Alcohol Research Training Program
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Graduate School of  Public Health

Program Director: Marie D. Cornelius, Ph.D.
Program Co-Director: Nancy L. Day, Ph.D.


Program Description Program Faculty Research Interests Current Students Seminars Application Procedures Links Contact Information


Program Directors

Marie D. Cornelius, Ph.D., Program Director and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology. Dr. Cornelius is an Epidemiologist and Senior Investigator at the Maternal Health and Child Development (MHPCD) project. She has studied alcohol and other substance use among teenagers and pregnant women for over 25 years. Her current study cohort was selected from pregnant teenagers who have been followed with their children for over 15 years. She is examining the long-term effects of prenatal and postnatal substance exposure, including tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana, on offspring development. She has been the training director since 2002.

Nancy Day, M.P.H., Ph.D., Co-Program Director and Professor of Psychiatry, Epidemiology and Pediatrics. Dr. Nancy Day is a national expert on research on the long-term effects of fetal alcohol exposure and has published extensively. Dr. Day’s research is on the long-term effects of fetal exposure to teratogens on the long-term development of the exposed children. Dr. Day developed and directs the MHPCD project. This program of research combines five studies focused on maternal substance use and child development. Dr. Day is the Director of the Program in Psychiatric Epidemiology and the Program in Drug and Alcohol Epidemiology.


The combined faculties of the Schools of Health Sciences, and the Arts and Sciences of the University of Pittsburgh are unique in the breadth and quality of opportunities for training. From this group, 30 faculty members were selected for the Training Program. These faculty: (1) have the requisite experience as researchers and as teachers to serve as mentors, (2) are involved in research on or related to alcohol use and abuse, (3) complement one another in their training, and (4) provide role models to the students for research both within their specialty areas and across disciplines.

Core Faculty

  1. Oscar Bukstein, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Dr. Bukstein is the Medical Director of the Child and Adolescent Chronic Treatment and Intervention Service of Allegheny County, PA, which includes the city of Pittsburgh as well as the Medical Director of the Child and Parent Behavior Clinic Outpatient and Partial Hospitalization Programs at WPIC. Dr. Bukstein is conducting a Pilot Project entitled “Development of Alcohol Abuse in Adolescents and Preadolescents with Early Age Onset Conduct Disorder”. He is involved in a study entitled “Long-Term Functioning and Alcohol Treatment, and Lapse and Relapse in Adolescents”. Dr. Bukstein currently conducts two clinical trials of pharmacological agents and psychosocial interventions in patients with comorbid psychiatric and substance use disorders.

  2. Tammy Chung, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology. Dr. Chung's research interests include the classification and longitudinal course of adolescent-onset substance-related problems. NIAAA-funded research projects include improving the assessment of substance abuse and dependence in youth and examining predictors of change in the clinical course among adolescents who have been treated for substance-related problems. She is Co-Investigator on a NIDA-funded longitudinal study of four cohorts (Pittsburgh Girls Study) that is investigating developmental precursors to girls’ substance use. She has special interest in using novel statistical methods (e.g., latent transition analysis, item response theory) to study the classification and course of substance use and related problems in youth. Dr. Chung teaches the course on methodological and assessment issues in psychiatric epidemiology, which addresses reliable and valid measurement of alcohol use disorders.

  3. Duncan Clark, PhD, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Clark conducts studies on etiology, characteristics, course, treatment and outcomes of adolescent substance use disorders through the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research (CEDAR) and the Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center (PAARC). Dr. Clark served as PAARC PI and Director. This program is currently funded by NIAAA and NIDA though four R01s, an R21, and five K awards to PAARC faculty. He is also supported by an NIAAA K02. His program of research applies an integrated array of scientific methods for determining the causal relation among alcohol use and other mental disorders during adolescence. These methods include advanced statistical modeling techniques for longitudinal data, molecular genetics, and neuroimaging studies. Dr. Clark’s work combines the basic and clinical sciences as he was recently funded by NIAAA to examine frontal white matter organization using diffusion tensor imaging as it relates to executive functioning in adolescent alcohol use.

