Personnel & Staff

Directors and Investigators

Scott Lukas, Ph.D.

Director, Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory
Director, McLean Imaging Center
Research Director, McLean Sleep Diagnostic and Treatment Laboratory

Scott E. Lukas received his PhD in pharmacology and toxicology in 1979 from the University of Maryland. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, he joined NIDA Addiction Research Center for 18 months before moving to McLean in 1984. Promoted to professor in 2003, Dr. Lukas directs the McLean Imaging Center, the Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory, and a NIDA T32 Post-Doctoral Training Program. He chaired NIDA-K study section for 10 years, was president of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and has won numerous mentoring awards.

John Rodolico, Ph.D.

John Rodolico, PhD, is committed to using evidence-based treatments to help people with substance use disorders across the life span and his experience working with adolescent addictions spans over 30 years. His main area of research is motivational psychology and evidence-based treatments for co-occurring disorders. Dr. Rodolico also has an extensive teaching history over the past two decades, supervising clinical psychology interns, post-doctoral fellows, and child and adolescent psychiatry fellows. He has given numerous presentations, group consultations, and trainings on substance use disorders, motivational interviewing, and suicide prevention with military personnel.

Gordana Vitaliano, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Brain Imaging Nanotechnology Group
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Study Physician

Gordana D. Vitaliano, MD, PhD, is the director of the Brain Imaging Nanotechnology Group, a psychiatrist in the Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory, and the medical director of the Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program at McLean Hospital. Dr. Vitaliano’s research is focused on designing nanotechnology, biomolecular nanorobots, nanolasers, biosensors, molecular imaging tools, and drug delivery systems that can efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier, and diagnose and treat neuropsychiatric disorders better than existing biotechnologies. Her clinical and research work has led to grant funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, NARSAD, the Sidney R. Baer Jr. and Taplin Foundations, and four issued and 12 pending patents.

Jing Liu, PhD

Jing Liu, PhD, received his PhD degree in medicinal chemistry from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in China. He has accumulated over 12 years of research experience in medicinal chemistry, especially in drug research and development. Dr. Liu has been a post-doctoral fellow at McLean Hospital since he joined the Bio-Organic and Natural Products Research Laboratory in 2012. He has served as a key investigator in the study of alternative therapies for cocaine addiction. His responsibilities include total synthesis of metabolites of L-THP and design of new derivatives of L-THP.

Wendy Tartarini, M.A

Senior Research Coordinator
Clinical Director of the Sleep Diagnostic and Treatment Laboratory

Collaborating Researchers

McLean Sleep Diagnostic and Treatment Laboratory

Directors: Scott E. Lukas, Ph.D. & Wendy Tartarini, M.A.

A two-bed sleep research lab is located on the ground floor of the McLean Imaging Center. A central control room houses the computerized polysomnographic computer systems that includes one Alice® IV, one Alice® V and one Somnologica tower systems. In addition, we have four home monitoring sleep systems including two Alice® PDX Portable Sleep Diagnostic Systems and SOMNtouch RESP and SOMNOscreen plus PSG + Tele from SOMNOmedics. These systems allow use to conduct remote monitored sleep studies either for diagnostic purposes or for research. All computers are networked and data can be converted and transferred to either machine on the network. A participant preparation room is located down the hall. Both bedrooms are equipped with bed, dresser, desk, and TV, and the room is decorated to resemble a home-like setting. Both have an infrared lighting system and a low light CCD camera in order to maintain visual contact with the participants while sleeping, and a two-way intercom provides audio contact. All electrodes, belts, transducers, and sensors are available to record a full sleep montage and all cardiac and respiratory measures including EKG, oral/nasal flow, nasal pressure, thoracic effort, abdominal effort and oxygen saturation.

Diego A. Pizzagalli, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress
Director, McLean Imaging Center

 Diego A. Pizzagalli, PhD, is founding director of the Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research, director of the McLean Imaging Center, director of the Laboratory for Translational and Affective Neuroscience, and director of research for the Center of Excellence in Depression and Anxiety Disorders at McLean Hospital, and is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is an internationally known expert on the neurobiology of depression, and has made major contributions toward the identification of biomarkers of depression and treatment response.

Stephen J. Kohut, Ph.D.

Director, Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroimaging

Stephen J. Kohut, PhD, focuses his research primarily on two main interacting lines of investigation: understanding how alterations in underlying neurobiology alter behavioral responses to drugs, especially stimulants and opioids, and medications discovery for drug abuse and addiction. Dr. Kohut’s current research, funded by several awards from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, combines behavioral pharmacology with cutting-edge neuroimaging methodologies to understand the neural consequences of drug-taking behavior and the extent to which they can be mitigated by behavioral and pharmacological interventions.

Blaise deB. Frederick, Ph.D.

Director, Opto-Magnetic Group

Blaise deB. Frederick, PhD, is an associate professor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an associate biophysicist at McLean Hospital. He is also director of the Technical and Instrumentation Core at the McLean Imaging Center. He received a BS in physics from Yale University and a PhD in biophysics from the University of California at Berkeley. His training is in MR physics and his PhD thesis is entitled “Three Dimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging of Sodium Ions Using Stochastic Excitation and Oscillating Gradients.”

Staci Gruber, Ph.D.

Director, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core

Staci Gruber, PhD, is the director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core and director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) program at McLean Hospital. She is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the application of neurocognitive models and neuroimaging to better characterize risk factors for substance misuse and psychiatric conditions.

Amy C. Janes, Ph.D.

Chief, Cognitive and Pharmacological Neuroimaging Unit 

Amy C. Janes, PhD, serves as Chief of the Cognitive and Pharmacological Neuroimaging Unit at the NIDA-IRP. She also currently serves as the President-Elect for the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and is a Tenure-Track Investigator at the NIDA-IRP.  While she began her research career studying addiction in preclinical models, her current NIH-funded research uses clinical neuroimaging to clarify how individual differences in brain function, chemistry, and structure influence drug use and relapse. She also uses these tools to clarify links between drug use and psychopathology, with the goal of using neuroscience to inform personalized treatment development.

Research Fellows

Dr. Diana Keith, Ph.D

Coming Soon!

Dr. Sarah Bricault, Ph.D

Coming Soon!

NIDA T32 Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Christopher Medina-Kirchner, Ph.D

You can get to know them shortly. 

Dr. Kelly Sagar, Ph.D

You can get to know them shortly.

Clinical Research Assistants & Technologists

Emma Carrigan, B.S.

Clinical Research Assistant II

Mia Brousseau, M.S.

Clinical Research Assistant II 

Sharon Heffernan, PSG, T. RST

Senior Chief Polysomnographic Technologist
Sleep & Research Lab, McLean Hospital

BPRL Alumni

Sam Kalmar, B.S.

Previous Position: Senior Clinical Research Assistant for the BPRL (2022-2024)

Current Position: Graduate Student at Virignia Tech – PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (2024-2029)