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, with a rapid increase in with overdose deaths.  There are no effective medications for treatment.  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, NIDA Postdoctoral Fellow are studying the effects of a beta-lactam medication on glutamate levels in brain areas associated with addiction.

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

Pending for Fall 2019, Dr. Justin Faden, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, will be leading a study to improve treatment of agitation in the inpatient setting.

Research by Residents

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 accepted and will be presented at the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry in November of 2019.