Brain images composite image

Staff photo of the members of the Clinical Neuroimaging Research Cre

What we do

The Clinical NeuroImaging Research Core (CNIRC) serves two functions: Conducting independent addiction neuroimaging and psychophysiological studies and providing expertise in these areas, through collaborations and support to clinical investigators.


We are looking to add a post-doctoral researcher to our team. Learn about the position and how to apply.


Research interests include:

  • Investigate the neural correlates of cognition, emotions, decision making, motivation, impulsive and compulsive behaviors, and their association with alcohol use disorder.
  • Neurocircuitries associated with stages of alcohol use and misuse.
  • Examine the dynamic relationship between brain structure and function and alcohol use disorders.
  • Utilize imaging phenotypes to establish efficacy of experimental treatments and therapies.
  • Utilize imaging biomarkers to determine treatment choice and predict treatment outcome and relapse.
  • Utilize novel approaches to further refine alcohol use disorder subtypes and their treatments by combining imaging phenotypes and psychophysiological data.

Clinical collaborations and support include:

  • Enhance imaging capabilities
  • Prototype paradigms and methodologies
  • Assist PI’s in protocol development with imaging components, including, for example advice on practicality, power analysis, etc.
  • Conduct imaging components of the studies including:
  • Implement imaging paradigms
  • Supervise/conduct scanning sessions
  • Perform image processing
  • Perform imaging analyses
  • Present imaging results
  • Develop and provide imaging informatics
  • Standardize and track imaging data
  • Provide imaging study database



Reza Momenan, PhD, Director
Phone: 301.451-6972

Photo of Dr. Reza Momenan

Dr. Momenan has been involved in neuroimaging research studies of alcohol use disorder for more than 25 years. He has been providing expertise and support to NIAAA Intramural program on a wide spectrum of experimental design and imaging studies. His main focus of research has been designing and developing experiments utilizing various MR modalities for study of motivation, impulsivity, and emotions as related to addiction. His current focus is in utilization of neuroimaging phenotypes to investigate gender differences and sub-types of alcohol use disorders. Dr. Momenan is also interested in the use of other human brain mapping approaches as well as innovative techniques such as those of real-time fMRI, machine learning algorithms to predict alcohol use disorders, treatment efficacy, and relapse. Dr. Momenan has recently embarked on expanding the Core’s capabilities by implementing psychophysiological experiments using other modalities such as fNIRS, EEG, and Eye Tracking.

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Current Staff

Dan Rio, PhD
Phone: 301.402.2994

Photo of Dr Dan Rio

Dr. Rio is a physicist/mathematician who setup the original clinical imaging facilities in NIAAA. His current interest is developing new models for analysis of functional MRI in addition to providing support in the areas of computational mathematics, mathematical modeling, image processing and experimental design.


Mike Kerich
Computer Program Specialist
Phone: 301.496.6540

Photo of Mike Kerich

Michael Kerich joined NIAAA in 1986 as a Computer Specialist/Scientist after received his BS in Chemistry/Minor in Biochemistry with honors in 1982 and his BS in Computer Science in 1986. He has been involved in the collection and processing of structural and functional images for the NIAAA. He also helps retrieve and integrate psychological, genetic, and demographic data with the imaging data for analysis. He maintains the linux systems used for analysis and backups all the imaging data for the CNIRC. He also provides limited desktop support for users in the Core. He also helps develop electronic data entry forms and kiosks using Filemaker for the lab.


Samantha Fede, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Dr Samantha Fede, PhD

Samantha Fede joined NIAAA in 2017. She received her PhD from the University of New Mexico in 2017 where her dissertation work focused on neural dynamics associated with moral cognition, particularly how substance use and psychopathy moderate those dynamics in forensic samples. Her previous research included work on using neural signal to predict treatment outcomes, and the neural correlates of delay discounting. Dr. Fede is interested in identifying novel translational applications of neuroimaging that can be used in populations with addiction to individualize treatment and intervention.


