selected to the SEC Emerging Scholars Program for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

This prestigious program is designed to provide professional development and networking opportunities for current doctoral students and a limited number of postdoctoral researchers who are considering careers in higher education. Scholars will attend a multi-day event, complete  pre-workshop assignments, and visit with representatives from all 14 SEC universities. This year's conference will take place in September at the University of Missouri. 

Congrats Grad! 

UF CARE affiliate member Lisa L. Wilson was awarded her Ph.D. on April 28th!

Her committee members were UF CARE members Dr. Jay McLaughlin (major advisor), Dr. Brandon Warren, Dr. Barry Setlow, Dr. Chris McCurdy, and Dr. Habibeh Khoshbouei. 


Congratulations, Dr. Wilson! 


Lisa H Domenico, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor

Department of Biobehavioral Nursing Science

"Dr. Domenico’s research is focused on identifying neurocognitive factors that influence self-perception and behavior change among individuals with substance use disorders. She utilizes a combination of structural and functional neuroimaging, neurocognitive and neurobehavioral measures, and diagnostic interviewing in her research. Her research and training has been funded by NIH/NIDA, Sigma Theta Tau, and the UF CTSI, as well as through additional grants, fellowships and scholarships" (Faculty Profile)



We are delighted to share the news that Dr. Lauren Hoffman, formally a post-doctoral trainee with Dr. John Kelly (Psychiatry - Harvard), was awarded a K01!

Developing and testing an intervention to enhance recovery capital amid opioid use disorder pharmacotherapy: A pilot randomized trial of assertive linkage to recovery community centers (NIH/NIDA, K01DA055768). This 5-year randomized controlled trial seeks to advance our understanding of the clinical and public health utility of recovery community centers (RCCs) for patients receiving medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) treatment. 


We are also excited to share that Alfredo (Alfie) Sklar, MD, PhD, completed his fellowship at Pittsburg and has accepted a faculty position in the same department. Further, he was recently awarded a K23!

Visual Network Connectivity and Perceptual Modulation in Early Psychosis. (NIH/NIMH, K23MH127389-01A1). The proposed study will examine disruptions in bottom-up perceptual responses emerging from local cortical processes in addition to their modulation by coordinated activity across a distributed attentional network and ascertain the impact of each on clinical outcomes in first-episode psychosis.

Have an affiliate alumni update to share? Please let us know!

Contact Us 


Wei-Hsuan "Jenny" Lo-Ciganic UF Department of Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy

Episode 18 Dr. Wei-Hsuan "Jenny" Lo-Ciganic UF Department of Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy UF CARE Member Wei-Hsuan "Jenny" Lo-Ciganic, Ph.D., M.S., M.S.Pharm. joins podcast host Dr. Oliver Grundmann for our 18th installment of the UF CARE Podcast.


Photo of podcast guest Sabrina Zequeira

UF CARE Podcast Affiliate Episode 18: Sabrina Zequeira, Department of Neuroscience

UF CARE Affiliate Member Sabrina Zequeira joins Affiliate podcast host Victor Schneider for our 18th Affiliate installment of the UF CARE Podcast. Sabrina is a predoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Barry Setlow, PhD.  



Congratulations to the 5 new UF CARE affiliate members!  

We are excited to welcome 5 affiliate members. Those new affiliate members include: Kendall Kristjanson, Sofia Vescovacci, and Taylor Rose Conners, who are undergraduate students working with Dr. Ben Lewis. We also welcome two graduate trainees: Mingxin Yang, working with Dr. Joanna Peris and Motomori Lewis, working with Dr. Jenny Lo-Ciganic.  

If you are a UF CARE faculty member and are working with outstanding trainees in addiction science- click here—to nominate them for membership.



Cottler, L.B. (March 22, 2022). Epidemiologic Methods for Detecting Novel Psychoactive Substances in the U.S. Presented to Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (CCENDU) on behalf of the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) grant. 

Garcia, C.C., Lewis, B., & Nixon, S.J. (April 14, 2022). Alcohol’s Impact on Brain and Behavior. Invited speaker at Miami Dade College, Psychology Student Association (PSA) & Psi Beta Honor Society. Miami Dade College Miami, FL.

Komro, K.A., Kominsky, T.K., Skinner, J.R., Livingston, M.D., Livingston, B.J., LaBounty, H.K., Lincoln, A.N., Barry, C.M., Walker, A.L., Pettigrew, D.W., Merlo, L.J., Cooper, H.L.F., Ivanich, E.A., & Wagenaar, A.C. (April 11-12, 2022). Primary prevention of opioid and other drug misuse among adolescents and young adults in the Cherokee Nation: Study protocol for a cluster-randomized trial. Poster presented at the NIH HEAL Third Annual Investigator Meeting.

