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NINDSNIMHNICHDNIDCDNEINIDCRNIANIAAANIDANHGRI NCCIHNIDDKNIEHSCCB

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Senior Investigator

Kenzie L Preston, Ph.D.

Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Research Branch


Room 01B602
251 Bayview Blvd Suite 200
Baltimore MD 21224
Office: 443-740-2326
Lab: 443-740-2326
Fax: 443-740-2318
kpreston@intra.nida.nih.gov

Kenzie L. Preston, Ph.D., Senior Investigator and Chief of the Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Research Branch in NIDA.


Post Doctoral Fellowship - Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baltimore, MD


Ph.D. - Pharmacology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL


B.S. with Honors - Pharmacy, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL



The goals of Dr. Preston’s research are to develop and test the efficacy and safety of new treatments for drug abuse and to understand the individual and environmental factors that affect drug taking and relapse. The primary focus is on evaluating treatments for cocaine and opioid abuse, including both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic (psychosocial and behavioral) treatments. Related projects are evaluating the effects of specifically targeted counseling programs for reducing high-risk HIV-transmission behaviors, developing new screening and assessment tools (questionnaires, drug-screening methods) for testing potential treatment medications, and assessing the effects of patient characteristics (e.g., co-morbidity, family history, drug metabolism) on compliance, treatment outcome, and other clinical variables. Another major focus of the research is developing field tools to measure the effect of psychosocial stress as it occurs in daily life. With these tools, individuals with substance use disorders provide behavioral and physiological data in real time in their usual environments. Behavioral and physiological data are linked with a geographical location that can be codified in terms of objective ratings of neighborhood disarray, enabling the lab to relate indices of community-level risk to intensive field measurements of individual attempts at behavior change. The field measurements are supplemented with laboratory data from the same pool of participants, enabling assessment of dysregulation of biological responses to stress and its association with time spent in particular environments. The field tools will also enable a more sophisticated, integrative approach to the study of interactions between genes and environment in determining health outcomes.

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  • 1) Kowalczyk, W., Phillips, K.A., Jobes, M.L., Kennedy, A.P., Ghitza, U., Agage, D., Schmittner, J.P., Epstein, D.H., Preston, K.L. (2015)
  • Clonidine Maintenance Prolongs Opioid Abstinence and Decouples Stress From Craving in Daily Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial With Ecological Momentary Assessment
  • American Journal of Psychiatry, 2015, AiA:1-8:doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp, 2014.14081014
  • 2) Kennedy, A., Epstein, D.H., Jobes, M.L., Agage, D., Tyburski, M., Phillips, K.A., Ertin, E., Ali, A.A., Bari, R., Hossain, S.M., Hovsepian, K., Rahman, M.M., Kumar, S., and Preston, K.L (2015)
  • Continuous in-the-field measurement of heart rate: Correlates of drug use, craving, stress, and mood in polydrug users
  • Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2015 Apr 7. pii: S0376-8716(15)00180-5, doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.03.024
  • 3) Epstein, D.H., Tyburski, M., Craig, I.M., Phillips, K.A., Jobes, M.L., Vahabzadeh, M., Mezghanni, M., Lin, J.-L., Fur-Holden, C.D.M., and Preston, K.L (2014)
  • Real-time tracking of neighborhood surroundings and mood in urban drug misusers: application of a new method to study behavior in its geographical context
  • Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 134, 22–29
  • 4) Epstein, D.H., Marrone, G.F., Heishman, S.J., Schmittner, J.P., and Preston, K.L (2010)
  • Cocaine and tobacco: Craving and use during daily life
  • Addictive Behaviors, 35, 318-324
  • 5) Epstein, D.H., Willner-Reid, J., Vahabzadeh, M., Mezghanni, M., Lin, J. L., & Preston, K.L (2009)
  • Real-time electronic-diary reports of cue exposure and mood in the hours before drug craving and use
  • Archives of General Psychiatry, 66, 88-94
  • 6) Preston, K.L., Vahabzadeh, M., Schmittner, J.P., Lin, J.-L., Gorelick, D.A., and Epstein, D.H. (2009)
  • Cocaine craving predicts cocaine use during daily life
  • Psychopharmacology, 207, 291-301
  • 7) Epstein, D.H., Preston, K.L., Stewart, J., & Shaham Y (2006)
  • Toward a model of drug relapse: An assessment of the validity of the reinstatement procedure
  • Psychopharmacology, 189(1), 1-16
  • 8) Epstein, D., Hawkins, W., Covi, L., Umbricht, A., & Preston, K.L. (2003)
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy plus contingency management for cocaine use: Findings during treatment and across 12-month follow-up
  • Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 17, 73-82
  • 9) Preston, K.L., Umbricht, A., & Epstein, D.H (2000)
  • Methadone dose increase and abstinence reinforcement for treatment of continued heroin use during methadone maintenance
  • Archives of General Psychiatry, 57, 395-404
  • 10) Silverman, K., Higgins, S.T., Brooner, R.K., Montoya, I.D., Cone, E.J., Schuster, C.R., et al. (1996)
  • Sustained cocaine abstinence in methadone maintenance patients through voucher-based reinforcement therapy
  • Archives of General Psychiatry, 53, 409-415
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