Meet the Team
Edith Vioni Sullivan, Ph.D.
Dr. Sullivan, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, uses multiple neuroimaging modalities and component process analysis of cognitive, sensory, and motor functioning to identify brain structural and functional mechanisms disrupted in diseases affecting the brain. Target conditions include alcohol use disorder (AUD), HIV infection, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and normal development and aging from adolescence to senescence. Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI and fMRI), MR spectroscopy (MRS), and MR diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are acquired in animal models of AUD in parallel with the human studies. Multi-site research projects examine 1) the development of the adolescent brain and neuropsychological function and how initiation of hazardous drinking and consumption of other drugs of abuse alter normal trajectories of brain structure and function (National Consortium on Alcohol and NeuroDevelopment in Adolescence: NCANDA.org); 2) the effects of high alcohol exposure on brain structure and function in animal models; and 3) the use of neuroimaging, neuropsychology, and biomarkers of nutrition in AUD and MCI. With more than 300 peer-reviewed publications in national and international journals, the American Psychological Association, the International Neuropsychological Society, the Research Society on Alcoholism, and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have recognized Dr. Sullivan for her outstanding contributions to the fields of neuropsychology and neuroimaging. This integrated research program provides a rich environment for mentoring promising young investigators, who will be the next generation of scientists dedicated to the field of alcohol and addiction research.
Rosemary Fama, Ph.D.
Dr. Fama, a clinical and research neuropsychologist with a broad background in investigating brain-behavior relations, has special interest in component processes of memory and underlying neural networks. Dr. Fama has made substantial contributions to the investigation of neural correlates of memory impairment including those observed in alcohol-related Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, an amnesia associated with thiamine deficiency in individuals with chronic heavy alcohol consumption, HIV infection, and dementing diseases. Her current research focuses on how cognitive, behavioral, and emotional functioning are affected by chronic heavy drinking in adults and adolescents, how comorbid conditions accelerate disruptive processes, and what neural correlates subserve these functions. Translational goals are to inform treatment and improve quality of life.
Eva M. Müller-Oehring, Dr. rer. nat.
Dr. Muller-Oehring, a neuropsychologist, focuses on relations between brain structure and function using multimodal imaging approaches (e.g., MRI, DTI, resting state MRI, functional MRI) in healthy and disease. Her current work is aimed at a mechanistic understanding of the combined effects of aging and neuroinflammation in HIV on cognition and motor function in comparison with age-related neurodegenerative processes in Parkinson’s disease; neurofunctional mechanisms of automatic attentional bias (toward salient events, emotional and alcohol cues) and negative priming, and their role for relapse and the treatment of alcohol use disorders (AUD); and the effects of age, sex, and alcohol use during adolescence.
Natalie M. Zahr, Ph.D.
Dr. Zahr, a translational neuroscientist, conducts human and rodent studies using in vivo multimodal imaging. As a contrast to healthy control aging, she examines the longitudinal brain dynamics associated with chronic conditions such as alcohol use disorder, HIV infection, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and related comorbidities. She is particularly interested in how peripheral physiological processes affected through the course of disease – including hepatic, nutritional, and neuroimmune pathways – contribute to changes in the central nervous system.
Stephanie Sassoon, Ph.D.
Stephanie Sassoon is a Research Scientist who has been with SRI International since 2001. She completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Drexel University and earned a master’s degree in general psychology at American University. Prior to SRI, she served as a research coordinator for the Genetics of Recurrent Early-Onset Major Depression (GenRED) study at University of Pennsylvania. She has expertise in psychiatric diagnostics, and research interests include mood disorders, trauma, and substance use disorders.