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Faculty Research Labs

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 IU Indianapolis targets behavioral risk factors, executive/attentional brain systems, dopamine motivational circuits and the use of controlled alcohol administration.


two people use virtual reality sets

Virtual Reality and Early Recovery

Are you in early recovery and interested in virtual reality? Our virtual reality studies are investigating personality and behavior of individuals in recovery from addictions. If qualified, you may experience virtual reality and/or MRI. You must be at least 18 years old to participate. Time commitment and compensation vary by study. Please fill out our contact form and someone from our study team will contact you within 48 business hours. 

Virtual Reality Study contact form
neural networks highlighted in an illustration of a brain

Imaging and Early Recovery

This imaging study is focused on investigating the personality and behavior of individuals in early recovery from alcohol and illicit substance use. If qualified, you will complete some computer tasks and questionnaires and may receive an MRI. You must be at least 18 years old to participate. This study may involve two separate visits, and compensation varies by level of involvement. Please fill out our contact form and someone from our study team will contact you within 48 business hours. 

Early Recovery and Imaging Study contact form

Research Funding

National Institute of Health

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

National Institute on Drug Abuse


  • 2024

    Lewandowski ME, Delawalla CN, Butcher TJ, Oberlin BG (2024). Changes in Substance Use, Recovery, and Quality of Life During the Initial Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic. PLOS ONE. In press.

  • 2023

    Lungwitz EA, Dzemidzic M, Shen YI, Plawecki MH, Oberlin BG. (2023). Brain Response in Heavy Drinkers During Cross-Commodity Alcohol and Money Discounting with Potentially Real Rewards: A Preliminary Study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports, 8:100175.

  • 2022

    Halcomb ME, Dzemidzic M, Shen YI, Lin Z, Butcher TJ, Yoder KK, Oberlin BG. (2022). Delay Discounting and Alcohol Consumption Correlate with Dorsal Anterior Insula Activation During Choice in Non-Treatment-Seeking Heavy Drinkers. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 46(8).

    Shen YI, Nelson AJ, Oberlin BG (2022). Virtual Reality Intervention Effects on Future Self-Continuity and Delayed Reward Preference in Substance Use Disorder Recovery: Pilot Study Results. Discover Mental Health, 2(1).

  • 2021

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

    Butcher, TJ, Dzemidzic M, Harezlak J, Hulvershorn LA, Oberlin BG (2021). Brain Responses During Delay Discounting in Youth at High-Risk for Substance Use Disorders. NeuroImage Clinical, 32:102772. 

  • 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associate Research Professor of Neurology

Sarah Marie Turo

Sarah Marie Turo, BA

Clinical Research Coordinator

IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry


Graduate Student Image

Yitong Iris Shen, BA

Graduate Student

IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry

IU Indianapolis Department of Psychology

Sampada Bhatnagar

Sampada Bhatnagar, MS

Clinical Research Assistant

IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry

Clinical Research Assistant

Christina Jacksack

Clinical Research Assistant

IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry

Colton Michael Lind

Colton Michael Lind, BS

Clinical Research Assistant

IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry

Previous Trainees

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

IU Indianapolis Department of Psychology