  4. Jack R. Cornelius, MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Cornelius is board certified in Psychiatry and in Addiction Medicine. He received an MPH degree in Epidemiology at the GSPH at the University of Pittsburgh in conjunction with the completion of two postdoctoral fellowships sponsored by NIAAA and NIMH. He has 25 years of clinical experience in evaluating and treating patients with psychiatric conditions and alcohol use disorders. He is the PI on two current NIAAA R01 grants, the PI of a NIAAA K award, the PI of a current NIDA R01 grant, the Scientific Director of a VA Center grant, the Co-Scientific Director of the Pittsburgh node of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network, and the Director of the Clinical Core of the CEDAR center grant. He has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles and 12 book chapters. He serves on NIAAA and NIDA IRG’s and reviews grants for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

  5. John Donovan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology. Dr. Donovan is well known for his work on problem behavior in adolescence, including problem drinking, illicit drug use, delinquency, and sexual behavior. His current NIAAA-funded research is on the development of risk factors for drinking and of initiation and escalation of drinking from middle childhood through middle adolescence. He was Scientific Director of the PAARC and has been the recipient of a Research Scientist Development Award (K02) from NIAAA. He is currently on the Steering Committee for NIAAA’s Underage Drinking Initiative, and chaired the epidemiology and prevention grant review committee for NIAAA. He has collected data on eight large-scale population samples of adolescents and young adults, four of which are longitudinal, two of which are national samples.

  6. Cynthia Larkby, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology. Dr. Larkby’s research focuses on the relations among childhood abuse, environmental factors, posttraumatic stress disorder, and subsequent alcohol use and problem drinking. Her study is one of the five studies in the MHPCD project. Dr. Larkby works closely with Drs. Cornelius, Day, and Richardson and provides expertise in areas of depression, PTSD, and child growth factors. In addition, Dr. Larkby was a co-investigator on an intervention study of pregnant women to prevent prenatal alcohol use. She worked with Dr. Kevin Kraemer on this study. Her research examines the relationship of lifetime and current exposure to childhood physical and sexual maltreatment and other traumatic events to alcohol and other substance use.

  7. Brooke Molina, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology. Dr. Molina’s research activities are in the areas of drug and alcohol abuse and disruptive behavior disorders with an emphasis on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a risk factor. She is funded by NIAAA and NIDA to study the link between ADHD, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse in a longitudinal study of children. She is a PI on the NIMH-sponsored multi-site study of the children who were in the Multimodal Treatment of ADHD project. She collaborates with Dr. Donovan to study peer- and family-based predictors of early alcohol use. Across these studies, specific areas of inquiry are the extent of ADHD risk for drug and alcohol abuse, the mechanisms that may explain this risk and methodological factors that may affect the expression of risk.

  8. Gale A. Richardson, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology. Dr. Richardson is trained as a Life-Span Developmental Psychologist. She is a senior investigator in the MHPCD Project. She is the PI of a study of the long-term effects of cocaine use during pregnancy. She is also a Co-Investigator of studies of prenatal alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco exposures. Dr. Richardson is the Director of the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training program and also teaches a course on the Epidemiology of Child Psychiatric Disorders, which is part of the curriculum available to all trainees.

  9. Ralph Tarter, PhD, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Psychiatry, and Psychology. Dr. Tarter is the PI of the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research (CEDAR). This P-50 center grant is a longitudinal family-based study aimed at determining the etiological mechanisms and pathways to a drug use disorder with or without alcohol use disorder. Dr. Tarter's research focuses on the neurobehavioral risk factors associated with the risk for alcoholism and other substance dependence. Dr. Tarter is a neuropsychologist and is well known for his studies of the effects of alcohol use on neurocognitive processes and the neurodevelopmental antecedents of substance abuse.

  10. Jennifer Willford, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology. Dr. Willford's research focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the effects of prenatal substance exposure on cognitive development. She is the PI of a study using fMRI to elucidate the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on response inhibition and cognitive control in young adults. Her areas of expertise include neuroimaging, cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychological testing, and behavioral teratology. Dr. Willford coordinates the weekly seminar on research methodology and statistics for all trainees. 

Ancillary Faculty

  1. Susan Albrecht, PhD, Associate Dean of Nursing and Student Services. Dr. Albrecht has a large study on smoking and alcohol cessation among pregnant teenagers and prevention of smoking relapse in the postpartum period.  Dr. Albrecht acts as a liaison between the Nursing School and the Alcohol Training Program for potential doctoral graduates in the Nursing department who would like to pursue postgraduate research careers on alcohol-related diseases.

  2. David Brent, MD, MSHyg, Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology and Chief, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Brent has developed a program of research on the epidemiology of suicide which is funded by NIMH. Specific projects include a study of the role of alcohol in suicidality, a study of the role of drinking in the use of firearms and firearm suicides, a family genetic study, an epidemiologic investigation of the psychiatric effects of exposure to suicide on family and friends of suicide victims, and a clinical trial of the efficacy of short-term psychotherapy for depressed adolescents who have attempted suicide. Dr. Brent is the Program Director of a NIMH Clinical Research training grant.

  3. Robert L. Cook, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine and Behavioral and Community Health Sciences.  Dr. Cook’s research interest is the relationship of alcohol consumption to HIV and sexually transmitted disease (STD) outcomes in high-risk populations. He was the PI on a K23 award from NIAAA, which evaluated the relationship of alcohol use disorders and STD’s among high-risk young persons. He is also a Co-investigator evaluating the relationship of alcohol consumption to health behaviors and outcomes in three longitudinal cohort studies involving populations of HIV-positive persons:  the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study; the Womens Interagency HIV Study, and the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. His most recent research involves computer-based interventions targeting alcohol consumption in high-risk youth and HIV-positive persons.

  4. Richard Day, PhD, Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. Dr. R. Day is trained in Anthropology and Biostatistics. He has conducted research in bridging the molecular with the psychosocial aspects of disease. He was recently funded to continue research in the area of quality of life among breast cancer patients and is examining the role between depression and tamoxifen use. Dr. R. Day is an advisor for students providing them with statistical consultation. He has been a faculty presenter for several of the weekly seminar sessions for pre and postdoctoral fellows and training faculty, offering mini workshops on analyzing data using SPSS for Windows, and applications of EQS and LISREL for Structural Equation Modeling. He works extensively with HSRA-funded HIV/AIDS education and training programs in the Mid-Atlantic area.

  5. Bernard Devlin, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Genetics and Epidemiology. Dr. Devlin’s research focus is the genetic epidemiology of complex disorders. He adapts existing statistical methods to determine the genetic mechanisms underlying human disorders and applies such methods to assess the genetic basis of particular disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, anorexia nervosa, and substance use liability. He has lectured at the weekly doctoral seminars.

  6. Andrea DiMartini, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Dr. DiMartini is a psychiatrist evaluating, treating, and following patients with alcohol abuse and dependence who are pursuing liver transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The University’s transplant program is one of the largest in the US. Dr. DiMartini has evaluated over 500 patients. Dr. DiMartini’s research is designed to identify and explain the factors that shape alcohol use and its consequences in this population. Dr. DiMartini is conducting a prospective longitudinal study of alcohol use following liver transplantation, while investigating pre-transplant and post-transplant factors hypothesized to influence the return to drinking.

  7. Gretchen Haas, PhD. Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Dr. Haas conducts research with schizophrenic populations. She has focused on the relation between gender and outcome, on neuropsychological functioning, and on the effects of alcohol abuse in schizophrenic patients. As Co-Director of the VA Regional Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), located in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, she has conducted research on alcohol use, common among veterans with schizophrenia. As Co-Investigator of the Services Core in the Center for the Neuroscience of Mental Disorders, she is involved with a translational research center investigating the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. She is training director for “Recruitment of Undergraduates for Mental Health Research”.

  8. Kevin L. Kraemer, M.D., M.Sc., Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the General Internal Medicine Fellowship Program. Dr. Kraemer is a general internist with a special interest in clinical trials of behavioral interventions to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, the impact of alcohol use on health outcomes in HIV-infected patients, the epidemiology of alcohol and cardiovascular outcomes in diverse populations, and the application of cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses to substance abuse prevention and treatment services. He is currently PI on grants from NIAAA and NIDA on issues of utility and quality of life measurement for alcohol and drug problems, Pittsburgh site PI of the multi-site NIAAA-supported Veterans Aging Cohort Study of 6000 veterans with and without HIV infection, and Co-investigator of the NIAAA-supported Across the Spectrum of Alcohol Problems, a randomized-controlled trial of behavioral interventions for alcohol use.

  9. Rolf Loeber, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Epidemiology. Dr. Loeber's research focuses on the development of psychopathology and deviance in children. He is the PI of a collaborative study on the progres­sion of antisocial and delin­quent and substance use behavior (Pittsburgh Youth Study) and is also PI of a parallel longitudinal epidemiologic cohort study of girls (Pittsburgh Girls Study). In other research, Dr. Loeber is examining the associa­tion between hyperactivity and the development of conduct disorder and delinquent behavior in a clinical sample of children. Dr. Loeber co-teaches the Child Psychiatric Epidemiology course with Dr. Richardson.

  10. Christopher Martin, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology. Dr. Martin’s research focuses on the assessment, diagnosis and clinical course of adolescent-onset alcohol and substance use disorders. He is the Director of the NIAAA project “Nosology of Adolescent Alcohol Use Disorders”, and is the recipient of an NIAAA Independent Scientist Award that supports skill development in advanced quantitative techniques in longitudinal latent variable modeling and phenotyping alcohol use disorders. He has been a member of NIAAA’s underage drinking initiative as well as a workgroup on diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorders among youth.

