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Researchers on the Rise Lectures February 1, 2013, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm WPIC Auditorium

Circadian Misalignment and Reward Dysfunction: 
A Novel Pathway to Adolescent Substance Use

  Brant Hasler, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh



Dr. Hasler earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona.  He completed his clinical psychology internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine program at the University of Pittsburgh prior to his appointment to the Department of Psychiatry faculty in 2012.  His research interests focus on the role of sleep and circadian rhythms in regulating affect and motivation, particularly as relevant to affective and substance use disorders. With support from a career development award from NIDA, and under the mentorship of Drs. Duncan B. Clark, Erika E. Forbes, and Daniel J. Buysse, Dr. Hasler is investigating circadian misalignment and reward function as a novel pathway to adolescent substance use.  In addition to his research projects, Dr. Hasler is actively engaged in research mentorship and clinical supervision, as well as direct clinical practice, and he is Co-Director of the recently-accredited Behavioral Sleep Medicine training fellowship.


Disinhibition and Acute Response to Alcohol in African Americans
and European Americans

  Sarah Pedersen, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry 
University of Pittsburgh



Dr. Pedersen was appointed to the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. During her graduate work at the University of Missouri and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh she conducted research on individual differences in predictors of heavy alcohol use. Specifically, her research has been focused on understanding how and why the alcohol risk process may differ for African Americans compared to the majority culture. Her work has examined how well-characterized predictors of heavy alcohol use differ between African Americans and European Americans. She was recently awarded a 5-year Career Development Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism designed to use both laboratory and naturalistic assessment techniques to investigate the links between behavioral disinhibition and response to alcohol in order to further examine the pathways of risk for African American drinkers.

Continuing Education Credit: The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM. Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours. In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPIC is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  WPIC maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits.

Please contact Jeanie Knox Houtsinger at for more information regarding this lecture.  We also invite you to visit our web site at for more information on lectures and educational events sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry.