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Addiction Research Symposium Presenters

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I want to learn about treatment options for:

2 Basic Information
The Person is:
years old

graduated high school

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Caron Treatment Centers accepts patients aged 13 years or older. For more information on services available to those 12 and under, please learn more about Caron's Student Assistance Program.

Presentation 1:

Prefrontal Cortical Function as an Objective Marker of Early Relapse Risk in Alcohol-Dependent Patients Following Residential Treatment: A Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study

Scott Bunce, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Penn State Hershey Medical Group
Jonathan Harris, Ph.D., Corporate Director of Neurocognitive Services, Caron Treatment Centers


  1. Explain the utility of brain-based biomarkers in addiction treatment

  2. Describe available methods of investigating brain function in real-world clinical environments

  3. Discuss recent findings in outcome studies using brain-imaging predictors of relapse risk


Presentation 2:

Addiction: Individual vulnerability and resilience in a preclinical model.

Patricia Sue Grigson, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences, Penn State Hershey


  1. Describe how an “animal model of addiction” reveals individual vulnerability or resilience to substance seeking and taking, the rapidity with which the behavior develops, and associated changes in the brain.

  2. Provide evidence that the addiction process begins immediately

  3. Demonstrate that the development of addiction is accompanied by changes in brain

  4. Demonstrate the vulnerability or resilience is not set in stone, and can altered, for better or worse, by experience

  5. Explore a novel approach for the prevention of heroin overdose


Presentation 3:

Autonomic aspects of addiction, and the value of biobehavioral interventions for substance use disorder relapse prevention

David Eddie, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Recovery Research Institute, Clinical & Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School 


  1. Provide a brief overview of the neurological substrate known as the central autonomic network (CAN), and its role in affect regulation.

  2. Describe patterns of CAN dysregulation believed to be implicated in the etiology and maintenance of addictive disorders.

  3. Describe a novel biobehavioral intervention called heart rate variability biofeedback that is informed by this knowledge, and review two studies testing this intervention in clinical samples.

  4. Provide a brief demonstration of how this intervention can be applied quickly and cheaply in clinical settings using commercially available, smart-phone based apps.


Presentation 4:

Evaluation of a Comprehensive Continuing Care Program (My First Year of Recovery) for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders: The Merger of Technology and Patient Care to Maximize Treatment and Outcomes

Erin Deneke, Ph.D., LPC, Director of Research, Caron Treatment Centers


  1. Identify the growing need for outcome tracking in the substance abuse field.

  2. Explain the advantages of merging technology into aftercare programs for individuals with substance use disorders

  3. Outline the reasons for providing meaningful data driven outcomes in the current health care environment.

  4. Increase knowledge on implementing technology into treatment programs.

Scott Bunce, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Penn State Hershey Medical Group

With broad training in clinical and affective neuroscience, the emphasis of Dr. Bunce's research over the past decade has been to develop clinically applicable neuroimaging tools.  One focus of his research has been on the development of a relatively new neuroimaging modality, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRs).  The fNIRs system is safe, highly portable, and inexpensive, with rapid application times and near-zero run time costs, providing affordable, user-friendly neuroimaging for clinical and translational research.  Dr. Bunce obtained a NIDA-funded R01 grant to evaluate the ability to predict systemic re-regulation and treatment outcome in prescription opiate dependent patients using this device and recently presented the very promising findings from this study at national conferences, reporting correct classification of relapse at 90 days with greater than 80% sensitivity and 80% specificity.  With doctoral degrees in both a method-driven field (Personality), as well as a patient-oriented field (Clinical Psych), Dr. Bunce teaches and practices the rigor in experimental design and implementation required to conduct successful translational research.  PGYIII-IV residents who have completed research rotations with him have received such prestigious positions as Yale’s Fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry (Muvvala) and appointments at UPenn (Borgman-Winter). One of Dr. Bunce's former PhD students (Harris) was awarded the Penn State Clinical & Translational Science TL1 Scholarship to complete his dissertation work predicting treatment outcome in alcohol dependent patients.  The clinical utility of my neuroimaging research in patient populations makes it unique in the addiction field.  In addition to neuroimaging, he has experience using ecological momentary assessment (“daily diaries”), and personality assessment, which he brings to his research in human populations suffering with addictions.  ​

Erin Deneke, Ph.D., LPC, Director of Research, Caron Treatment Centers

Erin DenekeErin Deneke, Ph.D., L.P.C., is the director of research at Caron Treatment Centers in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. Dr. Deneke graduated from Loyola University with a Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling in 2006.   Dr. Deneke’s research focuses on chemical dependency, behavioral addictions, outcomes and recovery. She has presented at both the local and national level on a wide range of topics. In addition, she has been published in peer-reviewed journals. She has 14 years of clinical and research experience in the substance abuse and mental health field. As a licensed professional counselor, she specializes in the treatment of trauma, substance abuse, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.  She has an appointment as an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine.  She currently serves as treasurer for the American Psychological Association Division 44, Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, and has previously served as program chair and member at large for Division 44.

David Eddie, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Recovery Research Institute, Clinical & Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School 

Dr. David Eddie received his B.A. from Columbia University and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Rutgers University. He completed his clinical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. While at Rutgers, he investigated neurobiological vulnerabilities that heighten risk for the development of dependence on alcohol and other drugs, as well as processes that maintain addictive disorders. He continues this research at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Addiction Medicine and Recovery Research Institute, where he is presently investigating psychophysiological biomarkers of alcohol use disorder relapse risk. He is also interested in addiction recovery processes, and drug policy, and is membership, and conference program chair for the American Psychological Association’s Society of Addiction Psychology.

Patricia Sue Grigson, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences, Penn State Hershey

Dr. Patricia Sue Grigson earned her B.S. in Psychology at Elizabethtown College and her MS and Ph.D. in Psychology at Rutgers University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Penn State College of Medicine, where she then accepted a tenure track position. Dr. Grigson currently is a tenured full professor. In this time, Dr. Grigson has gained decades of experience studying intake, learning, memory, and motivation for natural rewards using rodent models. Dr. Grigson has mentored 8 students and 2 fellows in successful National Research Service Awards (NRSAs), she was the Director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at Penn State Hershey for three years, and she established the Graduate Clinical Rotation, a course that allows any Masters or PhD student to gain clinical exposure. As such, Dr. Grigson is nicely positioned to train Masters, PhD, or MD/PhD students in preclinical research as it relates to addiction and to facilitate clinical translation in one’s studies, or in collaboration with a clinical colleague, in practice.

Jonathan Harris, Ph.D., Corporate Director of Neurocognitive Services, Caron Treatment Centers

Jonathan Harris, Ph.D. is the Corporate Director of Neurocognitive Services at Caron Pennsylvania. In his role, he oversees the neurofeedback programs in Pennsylvania and Florida, implementing strategies to enhance patient treatment efficacy through the use of neurofeedback technology.  He recently completed his PhD in Neuroscience at the Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine. As part of his PhD program, Jonathan was a TL1 Scholar for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at Penn State, a consortium supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and developed to bridge the persisting gap between the basics sciences and clinical practice. Jonathan has also previously worked in collaboration with Caron to investigate functional brain imaging predictors of relapse in patients with alcohol use disorders.  In addition to his training in Neuroscience, Jonathan has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. He has instructed Cognitive Psychology for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) and assisted in neuroanatomy laboratory dissections for medical students at the Penn State College of Medicine. Jonathan is a contributing author on scientific articles published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine and Brain Research Bulletin, and has presented his research at several scientific conferences, including the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) and the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA).