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Oberlin Lab

Under the direction of Brandon Oberlin, PhD, the Oberlin Lab focuses on the range of addiction development, including risk factors, maintenance and progression, and recovery and relapse prevention. Currently, the lab is researching unhealthy decision-making, behavioral traits linked to addictions (alcohol and substance use disorders) and brain activation governing those behaviors. The lab utilizes neuroimaging (fMRI) to better understand brain systems underlying addiction, laboratory behavioral tasks to measure behavior and digital visualization methods for relapse prevention. With goals in improving addiction treatment, the lab’s collaboration with experts from IU School of Medicine and IUPUI targets behavioral risk factors, executive/attentional brain systems, dopamine motivational circuits and the use of controlled alcohol administration.


Neuroimaging and Choice Behavior

This magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study involved investigating participant choices about money and other scenarios. Participants were compensated $200 for study completion, with the opportunity for additional payment during the day of study. This study has concluded, and we are no longer recruiting participants. 

Oberlin Lab Virtual Reality Study Image

Virtual Reality and Early Recovery

This study involved participants in early recovery following detox and/or inpatient treatment. During the study day, participants had a virtual reality experience and possibly an MRI. Participants were compensated up to $80 for study completion, with the opportunity to earn more money on the study day. 

This study has concluded, and we are no longer recruiting participants. 

Research Funding

National Institute of Health

National Institute on Alcohol abuse and Alcoholism

  • 2021
    Oberlin BG, Carron CR, Ramer NE, Plawecki MH, O'Connor SJ, Kareken DA. Intoxication Effects on Impulsive Alcohol Choice in Heavy Drinkers: Correlation With Sensation Seeking and Differential Effects by Commodity. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2021 Jan;45(1):204-214.
  • 2020

    Oberlin BG, Ramer NE, Bates SM, Shen YI, Myslinski JS, Kareken DA, Cyders MA. Quantifying Behavioral Sensation Seeking With the Aroma Choice Task. Assessment. 2020 Jul;27(5):873-886.

    Amico E, Dzemidzic M, Oberlin BG, Carron CR, Harezlak J, Goñi J, Kareken DA. The disengaging brain: Dynamic transitions from cognitive engagement and alcoholism risk. Neuroimage. 2020 Apr 1;209:116515.

    Oberlin BG, Shen YI, Kareken DA. Alcohol Use Disorder Interventions Targeting Brain Sites for Both Conditioned Reward and Delayed Gratification. Neurotherapeutics. 2020 Jan;17(1):70-86.

  • 2019
    Kudela MA, Dzemidzic M, Oberlin BG, Lin Z, Goñi J, Kareken DA, Harezlak J. Semiparametric Estimation of Task-Based Dynamic Functional Connectivity on the Population Level. Front Neurosci. 2019 Jun 21;13:583.
  • 2018
    Oberlin BG, Dzemidzic M, Eiler WJA 2nd, Carron CR, Soeurt CM, Plawecki MH, Grahame NJ, O'Connor SJ, Kareken DA. Pairing neutral cues with alcohol intoxication: new findings in executive and attention networks. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018 Sep;235(9):2725-2737.
  • 2017
    Eiler WJA 2nd, Dzemidzic M, Soeurt CM, Carron CR, Oberlin BG, Considine RV, Harezlak J, Kareken DA. Family history of alcoholism and the human brain response to oral sucrose. Neuroimage Clin. 2017 Dec 12;17:1036-1046.
  • 2016

    Charpentier J, Dzemidzic M, West J, Oberlin BG, Eiler WJ, Saykin AJ, Kareken DA. Externalizing personality traits, empathy, and gray matter volume in healthy young drinkers. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 2016 Feb 28;248:64-72.

    Oberlin BG, Dzemidzic M, Harezlak J, Kudela MA, Tran SM, Soeurt CM, Yoder KK, Kareken DA. Corticostriatal and dopaminergic response to beer flavor with both fMRI and [11C] raclopride Positron Emission Tomography. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2016 Sep 1;40(9):1865-73.

