Principal Investigator

Dr. Emma Childs



Dr. Childs received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Pharmacology from King’s College London, UK. She then completed post-doctoral training with Professor Harriet de Wit at the University of Chicago. She joined the UIC Department of Psychiatry in 2014 and is funded by grants awarded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Recent publications:

Weafer, J., Ross T.J., O’Connor S., Stein E.A., de Wit H., Childs E. (2018) Striatal activity correlates with stimulant-like effects of alcohol in healthy volunteers. Neuropsychopharmacology. 43(13):2532-2538.

Crane N.A., Gorka S.M., Phan K.L, Childs E. (2018) Amygdala-orbitofrontal functional connectivity mediates the relationship between sensation seeking and alcohol use among binge-drinking adults. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 192:208-214.

Gorka S.M., Phan K.L., Childs E. (2018) Acute calming effects of alcohol are associated with disruption of the salience network. Addiction Biology. 23(3):921-930.

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

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. 177:136-144.

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. Addiction Biology 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. 36(5):906-14.

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.

Research Staff

Hyerim Yang

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







Dev Patel

Dev is a senior at Hinsdale Central High School. He is completing a research project in the lab and hoping to study Biology and Psychology at university next year.


Former Lab Members 


                                                                                             Kiran Ladhani


              Nia Sotto                                                                                                                                                                                           Jessica DeArcangelis 





                                                                                                            Dr. Joseph Lutz                          

                  Mike Bremmer