Principal Investigator

Dr. Emma Childs



Dr. Childs received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Pharmacology from King’s College London, UK. She then completed her GTA (Go To America) and post-doctoral training with Professor Harriet de Wit at the University of Chicago. Recently, she joined the UIC Department of Psychiatry and is currently funded by grants awarded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Recent publications:

Childs, E., Lutz, J. A., & de Wit, H. (2017). Dose-related effects of delta-9-THC on emotional responses to acute psychosocial stress. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Childs, E., Astur, R. S., & de Wit, H. (2017). Virtual reality conditioned place preference using monetary reward. Behavioural brain research, 322, 110-114.

Childs, E., & Wit, H. (2016). Alcohol‐induced place conditioning in moderate social drinkers. Addiction, 111(12), 2157-2165.

Childs, E., Bershad, A. K., & de Wit, H. (2016). Effects of d-amphetamine upon psychosocial stress responses. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(7), 608-615.

Childs, E. (2014). Influence of energy drink ingredients on mood and cognitive performance. Nutrition reviews, 72(suppl_1), 48-59.

Childs E, White T, de Wit H (2014) Personality traits modulate emotional and physiological responses to acute stress. Behav Pharmacol. 25(5-6):493-502.

Childs E (2014) Energy drink ingredients: influence on mood and cognitive performance. Nutr Rev. 72 Suppl 1:48-59.

Childs E, de Wit H. (2014) Regular exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in Physiology. 5:161.

Childs E, de Wit H. (2013) Contextual conditioning enhances the psychostimulant and incentive properties of d-amphetamine in humans. Addict Biol. 18(6):985-92.

Childs E, Roche DJO, King AC, de Wit H (2012) Varenicline potentiates alcohol-induced negative subjective responses and offsets impaired eye movements.  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Stolerman IP, Childs E, Ford MM, Grant KA. (2011). The role of training dose in drug discrimination: a review. Behavioural Pharmacology. 22(5-6):415-29.

Childs E, O’Connor S, de Wit H. (2011) Bidirectional interactions between acute psychosocial stress and acute intravenous alcohol in healthy men. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 35(10): 1794-803.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Dr. Joseph Lutz



Dr. Lutz received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. His pre-doctoral training involved natural products drug discovery and basic neuropharmacology of alcohol and nicotine. He joined the HAPPY lab at its genesis for his post-doctoral training under the mentorship of Dr. Emma Childs to learn the interactive effects of alcohol and nicotine on human behavioral pharmacology.

Recent publications:

Lutz, J. A., & Childs, E. (2017). Test–retest reliability of the underlying latent factor structure of alcohol subjective response. Psychopharmacology, 234(8), 1209-1216.

Lutz, J. A., Carter, M., Fields, L., Barron, S., & Littleton, J. M. (2015). The Dietary Flavonoid Rhamnetin Inhibits Both Inflammation and Excitotoxicity During Ethanol Withdrawal in Rat Organotypic Hippocampal Slice Cultures. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39(12), 2345-2353.

Lutz, J. A., Carter, M., Fields, L., Barron, S., & Littleton, J. M. (2015). Altered Relation Between Lipopolysaccharide‐Induced Inflammatory Response and Excitotoxicity in Rat Organotypic Hippocampal Slice Cultures During Ethanol Withdrawal. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39(5), 827-835.

Lutz, J. A., Kulshrestha, M., Rogers, D. T., & Littleton, J. M. (2014). A nicotinic receptor-mediated anti-inflammatory effect of the flavonoid rhamnetin in BV2 microglia. Fitoterapia, 98, 11-21.

Research Staff

Hyerim Yang

Hyerim Yang received her B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Chicago.








Mike Bremmer

Mike Bremmer received his B.S. in Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago.







Former Lab Members 


                                                                                             Kiran Ladhani


              Nia Sotto                                                                                                                                                                                           Jessica DeArcangelis 









                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mike Bremmer