Alexandra Martelli, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Dr Samantha Fede, PhD

Alexandra Martelli joined NIAAA in 2020. She received her PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA in 2020 where her previous work focused on emotion dysregulation and its impact on externalizing behaviors, specifically focusing on the negative downstream effects of negative urgency on intimate partner aggression. Her dissertation research focused on the role of interpersonal emotion regulation on intimate partner aggression and the neural mechanisms thereof. Dr. Martelli is interested in using neuromodulation techniques to reduce the negative impact of impulsivity-influence alcohol misuse to promote social and emotional wellbeing.


Thushini Manuweera, PhD
Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow
Phone:(301) 496-1103

Photo of Dr Thushini Manuweera, PhD

Thushini Manuweera joined the Clinical Neuroimaging Research Core in July of 2018. She received her PhD in biomedical sciences from Rutgers, School of Graduate Studies. Dr. Manuweera’s dissertation research focused on investigating the brain network recruited when performing a visually demanding motor task with mirrored visual feedback (MVF) in healthy individuals. In addition, her research focused on understanding both functional and structural features of this MVF network associated with differences in lesion location in individuals with stroke. Dr. Manuweera is interested in investigating how neural networks relate to genetic traits and physiological impairments in alcoholics.


Mallory Kisner, BS
Postbac IRTA
Phone: (301) 496-7513

Photo of Mallory Kisner

Mallory Kisner joined the Clinical NeuroImaging Research Core in June 2019 after completing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Colorado State University. Her undergraduate research focused on socioemotional development, particularly moral development, in preschool children as well as the relationship between internalizing problems and alcohol use in college students. She now helps explore neurological differences in socioemotional functioning in individuals with and without alcohol use disorders. After completing her time at the NIH, Mallory intends to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.


Erika Janella Almira
BA, Postbac IRTA
Phone: (301) 402-8040

Photo of Erika Janella Almira

Erika Janella Almira joined the Clinical NeuroImaging Research Core in September 2019 after completing her studies in Psychology at California State University, Northridge. During her undergrad, Erika was doing research under BUILD PODER (an NIH-funded program) regarding memory and decision-making bias. One of her research projects examined whether participants would be biased, consciously or unconsciously, to avoid responses that require additional cognitive work. Following the completion of her fellowship at NIH, she plans to pursue a doctorate in Cognitive Neuroscience/Psychology.


Claire Hunt, BS
Postbac IRTA
Phone: (301) 435-0686

Photo of Claire Hunt

Claire Hunt joined the Clinical NeuroImaging Research Core in September 2019 after completing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Maryland. Her undergraduate research entailed the investigation of child and adolescent socioemotional development as well as the relationship between cultural contexts and “normal” and “abnormal” social behaviors. She is interested in exploring the interaction between neural substrates and socioemotional behaviors in individuals in the context of alcohol use disorders. After completing her time at the NIH, Claire intends to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

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Clinical Protocols

14-AA-0094   Neural Substrate of Approach Avoidance in Alcoholism

14-AA-0066   Behavioral and Functional MRI Task Development, Implementation, and Testing

14-AA-0080   Characterization Imaging Instruments in Alcoholics and Non-Alcoholics

15-AA-0203   Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Study of Structural Imaging

18-AA-0098  Investigating a Response Modulation Hypothesis of Socioemotional Processing associated with Alcohol Use Disorder

View more NIAAA Clinical Protocols & link to all NIH Clinical Protocols

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Selected Publications


Samantha J. Fede, Erica N. Grodin, Sarah J. Dean, Nancy Diazgranados, and Reza Momenan (2019), Resting State Connectivity Best Predicts Alcohol Use Severity in Moderate to Heavy Alcohol Users, NeuroImage: Clinical, Mar 19;22:101782. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101782 PubMed

Erica Grodin, Lauren Sussman, Kelsey Sundby, Grace Brennan, Nancy Diazgranados, Markus Heilig, Reza Momenan, Neural Correlates of Compulsive Alcohol Seeking in Heavy Drinkers, Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 3(12):1022-1031  Link

Xi Zhu, Xiaofei Du, Mike Kerich, Falk W. Lohoff, Reza Momenan (2018), Random Forest Based Classification of Alcohol Dependence Patients and Healthy Controls Using Resting State MRI, Neuroscience Letters, 676, 27-33 Link

