The Biomedical Alcohol Research Training Program - Current Trainees

Postdoctoral Fellows

Elizabeth Delery, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, Tulane University School of Medicine
Advisor: Scott Edwards, Ph.D.
Research: Glucocorticoid regulation of pain in the context of traumatic brain injury & alcohol use disorder
Department: Physiology

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My research examines glucocorticoid signaling in the central amygdala in the context of traumatic brain injury and alcohol use disorder hyperalgesia. In addition, I look at neuroinflammation in traumatic brain injuries and alcohol use disorder. 


Elizabeth A Fucich, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Advisor: Patricia Molina, Ph.D.
Research: Intersection of stress and traumatic brain injury on behaviors including alcohol drinking
Department: Physiology

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My research addresses the neural mechanisms underlying the interaction between traumatic brain injury and alcohol use. I am also interested in how stress interacts with this relationship as well as identifying ways to improve negative outcomes of these concurrent conditions.


Chelsea Kasten, PhD


Degree:  PhD, Addiction Neuroscience, Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis
Advisor:  Tiffany Wills, PhD
Department:  Cell Biology & Anatomy

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The Wills lab uses electrophysiological, viral, pharmacological, and behavioral techniques to observe the role of glutamatergic signaling in the sexually dimorphic bed nucleus of the stria terminalis following adolescent alcohol exposure and adult stress.  My research interests are to understand the role of adolescent alcohol exposure as a critical mediator of the development of sex-dependent phenotypes and to identify potential pharmacological targets to rescue these deficits.



Danielle E Levitt-Budnar, PhD


Degree:  PhD, Biology, Exercise Physiology, University of North Texas
Advisor:  Liz Simon, PhD
Research:  Mitochondrial dyshomeostasis in skeletal muscle, liver, and pancreas in SIV+ female macaques:  Alcohol and gonadal hormone loss mediated mechanism
Department:  Physiology


My research focuses on alcohol and gonadal hormone loss-mediated mechanisms of mitochondrial dysregulation in insulin-producing and insulin-sensitive tissues using a simian model of HIV.


Marcus Weera, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., Neuroscience, Purdue University, August 2017
Advisors: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.
Research: Neural mechanisms underlying substance use and co-morbid disorders.
Department: Physiology

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Dr. Weera is interested in elucidating the neural circuits and neurobiological factors that underlie substance (primarily alcohol) use disorders. Further, his research seeks to understand the neural bases of co-morbid substance use and psychiatric (e.g. post-traumatic stress) disorders , as well as between different types of substance use disorders. The goal of Dr. Weera's research is to inform prevention and treatment strategies for substance use and related psychiatric disorders.


Predoctoral Fellows



Eleanor Holmgren
Degree: B.S., Behavioral Neuroscience, Centre College
Mentor: Tiffany Wills, PhD
Research: Neural adaptations to stress circuitry in response to adolescent ethanol and stress history
Status: Graduate Student, Cell Biology and Anatomy Department

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My research will focus on understanding stress circuitry in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), and the neural adaptations which occur after adolescent ethanol exposure and adult stress.  I aim to use electrophysiology, Western blot analysis, and behavioral techniques to explore this brain-behavior interface.