ResearchersLearn about the researchers focused on understanding opioids, as well as how to reduce and prevent misuse and overdose. Search by keyword or topics of interest to find potential collaborators.
If you are a U-M researcher studying any aspect of opioids, from basic science to societal and policy issues, please let us know by filling out the “Contact Us” form at the bottom of this page and we will add you to this directory.
Huda Akil, PhD
Professor, Neurosciences, Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute; Professor, Psychiatry, Medical School
Research in Dr. Akil’s laboratory is focused on understanding the neurobiology of emotions, including pain, anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
Early on, their research focused on the role of the endorphins and their receptors in pain and stress responsiveness. They provided the first physiological evidence for a role of endogenous opioids in the brain; and showed that endorphins are activated by stress and cause pain inhibition, a phenomenon they termed Stress-Induced Analgesia.
Sawsan As-Sanie, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Medical School
Dr. As-Sanie is a gynecologist and Director of the UM Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery and the Endometriosis and Chronic Pelvic Pain Consultative Clinic. Her clinical and research areas of interest are in the study of chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, and minimally invasive gynecologic surgery. Much of her work is focused on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis, with a particular interest in acute and chronic pain following surgery for these conditions.
Satinder Singh Baveja, PhD
Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, College of Engineering
Dr. Baveja's research interests include:
-computational game theory
-adaptive human computer interaction
Alison Berent-Spillson, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Medical School
Dr. Berent-Spillson's research interests include:
-metabolic & hormonal influences on emotion & cognition
-the mental health impact of hormonal and metabolism disorders
-PET and functional MRI neuroimaging
-women's health and sex differences
Daniel W. Berland, MD, FACP, FASAM
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, Medical School
Dr. Berland's research interests include:
-pain and opioid therapy management
-reducing prescription drug addiction
-clinical protocol development
-utilizing computerized physician order entry to improve practice quality
Kent C. Berridge, PhD
Professor, Psychology, LSA
Dr. Berridge's research interests include:
-how opioid neural systems generate pleasure and desire in the brain
-brain mechanisms of motivation, reward, and addiction
Dr. Berridge's projects include "Opioid Modulation of Cue-Triggered “Wanting” on Amygdala."
Mark Bicket, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology, Medical School; Co-Director, Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network
Dr. Bicket is the co-Director of the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Education Network (OPEN). He is a clinical investigator whose focus is clinical trials, health services, and comparative effectiveness research. His research interests focus on improving the evidence base, safety, and quality of treatments for acute and chronic pain. In particular, his work has focused on patient, health system, and policy interventions related to prescription opioids and reducing patient harms from opioid prescribing and opioid misuse.
William Birdsong, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pharmacology
Dr. Birdsong's interests include opioid signaling, pain, addiction, synaptic transmission, and electrophysiology.
Erin Bonar, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychiatry, Medical School; Director of Clinical Programs, UM Addiction Treatment Services
Dr. Bonar’s early research focused on people who inject drugs (PWIDs), including understanding provider attitudes that influence treatment recommendations for PWID and, among needle exchange attendees, examining factors influencing use of harm reduction strategies (e.g., overdose prevention). She has also contributed to studies to develop, test, and translate overdose prevention interventions. She is a co-investigator on several studies to test interventions focused on reducing or preventing substance use (including opioid use) among at-risk adolescents and emerging adults. She is the PI of 3 NIH-funded grants to develop social media-based interventions to address high risk drinking and cannabis use in emerging adults, as well as other drug use (including opioids). In addition, she is Co-PI of a NIDA grant funded through the HEAL initiative to optimize interventions for adolescents and young adults attending the Emergency Department who are at risk for opioid misuse or opioid use disorder.
Amy Bohnert, PhD, MHS
Associate Professor, Psychiatry, Medical School; Co-Director, Mental Health Innovations, Services, and Outcomes
Dr. Bohnert has led a number of projects related to overdose and prescription drug safety. A focus of this research has been specifically aimed at improving care occurring in emergency departments, primary care, and addictions treatment settings related to opioid use problems. She has also served in a scientific advisory role to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including as a member of the expert panel for the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, to the Food and Drug Administration, and to the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force.