TTPAS Trainees


Sae Me pic 9.12.14

Sae-Mi Jeon is a doctoral student at the Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) whose research interests include substance abuse and dependence prevention, focusing on adolescents and young adults.  She is also interested in mental health issues and treatment, particularly related to ADHD, which is highly cormorbid with substance use issues.  As part of the TTPAS program she has had an opportunity to work with advisors from the School of Social Work and Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.  In addition to the doctoral program, Sae-Mi is enrolled in the clinical MSW program at the BUSSW.  Apart from academia, she enjoys leisure running, stand-up comedy,and non-academic reading.
The TTPAS clinical module provided an opportunity to learn about addiction treatment and prevention in several different settings.  Fellows were given an opportunity to shadow and engage with addictions specialists at the Boston Medical Center, including physicians, nurses, and a counselor, as they worked with numerous patients struggling with substance use and related issues.  The experience offered a well-rounded foundation for better understanding the various elements that may be involved in addiction treatment within the community.

Catherine Moorev 9.18.14 (3)

Cassie Moore
is part of the Ph.D. Graduate Program for Neuroscience/ Biomedical Pharmacology. Her TTPAS advisor is Pietro Cottone, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Pharmacology and Psychiatry. Cassie is interested in studying the neurobiological substrates of addiction and motivated behaviors, such as compulsive eating and palatable food dependence.




Emily Oot master

Oot is a student in the Behavioral Neuroscience Ph.D. program. She spent two years working in translational addiction research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism before joining the Boston University Graduate Medical Sciences community. Her research interests focus on impulsivity and deficits in self-regulation as they relate to the development and maintenance of addictive disorders.



Kelli Tahaney.jpg 9.11.14Kelli Tahaney is a student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, where she works in the Addictive Behaviors Laboratory under Dr. Tibor Palfai. She is interested in understanding the cognitive processes involved in the development, maintenance, and treatment of addictive behaviors, particularly the interplay of implicit and explicit processes and the role of executive functioning. Other areas of interest include evaluating mechanisms of effective treatment and prevention efforts for substance use—more specifically, the utility of web-based and cognitive training interventions.


Benjamin T. student

Benjamin Thompson is a doctoral student in the Behavioral Neuroscience program within BU’s Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GMS). Ben brings a unique interdisciplinary background to TTPAS, as he has explored the phenomenon of addiction through a variety of academic contexts, including philosophical and religious studies. Prior to joining the GMS community, he directed treatment programs within correctional facilities for drug addicted inmates. His primary research interests are the neurobiological mechanisms of addiction and recovery. He is currently working in collaboration with Dr. Marlene Oscar-Berman, of BU’s Laboratory of Neuropsychology at the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital, as well as Dr. John Kelly, of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Addiction Medicine.


Trina Johnson student 2016

Trina Johnson is a doctoral student in the Health Services Research program within BU’s School of Public Health. Before coming to BU, Trina provided mental health services to dual diagnosis clients in San Francisco, and provided clinical services to clients at risk for viral hepatitis. She also completed her thesis work on the interplay between NK cell receptors and T cell modulation during viral pathogenesis. Trina’s research interests include the utilization of mental health services and its association with the prevalence of substance use disorders and the incidence of Hepatitis C and HIV.


Q, Ruan student 2016

Ruan is part of the Ph.D. Biomolecular Pharmacology program and her advisor is Camron D. Bryant, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry. Qiu’s work is focused on understanding the neurobiological mechanism of the RNA binding protein, hnRNPH1 underlying addictive drug behavior in mouse models.



Jiayi Wu student 2016

 Jiayi Wu is in the Genetics and Genomic Ph.D program under the program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS). Jiayi has two co-mentors in TTPAS program; she is primarily working in the lab of Dr. Lindsay A. Farrer, Chief of Biomedical Genetics, to study the risk variants contributing to substance abuse in human population, where she uses GWAS to compute risk alleles on human SNP data. She is also working with Camron D. Bryant, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, to analyze differential gene expression in addiction/binge eating behavior related mice, in addition, she is applying gene network analysis on addiction/binge eating trait to find the key genetic players that might influence the addiction behavior. She enjoys cooking, running and traveling in her free time.


J Beierle Photo

Jacob Beierle is a second year Ph.D. graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Theraputics. Jacob graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in neuroscience in 2014 and during his time there, researched in the laboratory of Dr. William Falls investigating the relationship between anxiety, exercise, and the HPA axis. After graduation, Jacob became a member of Dr. Shanjana Awasthi’s lab at the University of Oklahoma, investigating the effect of a novel peptide on lung inflammation and bacterial infection. Now under the metorship of Dr. Camron Bryant, Jacob works within the Laboratory of Addiction Genetics, taking an interest in genetic factors underlying differences in behavioral responses to opioid use.


Kelly Sagar

Kelly Sagar a first year student in the Behavioral Neuroscience PhD program. Prior to joining the program she worked as a school psychologist in the Boston area and as a Research Associate at McLean Hospital’s Neuroimaging Center. While at McLean, she has been involved in projects that utilized multimodal neuroimaging, neuropsychological, clinical and diagnostic assessments in various populations including patients with bipolar disorder, adolescents with psychiatric conditions and substance use disorders. In recent years, her work at McLean has focused on clarifying the neurobiologic impact of both recreational and medical marijuana use. At BU, Kelly is currently working with Dr. Ron Killiany in order to expand her skills related to acquisition and processing of neuroimaging data.


Sema Q. pic
Quadir is a doctoral student in the Biomolecular Pharmacology program, working under Dr. Valentina Sabino in the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders. She is interested in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying alcohol and under drugs of abuse.





“Scientific Discussion Among TTPAS Members Over a Meal at the RSA Conference”

Conf pics Rich and student

Dr. Richard Saitz (TTPAS Co-Director) and Emily Oot (TTPAS Trainee)


Conf pics Ritch and students master

                                              TTPAS Trainees: Emily Oot and Kelli Tahaney