Milky Kohno, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine


Dr. Kohno is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and a Research Scientist at the VA Portland Health Care System. She earned her Bachelor degree in Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work is grounded in mechanistic neuroscience at the neural systems- and molecular-levels with the objective to merge basic science with clinically relevant aims. The overarching goal of Dr. Kohno’s research is to identify biomarkers for the clinical features of disease and aid in the development of rational tailored therapies. Her primary focus has been using multiple neuroimaging approaches to identify alterations in neural pathways in addiction. Her dissertation work was the first to identify abnormalities in intrinsic brain activity in methamphetamine use disorder and to detail the role of dopamine in brain function during risky decision-making. She has since expanded this work to examine the impact of medications on neural networks to aid in the development of effective treatments for substance use disorders. 

Dr. Kohno has received a number of awards and she is the principle investigator for an ongoing clinical trial that is mapping the mechanism by which a medication alters molecular and functional brain activity to reduce clinical symptoms of addiction. This work uses positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine whether an anti-inflammatory medication can reduce neuroinflammation, improve brain function and lead to reductions in drug use. This clinical trial has received additional funding to better characterize biological differences and treatment responses in women, who are an underrepresented population in clinical trial studies of addiction. 

She has published several peer-reviewed manuscripts detailing the molecular underpinnings of dysfunctional brain activity and the effects of psychosocial, behavioral and genetic factors that can influence clinical phenotypes and disease progression. She is also an associate editor for the journal, Frontiers in Psychiatry, serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for several journals and teaches an upper division psychology class at the University of Portland.

Education and training

    • B.A., 2006, University of California, Berkeley
    • Ph.D., 2013, University of California, Los Angeles

Areas of interest

  • Addiction
  • Neuroimaging: fMRI, PET
  • Dopamine Dysregulation
  • Pharmacotherapy



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