Carlos R. Cortes, Erica N. Grodin, Claire L. Mann, Karan Mathur, Michael Kerich, Xi Zhu, Melanie Schwandt, Nancy Diazgranados, David T. George, Reza Momenan, Markus Heilig (2018), Insula Sensitivity to Unfairness in Alcohol Use Disorder, Alcohol and Alcoholism, doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agx115PubMed

Xi Zhu, Xiaofei Du, Mike Kerich, Falk W. Lohoff, Reza Momenan (2018), Random Forest Based Classification of Alcohol Dependence Patients and Healthy Controls Using Resting State MRI, Neuroscience Letters, 676 (2018) 27-33PubMed

Erica N. Grodin, Carlos R. Cortes, Primvera Spagnolo, Reza Momenan (2017), Structural Deficits in Salience Network Regions Are Associated with Increased Impulsivity and Compulsivity in Alcohol Dependence, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2017 Oct 1;179:100-108.  PubMed

Laura E. Kwako, Reza Momenan, Erica N. Grodin, Raye Z. Litten, David Goldman (2017); Addictions Neuroclinical Assessment:  A Reverse Translational Approach, Journal of NeuroPsychoPharmacology, Volume 122, 1 August 2017, Pages 254-264. PubMed

Vladimir V. Senatorov, Claire L. Mann, Melanie L. Schwandt, Markus Heilig, Daniel W. Hommer, Reza Momenan, Reduced anterior insula, enlarged amygdala in alcoholism and associated depleted von Economo neurons, Brain, 2015 Jan;138(Pt 1):69-79.  PubMed

Durkee C, Sarlls J, Hommer D, Momenan R, White matter microstructure alterations: a study of alcoholics with and without post-traumatic stress disorder, PLoS One (2013) Volume 8, Issue 11, e80952, 1-10. PubMed

Leah M. Mayo, Diana Fraser, Emma Childs, Reza Momenan, Daniel Hommer, Harriet de Wit, Markus Heilig, Conditioned preference to a methamphetamine-associated contextual cue in humans, Journal of Neuropsychopharmocology (2013) 38, 921–29. PubMed

Grodin E., Lin H., Hommer, D.W., Durkee, C.A., Momenan R., Deficits in cortical, diencephalic and midbrain gray matter in alcoholism measured by VBM: Effects of co-morbid substance abuse, NeuroImage: Clinical  (2013) 2: 469-76. PubMed

Momenan, R., Steckler L.E., Saad Z., van Rafelghem S., Kerich, M., and Hommer, D.W., Effects of alcohol dependence on cortical thickness (2012), Psychaiatry Research: Neuroimaging, Volume 204, Issues 2–3, 30 November (2012), Pages 101–111. PubMed

Bjork JM, Chen G, Smith AR, Hommer DW: Incentive-elicited mesolimbic activation in adolescents with externalizing disorders. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry. 2010 Jul 11;51(7):827-37.  PubMed

Gilman JM, Davis MB, Hommer DW: Greater activation in left hemisphere language–related regions during simple judgment tasks among substance-dependent patients in treatment for alcoholism. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2010 Feb;34(2):331–41. PubMed

Bjork JM, Momenan R, and Hommer DW: Delay discounting correlates with proportional lateral frontal cortex volumes. Biological Psychiatry. 2009 Apr 15;65(8):710-3. PubMed

Bjork JM, Smith AR, Hommer DW: Striatal sensitivity to reward deliveries and omissions in substance dependent patients, NeuroImage. 2008 Oct 1;42(4):1609-21. PubMed

Gilman JM, Hommer DW. Modulation of brain response to emotional images by alcohol cues in alcohol-dependent patients. Addiction Biology. 2008 Sep;13(3-4):423-34. PubMed

Bjork JM, Knutson B, Hommer DW: Incentive-elicited striatal activation in adolescent children of alcoholics. Addiction. 2008 Aug;103(8):1308-19. PubMed

Bjork JM, Momenan R, Smith A, Hommer DW. Reduced posterior mesofrontal cortex activation by risky rewards in substance-dependent patients. Alcohol and Drug Dependence. 2008 May 1;95(1-2):115-28. PubMed

