Learn 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

    View full profile of Sawsan As-Sanie, MD, MPH

  • Satinder Singh Baveja, PhD

    Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, College of Engineering

    Dr. Baveja's research interests include:
    -reinforcement learning
    -machine learning
    -computational game theory
    -adaptive human computer interaction

    View full profile of Satinder Singh Baveja, PhD

  • 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

    View full profile of Alison Berent-Spillson, PhD

  • 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

    View full profile of Daniel W. Berland, MD, FACP, FASAM

  • 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."

    View full profile of Kent C. Berridge, PhD

  • 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.

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  • William Birdsong, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Pharmacology

    Dr. Birdsong's interests include opioid signaling, pain, addiction, synaptic transmission, and electrophysiology.

    View full profile of William Birdsong, PhD

  • 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.

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  • 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.

    View full profile of Amy Bohnert, PhD, MHS