Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Research)


Sarah A. Thomas, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist with a research program on adolescent risk behavior. Dr. Thomas’s research focuses on the use of novel biobehavioral methods, including neurobiological assessments, cardiovascular indices, social stress tasks, and allelic risk factors to investigate predictors and consequences of adolescent engagement in risk behavior, with an emphasis on substance use. Part of Dr. Thomas's research program has investigated dyadic interactions between parents and adolescents to understand how these patterns may contribute to or protect against adolescent risk behaviors. Dr. Thomas is currently investigating neurobehavioral mechanisms associated with adolescent cannabis use to understand factors that increase vulnerability to addiction in adolescence in a NIDA-funded project, using task-based and resting state MRI and behavioral tasks.

Dr. Thomas also researches the intersection of substance use and mental health to identify predictors and consequences of co-occurring disorders, and how substance use may contribute to acute psychiatric risk behaviors. Supported by a BBRF/NARSAD Young Investigator Award, Dr. Thomas is currently investigating how comorbid depressive symptoms in the context of adolescent cannabis use may be associated with biobehavioral markers of progression to addiction, and how these processes differ in adolescents with and without depression.


Brown Affiliations

Research Areas