In This Section

Mary F. Morrison, MD, MSResearch Programs

The Department of Psychiatry is involved in collaborative, multidisciplinary research efforts throughout the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, the University, and with members of our Adjunct Faculty. Some of our projects and collaborations are discussed below.

For more information about research efforts in the Department of Psychiatry, particularly for interested residency candidates, or to discuss a patient related clinical trial please contact: Mary F. Morrison, MD, MS, Vice Chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry, Professor of Psychiatry, Internal Medicine and Center for Substance Abuse Research at:


Center for the Development of Novel Medications for Cocaine Use Disorders

Cocaine addiction is a devastating disorder. In Philadelphia, the past 5 years have seen a rapid increase in overdose deaths associated with cocaine. Dr. Mary F. Morrison, Vice Chairperson for Research in the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. M. Ingre Walters, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Dr. Helene Khalid, Mr. Eric Cunningham and Ms. Yaminah Carter have been studying the effect of clavulanic acid as a treatment for cocaine use disorder with funding from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Drs. Morrison, Yaminah and Ingre

Center for Substance Abuse Research

This NIH-funded research center serves to facilitate multidisciplinary research on drugs of abuse and the consequences of their use, whether abused or therapeutic. This mission encompasses understanding the effects of the drugs on various systems in the body, as well as the study of the receptors to which the drugs bind, the signal transduction pathways they evoke, alterations that they induce in gene expression, neuronal pathways that they stimulate, and behaviors that they induce. Ellen Unterwald, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, is the Director of the Center.

Research on substance abuse is particularly important to the Department because a significant proportion of the patients treated by us have problems with drug abuse. Substance abuse is an important contributing factor to other psychiatric disorders. The course of psychiatric illness can be affected by co-existing substance abuse, which can also impede effective treatment. A better understanding of the social, psychological and biological factors influencing vulnerability to and treatment of substance abuse will relieve disease burden and improve outcomes for many of our patients.

Clinical Trials

No active trials. 

Residents Ryan and Jacob

Psychiatry and Thoracic Medicine Collaboration

Drs. Ryan Serdenes and Jacob Weiss (pictured right) had a poster investigating the Association Between COPD and Depression and Anxiety accepted by the American Psychiatric Association Meeting for presentation in May 2021. Drs. Uju Madtha, née Ogbuawa (pictured below), Jahaira Lopez-Pastrana (pictured right) and Mary F. Morrison were co-authors from the Department of Psychiatry. Victor Kim, MD, from the Department of Thoracic Medicine, and Huaqing Zhao, PhD were also co-authors on this study utilizing data from the Spiromics cohort.

Research by Residents

Caesar Imperio, MD

CaesarDr. Imperio has been on the Residency Research track during his Psychiatry residency. A detailed description is provided in the Subspecialty Track Section of the Residency Program. This track provides protected time and mentorship to residents with outstanding research potential and interest. Caesar has been working in the laboratory of Dr. Mathieu Wimmer in the Department of Psychology at Temple University. Dr. Imperio is interested in what contributes to relapse in people with substance use disorders. In particular, he is working to understand what changes persist at the neural mRNA level. Currently he is exploring the transcriptomics of female rats who self-administered morphine and then have enforced drug abstinence, and what molecular changes endure in key brain regions for addiction.

Tara Thompson-Felix, MD

Dr. Thompson-Felix investigated changes in human fetal brains related to chronic exposure to opiate related drugs, in the laboratory of Dr. Mat Wimmer in the Department of Psychology at Temple.

Check out Tara’s talk (Crossing Barriers) on the National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative in the This “Stuff” is Really Cool section.

Tara wrote a commentary on “Nanovesicles: A Window into Neuronal Functioning” with Dr. David A. Ross at Yale. Read it: PMID: 31046939 and DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.03.976


Allison Loudermilk, DO

Dr. Loudermilk has studied the treatment preferences of 50 midlife (ages 35-60) women living in North Philadelphia.

Her poster “Urban, Midlife Women Express Their Mental Health Treatment Preferences” was presented at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in San Francisco in 2019.



Allison McKimm, MD

Dr. McKimm conducted an analysis of the effects of psychotropic drugs in a large cohort of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Her poster was presented at the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry in November of 2019.




Uju Ogbuawa, DO, MS

Dr. Ogbuawa conducted an analysis of the effects of psychotropic drugs on mortality in a longitudinal cohort of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Her poster was accepted by the American Psychiatric Association in 2020, but the presentation was cancelled due to the pandemic