MARC Scientists

Center Director

Jennifer M. Loftis, Ph.D.

MARC Director - Jennifer Loftis

Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Research Scientist, VA Portland Health Care System

Focus: Neuroimmunological mechanisms contributing to substance abuse, cognitive impairment and depression

Dr. Loftis’ translational research program uses rodents and humans to characterize the inflammatory pathways contributing to cognitive dysfunction and depressogenesis, particularly in patients with a history of substance abuse and hepatitis C.  It is hypothesized that circulating inflammatory cytokines act on central nervous system (CNS) cytokine receptors, which in turn stimulate the production of inflammatory mediators (e.g., other proinflammatory cytokines and nitric oxide) in specific brain regions, thus contributing to cognitive impairments and alterations in mood.

Scientific Director

Tamara J. (Phillips) Richards, Ph.D.

MARC - Tamara J. (Phillips) Richards

Senior Research Career Scientist, Portland VA Medical Center
Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU

Focus: Genetic and neurochemical investigations of risk factors for methamphetamine and alcohol addiction.

The focus of Dr. Richards' ongoing research is on the genes, gene networks and neurochemical mechanisms that influence drug and alcohol responses. Dr. Richards is particularly interested in genetic risk and genetic modifiers of risk and resiliency.


Bill Schutzer, M.S.

MARC - Bill Schutzer

Bill Schutzer is a basic science researcher and administrator. As the Administrative Manager for the MARC he is directly responsible for supporting MARC scientists with the development, implementation, and review of scientific goals and protocols, submission of NIH, VA and other agency grant requests, and preparation and management of institutional oversight documents (human subjects, animal subjects, laboratory safety, etc.). He is the bridge among all MARC scientists to coordinate ongoing and planned work across multiple projects.

Contact for information on Center activities:


William Hoffman, Ph.D., M.D.

MARC - Bill Hoffman

Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU
Staff Psychiatrist, Mental Health and Clinical Neurosciences Division, Portland VAMC

Focus: Effects of methamphetamine on cognition and decision-making

Dr. Hoffman's research group studies recovery from the effects of methamphetamine on decision-making using functional MRI. Better understanding of the time-course of changes in brain function during early abstinence from methamphetamine will help clinicians individualize treatment and improve chances for success.

Marilyn S. Huckans, Ph.D.

MARC - Marilyn Huckans

Staff Psychologist and Clinical Neuropsychologist, Portland VA Medical Center
Associate Professor, Psychiatry

Focus: Neuroimmunological mechanisms contributing to cognitive, psychiatric, and substance use disorders

Dr. Huckans' translational research program integrates human, animal, and in vitro experiments to examine how neuroimmune factors contribute to the neuropsychiatric effects of medical, psychiatric, and substance use disorders.

Jodi A. Lapidus, Ph.D.

Head shot of Jodi Lapidus, PhD

Professor of Biostatistics, OHSU – Portland State University (OHSU-PSU) School of Public Health
Director, Biostatistics & Design Program (BDP), Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI), OHSU

Focus: Statistical methods for epidemiologic studies, risk prediction models, clustered/longitudinal data, group randomized trials, categorical data, and high dimensional statistical techniques (proteomics and miRNA)

Dr. Lapidus has led biostatistics efforts in health sciences research studies for over two decades, and has collaborated with a wide range of investigators, spanning basic, clinical and population sciences.

Aaron J. Janowsky, Ph.D.

MARC - Aaron J. Janowsky

Research Career Scientist, Portland VAMC
Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU

Focus: molecular pharmacology of drug addiction and psychiatric disorders

Dr. Janowsky's work focuses on how drugs of abuse impact the release and recycling of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is the key neurochemical signaling reward in the brain. Drugs like methamphetamine disrupt the normal pattern of dopamine's release, leading to the addictive behavior of seeking more drugs. Drugs of abuse, and especially methamphetamine, are a major concern for Veterans' Administration hospitals because many veterans who exhibit post-traumatic stress syndrome also have drug addictions.

Suzanne H. Mitchell, Ph.D.

MARC - Susanne Mitchell

Associate Professor, Departments of Behavioral Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Focus: Relationship between drug use and both impulsive behavior and risk-taking

Dr. Mitchell's lab uses human and nonhuman subjects to examine whether impulsive decision-making and risk-taking precedes initiation of drug use, whether neuroadaptations to drug use impact the propensity to behave impulsively, and whether levels of impulsivity interact with the ability of individuals to cease drug use.

Marina Wolf, Ph.D.

MARC - Marina Wolf, Ph.D.

Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine
Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine

Dr. Marina Wolf is Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University. She has been a pioneer in studying the role of neuronal plasticity in drug addiction. Her laboratory uses animal models to understand why recovering addicts remain vulnerable to drug craving and relapse even after long periods of abstinence. Cell culture models are used for mechanistic experiments to complement the in vivo studies.

Damien A. Fair, Ph.D.

OHSU - Damien Fair

Associate Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU
Associate Professor, Psychiatry, OHSU
Associate Scientist, Advanced Imaging Research Center, OHSU

Dr. Fair's laboratory focuses on mechanisms and principles that underlie the developing brain. The majority of this work uses functional MRI and resting state functional connectivity MRI to assess typical and atypical populations.

Susan L. Ingram, Ph.D.

MARC - Susan Ingram
  • Professor of Neurological Surgery, School of Medicine, OHSU
  • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, School of Medicine, OHSU
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine, OHSU
  • Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine, OHSU

Dr. Ingram's research focuses on understanding neuronal plasticity associated with drugs of abuse, especially understanding the contribution of neurotransmitter transporters and G protein-coupled receptor-mediated modulation of synaptic transmission. Dr. Ingram has extensive experience using whole-cell electrophysiology and behavioral measures to understand changes in brain circuits with acute and chronic drug administration.

Martin M. Pike, Ph.D.

MARC - Martin Pike

Associate Scientist/Professor, Advanced Imaging Research Center, OHSU
Associate Scientist/Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, OHSU

For the past 30 years, Dr. Pike has conducted biological Magnetic Resonance research in animal disease models, combining that approach with immunohistochemical, biochemical, and in vitro cellular measurements.

Milky Kohno, Ph.D.

MARC - Milky Kohno

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, OHSU
Research Scientist, VAPORHCS, Portland, OR

Dr. Kohno's research focuses on broadening and extending the knowledge of the neural circuitry that mediates addictive behaviors. Dr. Kohno conducts experiments that provide a mechanistic understanding of neural networks of addiction by combining and investigating the molecular underpinnings with positron emission tomography (PET), functional activation and connectivity with task-based and resting-state fMRI, and whitematter integrity with diffusion tensor imaging.