Academic Title
Major Area(s) of Study
Professor, UCSD and Chief of Psychology, VA San Diego Healthcare System UCSD Neuropsychology
Address 858-552-8585 VA San Diego Healthcare System / Psychology Service / 3350 La Jolla Village Drive / San Diego, CA 92161

Graduate Institution

SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology

Research Description

Dr. Tapert’s research focuses on brain functioning in adolescents with substance use disorders, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, and neuropsychological testing. She also studies brain functioning in youths at risk for substance use disorders, investigating children with family histories of substance use disorders and with conduct disorder. Her studies evaluate adolescent brain development and gender differences. Recent work has focused on relationships between brain functioning and the progression of substance involvement, including the formation of alcohol and drug expectancies, coping skills, and brain response to substance-related stimuli to investigate the neural substrates of cue reactivity and craving. She has been awarded eight research grants from the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2008 was honored with the APA Division 50 Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution Award, and in 2010 was elected to Fellow status in the American Psychological Association.

Representative Publications
  • Tapert SF, Brown GG, Kindermann S, Cheung E, Frank LR, & Brown SA (2001). fMRI measurement of brain dysfunction in alcohol dependent young women. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 25, 236-245.

  • Bava S, Jacobus J, Thayer RE, & Tapert SF (2013). Longitudinal changes in white matter integrity among adolescent substance users. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37, 81-9.

  • Squeglia, L. M., Sorg, S. F., Dager Schweinsburg A., Wetherill, R. R., Pulido, C. & Tapert, S. F. (2012). Binge drinking differentially affects adolescent male and female brain morphometry. Psychopharmacology, 220, 529-39.


Dr. Sandra A. Brown / Dr. Sarah Mattson / Dr. Ed Riley / Dr. Marc Schuckit