About Sara J Nixon
Dr. Nixon is a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, Chief of Addiction Research, Director of the Biobehavioral Core of the University of Florida Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and Director of the Neurocognitive Laboratory in the UF Department of Psychiatry. She is an experienced clinical researcher in the area of substance abuse and dependence.
Because of the complex nature of substance abuse, her work uses comprehensive behavioral assessments including neuropsychological testing, brain electrophysiology (electroencephalography and event-related potentials), and clinical research interviews. This work has provided many opportunities for Dr. Nixon to provide training to graduate students and post-doctoral associates.
In addition to neurobehavioral research, Dr. Nixon has sustained a strong interest in community outreach and education. During her tenure in Oklahoma, she was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Oscar A. Parsons Summer Institute which engaged experts from across the country in the provision of education and training programs for community service providers and she was a key component (with Dr. Deborah Jones-Saumty) in the American Indian Research Group of Oklahoma which fostered substance-related research initiatives among the non-reservation residing tribes in the state. Following the Oklahoma City Bombing (1995), she diverted a portion of her efforts to another concern; the psychiatric impact of the tragedy on the community and emergency responders. Her continued commitment to community outreach is reflected in her on-going work focusing on the cognitive, psychological and social concomitants of substance use and her participation in a variety of workshops, seminars, committees and councils.
Dr. Nixon has authored over 110 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters as well as edited two books. She has made over 200 scientific presentations and held grants and awards from a variety of private, state and national sources including the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and more. She is completing her tenure as the Immediate Past President of the Research Society on Alcoholism. Within the American Psychological Association, Dr. Nixon is a Fellow in both Divisions 28 (Substance Use and Psychopharmacology) and 50 (Addiction) of the American Psychological Association. She served as the Member-at-large for Division 50 from 2006-2009.
Dr. Nixon uses neurobehavioral methods and models to examine the acute and chronic effects of alcohol and other drugs. Within her clinical research, her team also explores sex differences, the effects of age, and the import of ethnic/racial minority status.
Because of the complex nature of substance abuse, Dr. Nixon’s work uses comprehensive behavioral assessments including neuropsychological testing, brain electrophysiology (electroencephalography and event-related potentials), and clinical research interviews. In addition to neurobehavioral research, Dr. Nixon has sustained a strong interest in community outreach and education. Her continued commitment to community outreach is reflected in her on-going work focusing on the cognitive, psychological and social concomitants of substance use.
Another study in her laboratory includes analysis of a recently completed study funded by the NIAAA exploring the acute effects of alcohol in healthy older (55-70) and younger social drinkers. Although recruitment for this study has concluded, several key issues including the analysis of sex differences and driving performance under different conditions remain to be examined.
In addition to these efforts, her team is involved in the conduct of a pilot study designed to assess the feasibility and efficacy of an FDA approved medication on cognition and abstinence in small group of men and women seeking treatment for alcohol use disorders. In the near future, we anticipate initiating a Phase 2 trial that will examine the impact of a new compound on smoking cessation efforts in a sample of healthy current smokers.