  • 2015
    Oberlin BG, Albrecht DS, Herring CM, Walters JW, Hile KL, Kareken DA, Yoder KK (2015) Monetary discounting and ventral striatal dopamine receptor availability in nontreatment-seeking alcoholics and social drinkers. Psychopharmacology 232(12): 2207-16.

    Weafer J, Džemidžic M, Eiler II WJA, Oberlin BG, Wang Y, Kareken DA (2015). Associations between regional brain physiology and trait impulsivity, motor inhibition, and impaired control over drinking. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

  • 2014
    Oberlin BG, Džemidžic M, Tran SM, Soeurt CM, O’Connor SJ, Yoder KK, Kareken DA (2014) Beer self-administration provokes lateralized nucleus accumbens dopamine release in male heavy drinkers. Psychopharmacology 232(5): 861-70.

  • 2013
    Kareken DA, Džemidžic M, Oberlin BG, Eiler II WJA (2013) A Preliminary Study of the Human Brain Response to Oral Sucrose and its Association with Recent Drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 37(12): 2058-65.

    Kareken DA, Džemidžic M, Wetherill M, Eiler II W, Oberlin BG, Harezlak J, Wang J, O’Connor SJ (2013)  Family history of alcoholism interacts with alcohol to affect brain regions involved in behavioral inhibition. Psychopharmacology 228(2): 335-45.

    Oberlin BG, Džemidžic M, Tran SM, Soeurt CM, Albrecht DS, Yoder KK, Kareken DA (2013) Striatal dopamine release in response to beer flavor: mediation by family history of alcoholism. Neuropsychopharmacology 38(9): 1617-24.

  • 2012
    Schulte T, Oberlin BG, Kareken DA, Marinkovic K, Müller-Oehring EM, Meyerhoff DJ, Tapert S (2012) How Acute and Chronic Alcohol Consumption affects Brain Networks: Insights from Multimodal Neuroimaging. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 36(12): 2017-27.

    Oberlin BG, Džemidžic M, Bragulat V, Lehigh CA, Talavage T, O’Connor SJ, Kareken DA (2012) Limbic responses to reward cues correlate with antisocial trait density in heavy drinkers. NeuroImage 60(1) 644-52.

  • 2011
    Oberlin BG, Best C, Matson L, Henderson A, Grahame N (2011) Derivation and characterization of replicate high- and low- alcohol preferring lines of mice and a high-drinking crossed HAP line. Behavior Genetics 41(2): 288-302.
  • 2010
    Oberlin BG, Bristow RE, Heighton ME, Grahame NJ (2010) Pharmacologic dissociation between impulsivity and alcohol drinking in High Alcohol Preferring mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 34(8): 1363-75.
  • 2009
    Fidler TL, Oberlin BG, Struthers AM, Cunningham CL (2009) Schedule of passive ethanol exposure affects subsequent intragastric ethanol self-infusion.  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 33(11): 1909-23.

    Oberlin BG, Grahame NJ (2009) High alcohol preferring mice are more impulsive than low alcohol preferring mice as measured in the delay discounting task. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 33(7):1-10.

Research Team

Brandon Oberlin, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Mario Dzemidzic, PhD, MS

Associate Research Professor of Neurology

Graduate Student Image

Yitong Iris Shen, BA

Graduate Student

IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry

IUPUI Department of Psychology

Christina Jacksack

Volunteer Research Assistant

Staff image for Megayn Lewandowski

Megayn Lewandowski, BS

Clinical Research Technician

IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry


Past Research Team Members

Postdoc image for Elizabeth Lungwitz

Elizabeth Lungwitz, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry

Graduate Student Image for Tarah Butcher

Tarah Butcher, MS

Graduate Student

IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry

IUPUI Department of Psychology

Volunteer image for Michael Cook

Michael Cook

Volunteer Research Assistant