Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Faculty Bios

John Cacciola, PhD, is an adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a Senior Scientist at the Treatment Research Institute (TRI). Within the substance abuse field, his areas of research include diagnostic and psychosocial assessment, treatment outcomes, and co-occurring disorders. Dr. Cacciola has been extensively involved in the ongoing development of the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and the Treatment Services Review (TSR). He has conducted reviews and published empirical work pertinent to assessment, treatment, and treatment outcomes issues for substance abuse clients with different profiles of psychiatric comorbidity.

Anna Rose Childress, PhD, is Research Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Clinical Psychologist in the Drug Dependence Treatment Unit at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. She is Director of the Brain-Behavioral Vulnerabilities Laboratory of the Center for Studies of Addiction, where she has conducted National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded research projects since 1981. Dr. Childress' career-long interest in the brain substrates of pleasure and appetitive motivation emerged during her doctoral training in physiological psychology and psycho-pharmacology at Bryn Mawr College. Her doctoral dissertation mapped brain self-stimulation reward sites which were sensitive to blockade by the opioid anatagonist, naloxone. During her post-doctoral training at Penn, Dr. Childress began to work with humans and attempted to block alcohol euphoria (in Penn students) with naloxone borrowed from Dr. Charles P. O'Brien. Dr. O'Brien introduced her to a natural arena for her research interests in reward and motivation: the clinical problem of addiction. Dr. Childress' research in drug motivation has been widely disseminated. She has authored or co-authored dozens of peer-reviewed research articles and chapters, and is regularly invited to present her work in both national and international (England, Spain, Germany, Canada, France, Mexico) fora. Dr. Childress has often been an invited panelist in NIDA/NIH-sponsored forums on addiction treatment, behavioral strategies, drug craving, animal models of addiction, medications development strategies, and neuroimaging in substance abuse. She has served as a regular and ad-hoc member of NIDA study sections, and currently serves as on the NIDA Board of Scientific Counselors, as a reviewer of the Intramural Research Program at the National Addiction Research Center.  Her current research interests include: imaging of cue-triggered cocaine motivation (GO!) and its modulation ("STOP!") by behavioral or pharmacologic interventions; imaging of limbic activation by "unseen" drug cues; modulation of brain response to cocaine cues by GABAergics; and frontal brain-behavioral deficits as additional risk factors.

Henry R. Kranzler, MDDirector of the Center for Studies of Addiction, received his medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and completed a psychiatric residency and a fellowship in alcohol research at the University of Connecticut Health Center. A clinical addiction psychiatrist for more than 20 years, Dr. Kranzler now devotes his time to research, research administration, and teaching. His research focuses on the genetics and pharmacological treatment of alcohol and drug dependence and common co-morbid psychiatric disorders, as well as studies of the pharmacogenetics of substance dependence.

Dr. Kranzler's research has been continuously supported since 1987 by grants from NIAAA and NIDA. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 journal articles, book chapters, and other publications. He chaired the NIAAA Clinical and Treatment Subcommittee, has been a frequent journal reviewer, and is a member of the editorial boards of six journals (serving as Editor of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research). Dr. Kranzler's contributions to the field of alcohol research include advancing clinical trials methodology as it relates to pharmacological treatment, the identification of interactive effects of serotonergic medications with alcoholism subtypes, the use of a targeted approach to naltrexone treatment of heavy drinkers, the development of long-acting naltrexone as a treatment option, and the effects of topiramate on heavy drinking. In addition, his work has contributed to the identification or characterization of specific genes influencing the risk for dependence on alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and opioids; the potential mechanism of the effects of alcohol through mediators such as neuroactive steroids, and genetic moderators of the response to alcohol treatment, including a recent study showing genetic moderation of topiramate treatment, which supports a novel mechanism for that drug's effect on drinking behavior.

Daniel D. Langleben, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Click this link to view Dr. Langleben's background and publications.

David S. Metzger, PhD, Director of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Division, is Research Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the Principal Investigator for the NIH-funded HIV Prevention and HIV Vaccine Trials Units in Philadelphia, the Chair of the Substance Use Working Group for the HIV Prevention Trial Network, and the Director of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Core of the Penn Center for AIDS Research. Since 1989, he and colleagues from the Center for Studies of Addiction have been conducting AIDS-related longitudinal studies of injection and non-injection drug users. Under his direction, over 3,000 drug-using subjects from Philadelphia have been enrolled in HIV studies known collectively as the Risk Assessment Projects (RAP). Dr. Metzger’s research division has developed innovative community-based strategies for recruiting and retaining individuals at high risk of HIV infection into longitudinal studies. Currently, his work involves testing the safety and efficacy of behavioral and biomedical prevention interventions including vaginal microbicides, HIV vaccines, social networks, and agonist treatment strategies in Philadelphia, Thailand, China, and Ukraine. A primary objective of this work has been to provide valid and reliable data that can increase understanding of the protective effects of participation in substance abuse treatment.

Charles P. O'Brien, MD, PhDVice Chair of Psychiatry, is a native of New Orleans.  He earned MD and PhD degrees from Tulane University.  He received residency training at Harvard, Tulane, University of London, and University of Pennsylvania in internal medicine, neurology and psychiatry.  As Chief of Psychiatry at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, he has been responsible for over 9,000 psychiatric patients.  Despite this large clinical responsibility, he was able to establish and direct a clinical research program that has had a major impact on the treatment of addictive disorders.  His research group has been responsible for numerous discoveries described in over 470 publications that have elucidated basic information on the nature of addiction and improved the results of treatment for addictive disorders.  His work involves discovery of central nervous  system (CNS) changes involved in relapse, new medications, behavioral treatments and instruments for measuring the severity of addictive disorders.  Many of these discoveries are now utilized in common practice for the treatment of addictive disorders throughout the world.  He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1991 and he has received numerous research awards as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Bordeaux in 1994 and the Nathan B. Eddy award for research on addiction from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence in 2003.  He is currently Chair of the American Psychiatric Association DSM-V Committee (2007-12) to revise the classification of substance user disorders.  Dr. O’Brien has been an adviser on drug policy to local and national governments since the 1970s and has chaired or served as member of numerous IOM committees dealing with the science and policy matters of abused drugs.  Dr. O’Brien is past president of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease.  Currently he is Kenneth Appel Professor, Vice Director of the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, and Director of the Center for Studies of Addiction.  At the VA Medical Center, he continues as Director of Research for the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center.

David W. Oslin, MD is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Oslin is the Division Director of the VISN 4 Mental Illness, Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) and the Chief of Behavioral Health at the Philadelphia VAMC. The MIRECC and Behavioral Health Laboratory support research on personalized health care, and facilitate a number of research projects for post-doctoral fellows and faculty. Dr. Oslin is the author of over 150 research publications and 31 chapters, books, or editorials. Dr. Oslin’s research portfolio includes studies aimed to improve access to behavioral health treatment, improving treatment outcomes for addictive disorders, and the study of pharmacogenetics.


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