||FACULTY PROFILE — Robert A. Zucker
Professor of Psychiatry & Psychology;
Director, Department of Psychiatry Substance Abuse Section; Director, Addiction Research Center
Director, Addiction Research Center
Ph.D. Harvard University
Psychology Office: 2901F Rachel Upjohn Building
Psychology Phone: 734-232-0280
Research and Teaching Interests
My major research activity centers on the multi-level etiology and course of alcohol and other drug use disorders. I conduct a high-risk-for-substance use disorder longitudinal study, now 24 years in operation, that began with 3 to 5 year olds who are now in their early to mid-twenties, and their parents who were in their 20s and 30s at study onset. My work has increasingly extended to include collaborators from Brown, UNC, Arizona State, U of Missouri, Idaho State, UIC, and the Prevention Research Institute, as well as internally with faculty from ISR, MBNI, UMTRI, and the Departments of Statistics and Human Genetics. The core focus remains the same: to longitudinally characterize behavioral course and risk into young adulthood, find what social environmental factors mediate or moderate risk development and offset, and at what ages, and examine the developmental course of alcoholism in adulthood, including psychosocial functioning, marital interaction patterns, and health consequences. Recent work has focused on identifying the critical neural circuitry involved in risk (fMRI work, collaborating with Mary Heitzeg and Jon-Kar Zubieta), the specific genes responsible for risky behavior (collaborating with Margit Burmeister and her group at MBNI), the major social environmental factors that moderate risk development (work with UNC and within my own staff), and the development of mechanistic models to characterize the across-domain relationships (primarily led by me but with collaborations).
Another focus, based on a long term interest in prevention, has been the utilization of my longitudinal study data, along with work from 4 other studies nationally, to find screening items for high risk for drinking among predrinkers (ages 5-12), with the notion that an effective screener would have utility in pediatricians’ offices, with school counselors, etc. A special interest is whether we can identify particularly high risk youngsters. This work is a collaboration organized and run by NIAAA, where I am one of the collaborating scientists in the initiative.
Another major focus of activity is the development of substance abuse research infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe. This program, funded by NIH’s Fogarty International Center and NIDA, is now in its 9th year of operation. It involves collaborations with the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw, as well as collaborations with the Institute and Centre for Treatment of Drug Dependencies in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, the Department of Psychiatry and Narcology at Riga Stradins University in Riga, Latvia, the Clinical and Social Narcology Department at the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Social, Forensic Psychiatry and Narcology, in Kiev, and the Department for Prevention and Treatment of Drug Addictions at the Institute of Neurology, Psychiatry and Narcology of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the Ukraine, in Kharkov.
The long term intent of this activity is the development and extension of research programs for the evaluation of existing treatment and prevention programming, the conduct of new clinical trials in these areas, the conduct of more basic research on etiology and clinical course, and the development of increased educational programs to sustain the learning that is initiated by training program exposure. In addition to the focus on developing clinical and etiological research infrastructure, a second long-term goal is the development of research collaborations between program graduates and UM faculty.
- Zucker, R. A. (2006). Alcohol use and the alcohol use disorders: A developmental-biopsychosocial systems formulation covering the life course. In D. Cicchetti & D.J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Vol. 3. Risk, disorder and adaptation (2nd ed., pp. 620-656). New York: Wiley.
- Buu, A., Mansour, M., Wang, J., Refior, S.K., Fitzgerald, H.E., & Zucker, R.A (2007). Alcoholism effects on social migration and neighborhood effects on alcoholism over the course of 12 years. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 31(9), 1545-1551.
- Heitzeg, M.M., Nigg, J.T., Yau, W-Y. W., Zubieta, J.K. & Zucker, R.A. (2008). Affective circuitry and risk for alcoholism in late adolescence: Differences in frontostriatal responses between vulnerable and resilient children of alcoholic parents. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 32(3), 414–426.
- Zucker, R.A., Donovan, J.E., Masten, M., & Moss, H. (2008). Early developmental processes and the continuity of risk for underage drinking and problem drinking. Pediatrics, 121(4), S252-S272.
- Zucker, R.A. (2008). Anticipating problem alcohol use developmentally from childhood into middle adulthood: What have we learned? Addiction, 103 (Suppl. 1), 100-108.
- Zucker, R.A., Nigg, J., & Heitzeg, M. (2010, In Press). Parsing the undercontrol/disinhibition pathway to substance use disorders: A multilevel developmental problem. Child Development Perspectives.
Honors and Awards
- Past-President of Division on Addictions, Division 50 of American Psychological Association (APA)
- Founding Member, Polish Society on Addiction Research (Polskie Towarzystwo Badañ nad Uzale¿nieniami (PTBU))
- 2006 Elected to Polish Society of Psychiatrists Hall of Fame
- Board Member, Research Society on Alcoholism
- 2010 Research Society on Alcoholism Distinguished Researcher Award