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 studies and providing imaging expertise, through imaging collaborations and support to clinical investigators.

Research interests include:

  • Identify and investigate the neural substrates and 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 predict treatment outcome and relapse.

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 design 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.

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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.

Carlos R. Cortes, M.D., Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Phone: 301.594.9950

Photo of Dr Carlos Cortes

Dr. Cortes received his Medicine and Surgery Doctoral Degree from the Universidad Industrial de Santander (Bucaramanga, Colombia) in 1995 and his Ph.D. degree from University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2013.  His previous experience includes:  primary care physician in Colombia, visiting research fellow in the International Center for Mental Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY, supervisor/therapist in a community mental health center in Allentown, PA and research associate at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore. He joined the NIAAA in October 2013 (Postdoctoral Intramural Research Training Award). Dr. Cortes is interested on combining multimodal neuroimaging and computational modeling to elucidate possible pathophysiological mechanisms underlying clinical features in addiction.

Erica Grodin, BA, GPP
Brown University and National Institutes of Health
Phone: (301)451-6978

Photo of Erica Grodin

Erica Grodin joined NIAAA in 2010. She is a graduate student studying neuroscience in the Brown University/NIH Graduate Partnerships Program. She graduated from American University in 2010, where her work focused on the conditioned taste aversion phenomenon. Her Ph.D. dissertation work focuses on investigating the neural correlates of compulsive drinking, particularly why people continue drinking despite adverse consequences. Her previous research focused on the structural correlates of alcoholism and the effect of co-morbid substance abuse.

Samantha Fede, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

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.

Lauren Sussman, BS, Postbac IRTA
Phone: (301) 827-0321

Dr. Sussman's photo
Lauren Sussman joined the Clinical NeuroImaging Research Core in July 2016 after graduating from Wake Forest University with a degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. Her undergraduate research focused on cognitive control within the antisaccade task and working memory. She is currently a postbac IRTA with the intention of pursuing a doctorate in Cognitive Neuroscience.  

Nicole MacIlvane, BS, Postbac IRTA
Phone: (301) 402-5630

Nicole MacIlvane photo

Nicole MacIlvane joined the Clinical NeuroImaging Research Core in February 2016 after completing her studies in Neuroscience and Psychology at The Ohio State University. As an undergraduate her research focused on the neurobiology of learning and memory in a rat model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. She now explores the neural substrates of alcoholism and alcohol abuse through imaging and neuropsychological tasks, with the aim of developing clinical interventions.

Sarah Dean, BS, Postbac IRTA
Phone: (301) 496-7513

Sarah Dean photo

Sarah Dean joined the Clinical NeuroImaging Research Core in June 2017 after completing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Maryland. Her undergraduate research focused on exploring the hippocampal memory network in young children through neuroimaging. She now explores differences in brain structures and activity in people with and without alcohol dependence. Her other duties include recruiting, screening patients, and running neuroimaging analysis.

Sanket Gupte, M.S. Programmer Analyst/Systems Administrator
Phone-1: 443-740-2620
Phone-2: 301-496-7874

Photo of Sanket Gupte

Sanket Gupte joined NIAAA in April 2012. He completed his M.S. In Computer Science from University of Maryland Baltimore County and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in the same field. His main duties include designing software applications for processing and analysis of neuroimaging and genetics data. He also develops and maintains a web based software repository for storing MRI Imaging data, that allows easy interfacing, processing, clustering and analysis. His other duties also include managing and administering Linux Systems. He shares his time between CNIRC and NRB-Bran

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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

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

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Selected Publications


Vladimir V. Senatorov, Claire L. Mann, Melanie L. Schwandt, Markus Heilig, Daniel W. Hommer, Reza Momenan, Reduced anterior insula and enlarged amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and thalamus in alcohol dependent patients:  a magnetic resonance imaging study of alcoholism, Brain (accepted).

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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