Angelica Morales, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine


Dr. Angelica Morales is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine. She obtained at B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA. Her laboratory studies neurobiological and behavioral risk factors for escalating substance use during the transition into adulthood. She uses multimodal neuroimaging to assess brain structure, function and chemistry with the goal of understanding individual differences in neurobiology not only before drug exposure, but also in response to acute and chronic drug exposure. Identifying risk factors for psychiatric disorders has the potential to inform the creation of tailored therapeutic approaches.

Education and training

    • B.A., 2006, Stanford University
    • Ph.D., 2014, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Fellowship

    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Molecular Neuroimaging, 2014-2016
    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Developmental Brain Imaging Laboratory, 2016-2019


Selected publications

  • Morales, A.M., Jones, S.A., Kliamovich, D., Harman, G., Nagel, B.J. (2020) Identifying Early Risk Factors for Addiction Later in Life: A Review of Prospective Longitudinal Studies. Current Addiction Reports, 1-10.
  • Morales, A.M., Boyd, S.J., Mackiewicz Seghete, K.L., Johnson A.J., DeBellis, M.D., Nagel, B.J. (2019) Sex Differences in the Effect of Nucleus Accumbens Volume on Adolescent Drinking: The Mediating Role of Sensation Seeking in the NCANDA sample. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 80(6):594-601.
  • Kohno, M., Morales, A.M., Dennis, L.E., McCready, H., Hoffman, W.F., Korthuis, P.T. (2019) Effects of Naltrexone on Large-Scale Network Interactions in Methamphetamine Use Disorder. Frontiers Psychiatry. 10:603
  • Morales, A.M., Jones, S.A., Harmen, G., Patching-Bunch, J., Nagel. B.J. (2019) Associations Between Nucleus Accumbens Structural Connectivity, Brain Function, and Initiation of Binge Drinking. Addiction Biology. Epub ahead of print.
  • Jones, S.A., Morales A.M., Nagel, B.J. (2019) Resilience to Risk for Psychopathology: The Role of White Matter Microstructural Development in Adolescence. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. 4(2):180-189.
  • Morales, A.M., Jones, S.A., Ehlers, A., Lavine, J.B., Nagel, B.J. (2018) Ventral striatal response during decision making involving risk and reward is associated with future binge drinking in adolescents. Neuropsychopharmacology. 43(9):1884-1890.
  • Dean A.C., Morales, A.M., Hellemann, G., London E.D. (2018) Cognitive deficit in methamphetamine users relative to childhood academic performance: links to brain structure. Neuropsychopharmaoclogy. 43(8):1745-1752.
  • Jones, S., Morales, A.M., Lavine, Jessye, Nagel, B. (2017) Convergent neurobiological predictors of emergent psychopathology during adolescence. Birth Defects Research. 109(20):1613-1622.
  • Okita, K., Morales, A.M., Dean, A.C. Johnson, M.C., Lu, V., Farahi, J., Mandelkern, M.M. London, E.D. Striatal Dopamine D1-type Receptor Availability: No Difference from Control but Association with Cortical Thickness in Methamphetamine Users. Molecular Psychiatry, 23(5):1320-1327.


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