  11. Ada Mezzich, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Science and Psychiatry. Dr. Mezzich has a career commitment to research on the etiology, course and transmission of substance use disorders in female adolescents. She is studying the cognitive, behavioral and affective dysregulation and child neglect risk factors of early onset substance use disorders. She is the PI of a NIDA-funded grant entitled “Female Adolescent Drug Abuse: Biobehavioral Development”. She is also the PI of a grant entitled “Impact of Child Neglect on Substance Abuse Families”. Dr. Mezzich’s K02 award examines behavioral dysregulation as a liability to drug abuse. She is also the Co-PI of the CEDAR center grant.

  12. Roberta Ness, MD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology, Medicine, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Ness is Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health; Chair, Department of Epidemiology; and Director of the Women's Health Program. Currently, Dr. Ness is examining the hypothesis that pelvic inflammation is involved in the genesis of ovarian cancer in NIH and DOD grants. In an ongoing NIH-funded Program Project, she is exploring pregnancy history as a barometer for later risk of cardiovascular disease. Finally, Dr. Ness conducts two cohort studies and a clinical trial assessing vaginal microflora, sexually transmitted infections, and pelvic inflammatory disease. She teaches Reproductive Epidemiology and Epidemiology of Women’s Health.

  13. Kenneth Perkins, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Epidemiology, and Psychology. Dr. Perkins has examined the separate and combined effects of nicotine and alcohol administration on mood and cardiovascular responses. He has also assessed the relations between smoking increases and the reinforcing contribution of alcohol consumption. Dr. Perkins is currently examining whether alcohol reinforcement alters the discriminative stimulus effects of nicotine. Because smoking behavior is reliably increased following alcohol intake, he is investigating whether this increase in nicotine self-administration via smoking may be related to a change in nicotine metabolism due to alcohol intake. Dr. Perkins is the Course Director for the Behavioral Medicine curriculum in the Medical School and teaches the Behavioral Psychopharmacology course that is offered through the University of Pittsburgh.

  14. Christopher Ryan, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Health and Community Systems. Dr. Ryan has conducted research on the cognitive and neuropsychological effects of alcoholism. He has also done intervention research on the linkage of HIV and alcohol use among gay men. Dr. Ryan is the Director of the Central Neurobehavioral Coding Unit of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. He has published extensively in the area of neuropsychological effects of diabetes. Dr. Ryan is a co-investigator on several of the MHPCD studies that examine the long-term effects of prenatal alcohol and other substance exposures on offspring. Dr. Ryan provides consultation on the interpretation of the neuropsychological assessments. Dr. Ryan is also the Director of the University of Pittsburgh IRB and provides consultation in this area for IRB submissions from trainees.

  15. Ihsan Salloum, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Dr. Salloum is the Director of Research and Training of the Addiction Medicine Services and the Medical Director of the Drug and Alcohol Services and Center for Psychiatric and Chemical Dependency Services at WPIC. His research interests focus on the pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatment of alcohol dependence with comorbid mood disorders as well as pharmacological treatment of alcohol dependence and cocaine dependence. Dr. Salloum has collaborated with Dr. J. Cornelius.

  16. Michael Sayette, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology. Dr. Sayette studies the psychological factors that affect addictive behaviors. These factors, drawn from the experimental psychological literature, are cognitive, biopsychosocial and social. His major research interests are the relationship between alcohol and stress, and the role of drug use in relapse, with an emphasis on validating the urge construct. His current research examines the impact of a family history of alcoholism on stress-response dampening, and the effects of alcohol consumption on tobacco craving. Dr. Sayette teaches the course: “Addictive Disorders: Alcohol Use and Abuse.”

  17. Saul Shiffman, PhD, Research Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Shiffman is director of the Smoking Research Group. Dr. Shiffman’s research examines addictive behaviors with a focus on cigarette smoking and nicotine addiction. Dr. Shiffman served on research advisory panels for the American Cancer Society and NIDA. He has also been a contributor and reviewer for several editions of the United States Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health. Dr. Shiffman has worked closely with other faculty at the Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Use Research Center developing questionnaires dealing with tobacco and alcohol use among adolescents and young adults.

  18. Michael Vanyukov, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Vanyukov  is the Scientific Director of CEDAR. His research focuses on the genetic etiology of substance abuse vulnerability. Dr. Vanyukov collaborates with other training grant faculty including Drs. J. Cornelius, Devlin, Mezzich, Tarter, and Clark.  He was recently funded by NIDA to examine the role of a large set of genes which comprehensively represent the neurobiological systems involved in drug-related processes in the risk for substance use disorders (SUD).