Merlo, L.J. (March 2, 2022). The road to recovery from substance use disorders: Lessons from professional health monitoring programs. Grand Rounds presented to the University of North Carolina Department of Anesthesiology. Chapel Hill, NC. Livestreamed online due to COVID-19.

Merlo, L.J. (April 7, 2022). Motivational Interviewing for Professional Health Program Staff. Pre-conference workshop presented at the Federation of State Physician Health Programs Annual Meeting. Workshop presented virtually.

Merlo, L.J., Conwell, T., & Polles, A. (April 27, 2022). Destigmatizing help-seeking, encouraging early identification, and increasing access to effective interventions for medical students with potentially-impairing conditions. Presented at the Federation of State Physician Health Programs Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA.

Polles, A., Merlo, L.J., Hemphill, R., & Hemphill, P. (April 28, 2022). Sexual misconduct: Improving public safety and assisting colleagues. Presented at the Federation of State Physician Health Programs Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA.

Striley, C.W. (May 13, 2022). Learning about Community Health Workers. Invited to present at Community Coalition for Older Americans meeting.

Weinhouse, S., Merlo, L.J., Bundy, C., Bresnahan, L., Staffa, S., Fitzsimons, M., Rockoff, M. Vinson, A. (April 27, 2022). Barriers to recovery for medical professionals: assessing the need and availability of financial support through a survey of physician health programs. Poster presented at the Federation of State Physician Health Programs Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA.


Gebru, N. M., Jones, D. Murphy, J. Joyner, K. (August 2022). A Brief Hypothetical Lottery Task to Assess Resource Allocation towards Alcohol and Cannabis. Invited to present at the 2nd Annual KU Symposium on the Behavioral Economics of Addiction. University of Kansas.

Gebru, N. M., Pritschmann, R., Zhou, Z., Litt, D., Lewis, M. (July 2022). Are Drinking Cognitions Associated with Marijuana and Concurrent Alcohol and Marijuana Use among Adolescents and Young Adults? Invited to present at Research Society for Marijuana conference. Boston, MI.

Leeman, R. F. (June 2022). Symposium presentation entitled “Leveraging Mobile Technology in Alcohol Intervention and Treatment to Increase Accessibility” chaired by Dr. Jenni Teeter. Research Society on Alcoholism Annual Meeting. Orlando, FL. 


(UF CARE Members, Affiliate Members, Alumni, and *State Collaborators in Bold)

Brice-Tutt, A. C., Eans, S. O., Yakovlev, D., Aldrich, J. V., & McLaughlin, J. P. (2022). An analog of [d-Trp]CJ-15,208 exhibits kappa opioid receptor antagonism following oral administration and prevents stress-induced reinstatement of extinguished morphine conditioned place preference. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 173405. Advance online publication.

Carter, T., Heaton, K., Merlo, L.J., Roche, B., & Puga, F. (In press). Relapse prevention and prediction strategies in substance use disorder: A scoping review. Journal of Addictions Nursing.

Costales, B., Vouri, S. M., Brown, J. D., Setlow, B., & Goodin, A. J. (in press). Treatment initiation and utilization patterns of pharmacotherapies for early-onset idiopathic restless legs syndrome. Sleep Medicine.

Fitzgerald, N. D., Liu, Y., Wang, A., Striley, C. W., Knackstedt, L. A., Setlow, B., & Cottler, L. B. (in press). Test-retest reliability of a novel instrument to capture detailed temporal patterns of polysubstance use. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research.

Gebru, N. M., Kalkat, M., Strickland, J. C., Ansell, M., Leeman, R. F., & Berry, M. S. (In press). Measuring Sexual Risk-Taking: A Systematic Review of the Sexual Delay Discounting Task. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 

Striley C.W., Hoeflich C.C., Viegas A.T., Berkowitz L.A., Matthews E.G., Akin L.P., Iheanyi-Okeahialam C., Mansoor U., McCurdy C.R. (2022). Health Effects Associated with Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) and Polysubstance Use: A Narrative Review. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment.  16:1-7.

Vitaliano, G. D., Kim, J. K., Kaufman, M. J., Adam, C. W., Zeballos, G., Shanmugavadivu, A., Subburaju, S., McLaughlin, J. P., Lukas, S. E., & Vitaliano, F. (2022). Clathrin-nanoparticles deliver BDNF to hippocampus and enhance neurogenesis, synaptogenesis and cognition in HIV/neuroAIDS mouse model. Communications biology, 5(1), 236.


Post-Doctoral Fellowship at University of Chicago, Clinical Addictions Research Laboratory

The University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Addictions Research Laboratory (Director: Andrea King, Ph.D.) invites applications for post-doctoral training in clinical addiction science starting August 2022. Funding for one or two positions is provided by NIDA (Integrative Training in the Neurobiology of Addictive Behaviors) and NIGMS (Clinical Therapeutics) T32 training grants. Click here for details. All inquiries should be directed to Andrea C. King, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry (e-mail: