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Research Labs

The Global Mental Health & Addiction Program

The Global Mental Health & Addiction Program at the University of Maryland aims to increase access to evidence-based substance use treatment in resource-limited clinical settings. We focus on questions central to global mental health and substance use treatment, including evaluating how evidence-based interventions can be feasibly delivered using task-sharing models and integrated into community-based clinical settings. We have active research projects in Cape Town, South Africa and locally in Baltimore, MD aiming to evaluate the effectiveness and implementation of peer-delivered, evidence-based interventions integrated into medical settings. We examine treatment models that aim to improve not only substance use outcomes but also the outcomes of prevalent physical and mental health comorbidities, including depression and HIV/AIDS. The lab has collaborative relationships with researchers at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, with funding support from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the University of Maryland. Our team ultimately aims to foster bidirectional learning between ongoing research in sub-Saharan Africa and local collaborations to support the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based substance use interventions.
Director: Jessica Magidson

Maryland Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Program

In the Maryland Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Program, we examine early risk and protective factors for individuals with ADHD across the lifespan, and we use what we learn to develop and test novel treatments for children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD. Current projects include (1) Treating Parents with ADHD and their Children (TPAC), a hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial in which we are screening for parent ADHD in Washington DC pediatric primary care offices and train co-located psychologists to provide behavioral parent training via telehealth, either with or without parent ADHD medication; (2) Behaviorally Enhancing Adolescents' Mood in Schools (BEAMS), a hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial in which we are developing and testing a depression and suicide prevention program for teens with ADHD, as delivered by school mental health providers in the Baltimore City high schools; (3) The Turtle Project, a large-scale trial of a parent-child intervention for families of inhibited preschool-aged children; and (4) the development and evaluation of a brief motivational interviewing – behavioral activation program for college students with ADHD engaging in problem drinking. The Maryland ADHD Program also houses the UMD SUCCEEDS College ADHD Clinic.
Director: Andrea Chronis-Tuscano
Assistant Director: Christina Danko

Comprehensive Assessment and Intervention Program (CAIP)

Research conducted at the Comprehensive Assessment and Intervention Program (CAIP) Lab broadly seeks to develop, test, and understand comprehensive measurement protocols of normative and abnormal behavior and the inconsistent pieces of evidence that often arise under such protocols. Human behavior, even specific expressions of it (anxiety, aggression, mood, parenting, stress, pain) cannot be captured or quantified with a single number.  This reality requires broad measurement approaches that aim to capture numerical expressions of specific constructs using multiple measurement methods (e.g., structured interviews, questionnaires, laboratory observations, physiology, and genotyping) and information sources (e.g., self-report, significant others like parents and spouses, teachers, official records, biological indices). However, consistent research has identified large discrepancies across pieces of information derived from multiple measurements of the same behavior. When measurement inconsistencies arise, CAIP Lab research examines whether these inconsistencies reveal meaningful information about the behaviors being assessed.  For example, do parent and teacher rating discrepancies of childhood disruptive behavior problems signify that children differ in whether they are primarily disruptive at home, school, or both situations? Guided by theoretical frameworks published in the Psychological Bulletin (2005), Psychological Review(2006), and Annual Review of Clinical Psychology (2013), the CAIP Lab conducts empirical research with the goal of providing guidance to researchers and practitioners on how to use inconsistencies in child and adolescent mental health assessments as key tools for understanding the etiology, classification, and treatment of child and adolescent mental health.  
Director: Andres De Los Reyes.