Gilman JM, Ramchandani VA , Davis MB , Bjork JM, Hommer DW. Why we like to drink: An fMRI Study of the Rewarding and Anxiolytic Effects of Alcohol. Journal of Neuroscience. 2008 Apr 30;28(18):4583-91. PubMed

George DT, Gilman J, Hersh J, Thorsell A, Herion D, Geyer C, Peng X, Kielbasa W, Rawlings R, Brandt J, Gehlert DR, Tauscher JT, Hunt SP, Hommer D, Heilig M. Neurokinin 1 receptor antagonism as a possible therapy for alcoholism. Science. 2008 Mar 14;319(5869):1536-9. PubMed

Gilman JM, Bjork JM, Hommer DW. Parental alcohol use and brain volumes in early- and late-onset alcoholics. Biological Psychiatry. 2007 Sep 15;62(6):607-15. PubMed

Salloum JB, Ramchandani VA, Bodurka J, Rawlings R, Momenan R, George D, Hommer DW. Blunted rostral anterior cingulate response during a simplified decoding task of negative facial expressions in alcoholic patients. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2007 Sep;31(9):1490-504. PubMed

Schottenbauer MA, Hommer D, Weingartner H. Memory deficits among alcoholics: Performance on a selective reminding task. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition. 2007 Sep;14(5):505-516. PubMed

Bjork JM, Smith A, Danube C, Hommer DW. Developmental differences in posterior mesofrontal cortex recruitment by risky rewards. Journal of Neuroscience. 2007 May 2;27(18):4839-49. PubMed

Schottenbauer MA, Momenan R, Kerich M, Hommer DW. Relationships among aging, IQ, and intracranial volume in alcoholics and control subjects. Neuropsychology. 2007 May;21(3):337-45. PubMed

Bjork JM, Hommer DW. Anticipating instrumentally obtained and passively-received rewards: A factorial fMRI investigation. Behavioural Brain Research. 2007 Feb 12;177(1):165-70. PubMed

Brown AK, George DT, Fujita M, Liow J, Ghose S, Sangare J, Hommer DW, Innis RB. PET [11C]DASB imaging of serotonin transporters in patients with alcoholism. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2007 Jan;31(1):28-32. PubMed

Rio DE, Rawlings RR, Woltz LA, Salloum JB, Hommer DW. Single subject image analysis using complex general linear model - An application to functional magnetic imaging with multiple inputs. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine. 2006 Apr;82(1):10-9. PubMed

Bjork JM, Hommer DW, Grant SJ, Danube C. Impulsivity in abstinent alcohol-dependent patients: relation to control subjects and type 1-/type 2-like traits. Alcohol. 2004 Oct-Nov;34(2-3):133-50. PubMed

Knutson B, Bjork JM, Fong GW, Hommer D, Mattay VS, Weinberger DR. Amphetamine modulates human incentive processing. Neuron. 2004 Jul 22;43(2):261-9. PubMed

Momenan R, Rawlings R, Fong G, Knutson B, Hommer D. Voxel-based homogeneity probability maps of gray matter in groups: assessing the reliability of functional effects. Neuroimage. 2004 Mar;21(3):965-72. PubMed

Bjork JM, Knutson B, Fong GW, Caggiano DM, Bennett SM, Hommer DW. Incentive-elicited brain activation in adolescents: similarities and differences from young adults. J Neurosci. 2004 Feb;24(8):1793-802. PubMed

Bjork JM, Grant SJ, Hommer DW. Cross-sectional volumetric analysis of brain atrophy in alcohol dependence: effects of drinking history and comorbid substance use disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 2003 Nov;160(11):2038-45. PubMed


Ciccocioppo R, Gehlert DR, Ryabinin A, Kaur S, Cippitelli A, Thorsell A, Le, AD, Hipskind, PA, Hamdouchi C, Lu J, Hembre EJ, Cramer J, Song M, McKinzie D, Morin M, Economidou D, Stopponi S, Cannella N, Braconi S, Kallupi M, de Guglielmo G, Massi M, George DT, Gilman J, Hersh, J, Tauscher JT, Hunt SP, Hommer, D, Heilig M: Stress-related neuropeptides and alcoholism: CRH, NPY, and beyond. Alcohol. 2009 Nov;43:491-8. PubMed


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