Fran and Doug Tieman Center for Research

Through active participation in research, Caron helps advance the industry with evidence-based solutions for substance use disorders.

Welcome to the Fran and Doug Tieman Center for Research

The Center was established to conduct cutting-edge research related to the understanding, prevention, and treatment of addiction. Addiction is a complex, multi-factorial disease that affects individuals, their families, and communities.

This means that a multi-pronged approach is essential to its treatment and prevention. In partnership with our colleagues at various organizations, including Penn State Hershey and the National Institutes of Health, we are exploring novel biomedical approaches to find long-lasting solutions to the public health problem of addiction.

Caron has a diverse group of researchers with a wealth of experience that work together and collaborate with external partners to conduct research propelled by out-of-the-box thinking.

Our Vision & Mission for Research

Research Vision Statement: Advancing knowledge and providing evidence-based solutions in the field of addiction through biomedical research and training.

Caron's Research Mission Statement: Caron Treatment Centers is committed to the continued growth of knowledge of the disease of addiction and how it affects individuals and families. To this end, the Fran and Doug Tieman Center for Research is devoted to:

  • Exploring the roots of the disease of addiction in all its many facets.
  • Conducting high-quality biomedical research with integrity.
  • Disseminating research findings aimed to advance the treatment of addictive diseases.
Research Center Infographic

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Current Research Projects

Explore our current research topics below to learn more about the goals, overview and partners of each. Please note: in cases where Caron’s participation in projects includes patients, they have elected to participate in the research and have been provided detailed information about what participation entails.

Exploring the use of the Bridge device (an auricular percutaneous nerve field stimulator) as a modality for reducing symptoms of opioid withdrawal in patients during inpatient detoxification.

Alternative approaches to chronic pain are gaining traction as legitimate options in healthcare. In this instance, the Caron research team is evaluating whether a nerve stimulation device offers sufficient relief from withdrawal symptoms when compared with a placebo device. If effective, the device would decrease the need for medications in patients going through withdrawal.

In collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania

This study will evaluate the potential beneficial effects of ketone supplementation for alcohol detoxification in inpatients with alcohol use disorder. The proposed intervention has been developed based on neurobiological studies on brain metabolism in alcohol use disorder and previous work on the beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in alcohol use disorder during detoxification. A non-invasive dietary supplement that reduces withdrawal severity in alcohol use disorder would provide a novel therapeutic option for alcohol use disorder during alcohol detoxification.

In collaboration with Johns Hopkins University

The purpose of this study is to examine the perceptions of substance use treatment providers — counselors, social workers, psychologists, and therapists — and individuals in recovery on the medical use of psilocybin as a treatment modality for substance use disorders.

In collaboration with Auburn University at Montgomery Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory

This study will explore whether machine intelligence through the use of large datasets can identify predictors of positive/negative outcomes in substance use treatment.

Project CONNECT is a grant-funded program administered by Caron’s Education Department.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the fidelity and effectiveness of the Project CONNECT nicotine cessation program. Fidelity will be assessed via several indicators, including program adherence, and participant attendance and retention. Effectiveness will be determined by evaluating reduction in use/ cessation of nicotine products, commitment to change, and increase in knowledge.

The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of the Veterans Healing through Connection Workshop on couples’ relationships. This is assessed immediately after the workshop and three months later.

Collaboration with Penn State College of Medicine, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Cravings for opioids after treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) significantly increase the risk of returning to use. The goal of this study is to evaluate whether liraglutide, an FDA-approved weight loss medication, can reduce cravings for opioids in individuals with OUD and be used as an effective OUD treatment. Liraglutide is currently approved to reduce food cravings by helping people to feel satiated. Preclinical studies of liraglutide with lab rats have shown promising results.

The purpose of this study is to examine burnout in therapists, counselors, psychologists, and social workers who treat substance use disorders both in and outpatient and explore whether personality variables help mediate or exacerbate burnout in providers.

A pilot open trial in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine

Sleep plays a significant role in emotional, mental and physical wellness. The goal of this study is to explore whether suvorexant, a sleep medication approved by the FDA, can reduce the risk of relapse by improving the quality of sleep and reducing cravings.

Recent Research Projects

Collaboration with SOLVD Health

Caron participated in research with SOLVD Health to develop a gene-based risk assessment tool to identify individuals at risk for opioid use disorder. This non-invasive genetic test is currently under FDA review.

Collaboration with Penn State College of Medicine

This pilot study was designed to measure prefrontal cortex brain activity leveraging the portability and accuracy of functional near infrared spectroscopy (FNIRS) neuroimaging. FNIRS findings predicted relapse approximately 85% of the time.

See Who's Leading Caron's Research

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