Big Emotions Across Development (BEAD) Lab

In the Big Emotions Lab, we examine the phenomenology, etiology and course of internalizing psychopathology from a developmental, lifespan perspective. Current projects include 1) investigating the phenomenology, etiology, pathophysiology, course, and measurement of youth irritability and mood dysregulation; 2) identifying neural and environmental mechanisms by which children persist vs. remist in irritability from early childhood into middle childhood and across the transition to adolescence; 3) examining how environmental factors (from the familial context, socioeconomic adversity, to pollution and climate change) shape children's brain development and risk for psychopathology; 4) characterizing internalizing problems in early childhood, and 5) investigating mental health disparities in LGBTQ+ youth and developing interventions to address the disparity.
Director: Lea Rose Dougherty

Laboratory of Emotion and Psychopathology (LEAP)

Dr. Blanchard directs the lab with the goal of conducting research to better understand how emotion, behavior, and social relations interact to influence the development and maintenance of symptoms in psychotic disorders.  The lab studies deficits in motivation and pleasure and related impairments in social affiliation as well as paranoia and the experience of threat in social environments.  LEAP utilizes multiple methods to better understand the diverse factors that contribute to clinical symptoms and social impairment.  Current research employs clinical interviews, behavioral assessments, cognitive testing, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) with smartphones, 24-hour actigraphy to track behavior and sleep, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).  LEAP's research is funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  LEAP benefits from access to culturally, racially, and economically diverse communities in the DC-Baltimore metropolitan corridor.  Typically over 80% of our clinical research participants are from racial minority groups.  This ensures that our work is relevant to populations that are typically underrepresented in clinical research.
Director: Jack Blanchard

Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (CCNLab)

Research at CCNLab broadly focuses on brain mechanisms underlying cognitive and affective processes using neuroimaging techniques. Current approaches involve advanced time-frequency decomposition and functional connectivity measures. This work involves basic science investigation as well as assessing brain dysfunction in internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. An important recent focus is on how clinical intervention can modulate functional brain systems. Methodological approaches include EEG/ERP and simultaneous EEG/fMRI recordings.
Director: Ed Bernat

Affective & Translational Neuroscience Laboratory  (ATNL)

The broad aim of Dr. Shackman’s multi-disciplinary research program is to understand the mechanisms that contribute to the development of anxiety and mood disorders. Research is focused on identifying the neural basis of individual differences in anxious temperament, behavioral inhibition, and negative emotionality. These traits first emerge early in development and, when extreme, confer an increased risk for the development of anxiety disorders, depression, and co-morbid substance abuse. To understand the origins of this liability, the laboratory uses a broad spectrum of tools, including multimodal brain imaging (MRI, PET), acute pharmacological manipulations, peripheral physiological measures, eye-tracking, ecological momentary assessment (EMA), and behavioral assays.
Director: Alex Shackman

Lavender Lab

The Lavender Lab seeks to better understand and reduce sexual orientation, gender, and racial/ethnic disparities in health. The lab conducts NIH-funded research on the psychological, social, and cultural determinants of suicide, substance use, and other health outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and Black, Indigenous, and People of color (BIPOC). We also focus on identifying factors and interventions that promote resilience among LGBTQ and BIPOC adolescents and young adults. We leverage multiple methodologies, including experimental laboratory and experience sampling methods as well as qualitative methods. Our work is informed by intersectionality theory and has a grounded commitment to social justice and health equity. The lab's current NIAAA-funded longitudinal study examines the impact of intersectional minority stress (e.g., discrimination) and structural oppression (e.g., structural racism and heterosexism) on substance use and mental health outcomes of sexual and gender minority youth of color.
Director: Ethan Mereish

African American Mental Health Equity Lab

In the African American Mental Health Equity Lab, we examine: 1) sociocultural risk and protective factors and how they impact the psychological assessment, outcomes, and treatment of African Americans and Latinx populations; 2) cultural adaptations of evidence-based treatments; and 3) mobile-mental health technology. Notably, this lab explores these experiences in understudied contexts (e.g., social media, community-based settings, etc.). Through scholarship that seeks to reduce health disparities in mental health access and engagement among underserved populations, our lab aims to use technology to help communities of color cope with experiences of discrimination, bolster resilience by strengthening positive racial identity beliefs, and improve access to evidence-based mental health interventions. This lab takes a translational approach, and seeks to use the lab's research to improve mental health equity and reduce disparities in access to mental healthcare within African American communities. 
Director: Henry Willis