Participate in a research study

Please find below brief descriptions for the research studies our lab is conducting; we are actively recruiting participants for these studies. If you are interested in volunteering for any of these projects, please contact us at 313-577-5404 or

Cannabinoid Control of Fear Extinction Neural Circuits in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

This study will examine the effects of a drug on behavior, fear conditioning, and emotions in healthy volunteers and participants with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. 

You will undergo a 2-hour psychiatric and medical screening visit before being accepted in the study. If you are selected to participate, you will participate in 3 more sessions (1 hour, 5 hours, and 2 hours). Sessions need to be scheduled on consecutive days. During these sessions, you will be performing some computer tasks in an MRI scanner, a large magnet that lets us take pictures of your brain. There are no radioactive dye or x-rays used. During some of these tasks, you will experience aversive stimuli (e.g. loud noise), which will be unpleasant, but not painful. We will measure physiological responding through electrodes placed on your skin during each visit. At the beginning of the 5-hour session, you will ingest a capsule containing either Marinol (THC, cannabinoid, a marijuana-like drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration) or Placebo (sugar). During this session, you will complete some questionnaires asking about your current mood and feelings. In addition, during this visit, you will not be allowed to drive yourself home, so you should arrange for transportation or a taxi can be called for you. At the end of the final session, we will conduct a debriefing session. If you complete all study procedures, you will be paid up to $110 for your participation. 


Childhood Adversity and Brain and Behavioral Development in Children

This study will examine brain systems that underlie learning and memory in 6-9 year old children who have or have not experienced adversity (e.g., violence, abuse, medical trauma).

The experiment happens over the course of one weekend (Saturday and Sunday), for about 3.5 each day. Caregiver and child will attend both sessions. On Saturday, the child will complete several games that test learning and memory on the computer and on an advanced virtual reality platform — that makes it more fun for kids. We will also interview caregiver and child about life experiences, emotions, and family life. The child will also watch a video of what it’s like for a child to have an MRI brain scan. The MRI will happen on the second day. On Sunday’s session, we will practice lying still in the scanner with a mock or practice MRI machine. The child will be lying down in the real MRI machine for about an hour. During the scan, he or she will play some games and watch a movie. There will also be times when he or she can lie awake quietly and relax. For participating, you will receive a picture of your child’s brain and $110 for each visit ($220 for the entire weekend). Additionally, you will receive a $30 gift card for completing a sleep take-home packet on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. For more information, please contact Farrah at 586-23-CLIMB (25462). 

A MRI is a large magnet that allows us to take pictures of the brain. It is completely non-invasive, with no radioactive dye or x-ray. For more information about what it’s like for a child to have an MRI brain scan, please visit Brain Nexxus and/or watch this video that explains what to expect before and after the procedure.


Neurophysiological and Genetic Correlates of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Risk and Resilience in Michigan Police Officers

This study will examine brain activation during emotional processing and how it may be impacted by traumatic experience because you are currently an "in-service" student police officer in a Michigan police academy.

The purpose of this study is to better understand the risk factors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  If you qualify for the study and decide to participate, you will be asked to attend three study visits over one year that last approximately 2-3 hours per visit. The first visit will occur while you are still in your police academy training; the second visit will occur approximately six months after you graduate from the academy and begin your first job as a police officer; and the third will take place approximately 12 months after you begin working as a police officer. During the study visits, you will perform some computer tasks while wearing an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap, which is an instrument that records brain activity. We will also ask you questions about your trauma and medical history and questions about how you feel. You will also be asked to allow genetic testing on a biological specimen (a cheek swab) that will be collected and stored as part of the study at each study visit and used to prepare DNA used to study potential causes and effects of PTSD or anxiety disorders. If you complete all study procedures, you will be paid up to $300 for your participation.