MUSC NIDA K12  Scholars

Current Scholars

Kathryn Gex, Ph.D.

Project: "Development of a Novel Cannabis Brief Intervention for Frequently-Using Emerging Adults"                                                                                      Cannabis is the most widely used federally illicit substance among emerging adults (age 18-25) in the U.S., and frequent cannabis use is associated with myriad long-term consequences. Despite this, rates of perceived risk of daily/regular cannabis use have steadily declined over the past two decades. Several cannabis brief interventions to reduce cannabis use and related harms have been developed and tested to date; however, meta-analyses indicate that the evidence for efficacy is mixed and that the quality of studies is low. This suggests that novel and more rigorous approaches are necessary. The proposed project will use information from qualitative interviews with emerging adults to develop a brief intervention manual. A small pilot trial will be conducted to test the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of this novel cannabis brief intervention. In addition, cannabis-specific candidate mechanisms of behavior change will be explored.

Mentors/Consultants: Kevin Gray, M.D., MUSC; Rachel Tomko, Ph.D., MUSC; Shannon Phillips, RN, Ph.D., MUSC; Christine Lee, Ph.D., University of Washington; Benjamin Ladd, Ph.D., Washington State University                  Gex PubMed Bibliograpy


ReJoyce Green, Ph.D. 

Project: " Application of Advanced Statistical Methodology to Understand Substance Use Among Youth"                                                                            The project will utilize data from the multi-site, longitudinal Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. The project will focus on using innovative mediation analyses and machine learning methods to understand the complex relationships among risk and protective factors associated with the early stages of substance use. Findings from the proposed project may inform prevention and early intervention efforts by identifying clinically meaningful indicators that are more proximally related to early substance use milestones and factors that distinguish those who may initiate substance use at earlier ages.

Mentors/Consultants: Lindsay Squeglia, Ph.D., MUSC; Bethany Wolf, Ph.D., MUSC; Rachel Tomko, Ph.D., MUSC; Louise Mewton, Ph.D., University of Sydney,  Australia                                                                                                  Green PubMed Bibliography


Sara Witcraft, Ph.D.     

Project: "Treatment Retention in Medication for Opioid Use Disorder Among Pregnant and Postpartum Women"                                                                      This project will refine and evaluate the feasibility of a novel, technology-enhanced transdiagnostic intervention for pregnant and postpartum women (PPW) with opioid use disorder, EMpowering Pregnant Women Receiving Medications for Opioid Use Disorfer (EMPWR). EMPWR consists of a brief provider-drive, telehealth-based behavioral intervention and companion mobile application that together aim to improve adherence to medications for opioid use disorder, with the overarching goal of preventing opioid overdose.  Through this project, EMPWR's structural and digital health elements will be refined and finalized through qualitative interviews with patients and providers, and the full EMPWR treatment model will be tested in a preliminary feasibility trial. 

Mentors/Consultants: Aimee McRae-Clark, Pharm.D., MUSC; Connie Guille, M.D., MSCR, MUSC; Kenneth Ruggiero, Ph.D., MUSC; Allison Wilkerson, Ph.D., MUSC                                                                                                          Witcraft PubMed Bibilography


Previous Scholars

Jennifer Jones, M.D.
Years in NIDA K12 Program: 2019-2023
Project: "Esketamine for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder and Depression"
Mentors/Consultants: Sudie Back, Ph.D., MUSC; Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., MUSC; Robert Malcolm, M.D., MUSC
Jones PubMed Bibliography

Allison Wilkerson, Ph.D.
Years in NIDA K12 Program: 2019-2022                                                               Project: "Insomnia and Relapse in Treatment-Seeking Adults with Substance Use Disorder"                                                                                                        Mentors/Consultants: Aimee McRae-Clark, Pharm.D., MUSC; Daniel Taylor, Ph.D., University of North Texas
Wilkerson PubMed Bibliography                                                                           

Brittany Bryant, D.S.W., LISW-CP
Years in NIDA K12 Program: 2020-2022
Project: "Adolescent Substance Use and Mental Health Disparities"
Mentors/Consultants: Lindsay Squeglia, Ph.D., MUSC; Kevin Gray, M.D., MUSC; Rachel Tomko, Ph.D., MUSC; Christian Thurstone, M.D., University of Colorado
Bryant PubMed Bibliography

