NCANDA-San Diego is located at UC San Diego in the Department of Psychiatry. Our research group focuses on brain functioning in adolescents and young adults through the use of neuroimaging techniques, neuropsychological testing, clinical interviews, and mobile technology. A major focus is the identification of youth at risk for substance use disorders by evaluating factors such as family history, conduct disorder, coping skills, and alcohol expectancies. Our studies are assisting in the development of educational programs focused on prevention, treatment, and the long-term outcomes of adolescent substance users. For NCANDA-San Diego, we recruited subjects through local public and private school systems. We are now following over 212 youth. Participating youth and a parent or legal guardian complete a clinical interview and youth are administered a battery of neuropsychological tests. Structural, functional, and diffusion tensor images are collected at the UCSD Keck Center for Functional MRI located on the UCSD campus. In addition to the core measures, NCANDA UC San Diego collaborates with NCANDA SRI utilizing functional MRI to measure brain activation between different groups with and without alcohol use histories using a modified Stroop match-to-sample task, and with NCANDA Duke and NCANDA OHSU to examine short-term recovery from heavy drinking.


Susan F. Tapert, Ph.D. - NCANDA-San Diego Principal Investigator and Co-PI for the Administrative Resource. Dr. Tapert a licensed clinical psychologist, Professor of Psychiatry, and Associate Chair of Academic Affairs in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego.

Tom Liu, Ph.D. - Co-investigator for NCANDA UC San Diego, Director of Center for Functional MRI, and Professor of Radiology and Psychiatry at UC San Diego.

MJ Meloy, Ph.D. - Co-Investigator on NCANDA-San Diego. Dr. Meloy is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and MR Technologist.

Alejandro Meruelo, M.D., Ph.D. - Co-Investigator on NCANDA-San Diego. Dr. Meruelo is an Assistant Adjunct Professor and Psychiatrist at UC San Diego.

Marybel Robledo Gonzalez, Ph.D. - Co-Investigator on NCANDA-San Diego. Dr. Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State University.


Sonja Eberson, M.A. - Lab Manager

Jordan Zuber, M.A. - Project Coordinator

Madison Wickershiem, B.S. - Research Associate

Mailing Address:

Dr. Susan Tapert
8950 Villa La Jolla Drive
Suite C213
La Jolla, CA 92037

Phone: 858-822-3995
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Site Coordinator:

Jordan Zuber