Family Recovery Research Program

Active Research Studies

Family and Couples Research Studies

PTSD/Trauma and Alcohol Research Studies


Julianne Flanagan

Julianne Flanagan, Ph.D.

Dr. Flanagan's program of research focuses on the relationships between post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, and interpersonal violence. She is currently conducting laboratory and treatment development studies aimed at better understanding behavioral and neurobiological underpinnings of violence among individuals and couples. She is also conducting studies examining behavioral and pharmacological interventions to mitigate these commonly co-occurring problems.

Elizabeth Santa Ana, PhD

Elizabeth Santa Ana, Ph.D.

Dr. Santa Ana is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at MUSC and the Evidence-Based Training Coordinator for the VISN 7 Homeless Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is a core investigator within the Charleston Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center (HEROIC) at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and she collaborates with other MUSC faculty in Psychiatry on projects involving PTSD, substance use disorder, relapse prevention, and chronic pain for patients with substance use and other co-existing disorders.


Shannon Forkus, Ph.D. 

Sarah Giff, Ph.D.

Study Therapists

Abbie Bruner, MA, LPC-A 

Study Personnel


Anjinetta Johnson, PAC.

Anjinetta graduated from MUSC's Physician's Assistant Program in 2001. She has been involved in behavioral health research since 2010 in the role of Medical Clinician for Research Studies. She performs history and physical exams on research participants to help determine if they are healthy enough to be a part of the study. She also dispenses study medications, and monitors and follows up on study-related adverse events.

Chris DeLeon

Chris DeLeon, BS

Chris is a Program Coordinator for the POET Study. He received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Coastal Carolina University. He was previously a research assistant on a study investigating the effectiveness of mindfulness in Veterans with substance use disorders (SUD).

Sullivan Williams

Sullivan Williams

Sullivan is a Program Assistant on the Couples Team in the Flanagan lab and is currently running the K24 study. Sullivan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) degree in Psychology from Gettysburg College in 2023.


Morgan Thomas

Morgan Thomas is a Program Assistant on the Couples team at MUSC. Morgan is currently running the START & HEART studies which investigate substance use and couple interactions. Morgan graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Alex Hannegan

Amanda Westbrook, BA

Amanda Westbrook

Amanda Westbrook is a Program Assistant in the IMPACT lab working on both the POET study and Back’s Cognitive Processing Therapy + Relapse Prevention intervention aimed at reducing alcohol use and PTSD severity among individuals with co-occurring AUD/PTSD She received her Bachelor of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in April of 2023. Amanda is interested in studying Substance Use Disorder with a focus on opiate addiction and treatment.

Back-Flanagan Group Program Manager

Stacey Sellers, MS

Stacey Sellers, MS

Stacey is the Program Manager for the group. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Neuroscience from the College of Charleston and her Masters of Clinical and Translational Science from Creighton University. She has worked in research at MUSC and Creighton University for over 15 years, focusing her work on the treatment of substance use disorders.