Vivienne Zhu, M.D., MS
Years in NIDA K12 program: 2018-2021
Project: "Automatically Identifying and Predicting Opioid Use Disorder Using Health Information Technology"
Mentors/Consultants: Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., MUSC; Leslie Lenert, M.D., MS, MUSC
Zhu PubMed Bibliography

Tracy Smith, Ph.D.
Years in NIDA K12 Program: 2018-2019
Project: "Impact of E-Cigarette Characteristics on Reinforcement and Tobacco Use Patterns Among Current Smokers"
Mentors/Consultants: Matthew Carpenter, Ph.D., K. Michael Cummings, Ph.D.
Smith PubMed Bibliography

Angela Dawn Moreland, Ph.D.
Years in NIDA K12 Program: 2015-2018
Project: "Integrating Parent Training into Treatment for Drug-Using and Recovering Parents"
Mentors/Consultants: Aimee McRae-Clark, Pharm.D., Carla Kmett Danielson, Ph.D., Shannon Self-Brown, Ph.D.
Moreland PubMed Bibliography

Bryan Heckman, Ph.D.
Years in NIDA K12 program: 2015-2017
Project: "Personalized Smoking Relapse Prevention via Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions"
Mentors/Consultants: Matthew J. Carpenter, Ph.D., K. Michael Cummings, Ph.D., David H. Gustafson, Ph.D., Andrew B. Lawson, Ph.D., Michael E. Saladin, Ph.D.
Heckman PubMed Bibliography

Gregory L. Sahlem, M.D.
Years in NIDA K12 program: 2015-2017
Project: "A Double Blind, Sham Controlled Trial of Excitatory rTMS to the Left Dorsolateral Pre-Frontal Cortex to Reduce Cannabis-Cue Induced Craving and Impulsive Decision Making in
Cannabis Use Disordered Participants"
Mentors/Consultants: Aimee McRae-Clark, Pharm.D., Robert Malcolm, M.D., Kathleen T. Brady, M.D., Ph.D., Nathaniel L. Baker, MS
Sahlem PubMed Bibliography

Lindsay M. Squeglia, Ph.D.
Years in NIDA K12 program: 2014-2016
Project: "Neural Connectivity in Adolescent Marijuana Users: Basis for Treatment Strategies"
Mentors/Consultants: Colleen A Hanlon, Ph.D., Kevin M Gray, M.D.
Squeglia PubMed Bibliography

Zachary W. Adams, Ph.D.
Years in NIDA K12 program: 2014-2015
Project: "mHealth Tools to Address Stress-Related Substance Use in Adolescents"
Mentors/Consultants: Carla Kmett Danielson, Ph.D., Frank A. Treiber, Ph.D.
Adams PubMed Bibliography

Erin A. McClure Ph.D.
Year in NIDA K12 program: 2014
Project: "Technological Innovations for the Remote Monitoring of Smoking in Adolescents"
Mentors/Consultants: Kevin M. Gray, M.D., Frank A. Treiber, Ph.D., Stephen T. Tiffany, Jesse Dallery, David H. Gustafson, Viswanathan Ramakrishnan, Ph.D.
McClure PubMed Bibliography

Jenna McCauley, Ph.D.
Years in NIDA K12 program: 2013-2015
Project: "Reducing Prescription Opioid Misuse: Dental Provider Intervention Development"
Mentors/Consultants: Kathleen T. Brady, M.D., Ph.D., Cathy L. Melvin, Ph.D., MPH, Roger B. Fillingim, Ph.D., Renata S. Leite, D.D.S., MS
McCauley PubMed Bibliography

Kristyn Zajac, Ph.D.
Years in NIDA K12 program: 2013-2014
Project: "Treating Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and PTSD in High-Risk Transition Age Youth"
Mentors/Consultants: Ashli J. Sheidow, Ph.D., Maryann Davis, Ph.D.
Zajac PubMed Bibliography