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Rita Goldstein

Rita Z. Goldstein, Ph.D.


Telephone: (631) 344-2657
e-mail: rgoldstein@bnl.gov ; see Neuropsychoimaging web site

Education & Concurrent Positions

1/1992 B.A., Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. Majors: Psychology and French (Cum Laude); 1998-1999 Intern, Clinical Neuropsychology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Hillside Hospital, New Hyde Park, NY; 8/1999 Ph.D., Dept. of Psychology, Health Clinical track, University of Miami, FL (Award of Academic Merit); 1999 - 2002 Post-doctorate research associate, training fellowship on Brain Imaging and Alcohol Abuse from the NIH, SUNY Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY; 1/2001 New York State Psychology License; 2002 Assistant Scientist, Medical Research, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY; 2002 Affiliate, Department of Psychology, State University of NY at Stony Brook; 2003 Affiliate, Department of Biomedical Engineering, State University of NY at Stony Brook; 2004 Associate Scientist, Medical Research, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY; October 2006 Scientist, Medical Research, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY. 

Honors and Awards 

1994 – 1998 Graduate Research Assistantships, University of Miami, FL; 1994 – 1998 Letters of Commendation, Department of Psychology, University of Miami, FL; 1997 – 1998 Graduate student travel scholarships, the Max and Peggy Kriloff scholarship and U of Miami, FL; 1998 Stanley Foundation Scholarship for research, Hillside Hospital, NY; 2003 – present Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K-23), NIDA; 2003 – present Young Investigator Award, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia And Depression; 3/22/2005 Woman of the Year in Science, Brookhaven Town Award.

Research Interests

Neuroimaging, drug addiction, neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience

My primary research interest lies in studying the interplay between the cognitive-emotional-behavioral and neurobiological changes that accompany cocaine addiction with the goal of understanding the mechanisms that underlie the recurring nature of addiction to drugs (intoxication, withdrawal, craving, relapse).  

In this study of the brain-behavior mechanisms that underlie drug addiction, I place a special emphasis on the role of the prefrontal cortex and the mesocortical and mesolimbic dopamine brain circuits in the impaired ability to change ongoing behavior (willed-behavior) in response to an emotionally salient feedback.  

This intricate study of the interaction between brain and behavior incorporates the interrelated yet distinct research disciplines of neuroimaging, cognitive neuroscience, and neuropsychology. My research embraces this multidisciplinary approach, translating into patient-oriented clinical research settings the principles of non-invasive techniques to measure brain function such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), event-related potential (ERP) recordings, and neuropsychology.

Current Projects
(also see Neuropsychoimaging web site): Subjects are currently being recruited for all projects. 

1.  Does salience of money change for drug addicted individuals?

This is an ongoing fMRI and ERP study where subjects are scanned in our 4 T scanner or ERPs are recorded while performing a Go/No-Go task under varying monetary conditions. See American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 43-51, 2007.

2.  How does salience of drug cues affect attentional processes and inhibitory control in drug addiction?

This is a task we have designed for fMRI in collaboration with Suparna Rajaram, Ph.D., at SUNY Stony Brook. See Neuroscience, 144, 1153-1159.

3.  Applying computer science approaches to the study of I-RISA in addiction.

Here we apply newly designed machine learning techniques to enhance our study of addiction and other problem behavior (e.g., aggression). This is accomplished in collaboration with Dimitris Samaras, Ph.D., at SUNY Stony Brook. See Proceedings 1-3, below.

4.  The neuropsychology of drug addiction.

In this project, we use neuropsychological assessment techniques to probe into the cognitive-behavioral and personality-emotional correlates of drug addiction. We use instruments such as the Stroop and Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) in combination with data from functional neuroimaging studies to learn about cognition (e.g., inhibitory control, planning and organization, decision-making, salience attribution) and emotion (fear, anger) in drug addiction.

5. Prediction of relapse in drug addiction.

Here we use neuropsychological, fMRI and ERP results collected at a drug-free baseline to predict relapse status at follow-up in cocaine addicted individuals. Collaborations: Efrat Aharonovich, Ph.D., at Columbia University; Rajita Sinha, Ph.D., at Yale University School of Medicine.

6. Extinction learning and emotional regulation in drug addiction.

This is a new project we have initiated in collaboration with Elizabeth Phelps, Ph.D., at New York University, to study the neurobiological mechanisms underlying resistance to reward extinction in cocaine addicted individuals. 

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  1. Raz S, Goldstein R, Hopkins TL, Lauterbach MD, Shah F, Porter CL, Riggs WW, MaGill LH, Sander CJ. (1994). Sex differences in early vulnerability to cerebral injury and their neurodevelopmental implications.  Psychobiology, 22(3), 244-253.

  2. Goldstein R, Harvey AS, Duchowny M, Jayakar P, Altman N, Resnick T, Levin B, Dean P, Alvarez L. (1996). Preoperative clinical, EEG, and imaging findings do not predict seizure outcome following temporal lobectomy in childhood. Journal of Child Neurology, 1(6), 445-450.

  3. Goldstein RZ, Volkow ND, Wang G-J, Fowler JS, Rajaram S. (2001). Addiction changes orbitofrontal gyrus function: involvement in response inhibition. NeuroReport, 12(11), 2595-2599.

  4. Goldstein RZ, Hurwitz BE, Llabre MM, Schneiderman N, Gutt M, Skyler JS, Prineas RJ, Donahue RP. (2001). Modeling preclinical cardiovascular risk for use in epidemiologic studies: Miami community health study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 154(8), 765-776.

  5. Goldstein RZ, Giovannetti T, Schullery TM, Zuffante P, Lieberman JA, Robinson DG, Barr WB, Bilder RM. (2002). Neurocognitive correlates of response to treatment in formal thought disorder in first-episode schizophrenia. Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, and Behavioral Neurology, 15(2), 88-98.

  6.  Goldstein RZ, Volkow ND, Chang L, Wang G-J, Fowler JS, Depue RA, Gur RC. (2002). The Orbitofrontal Cortex in Methamphetamine Addiction: Involvement in Fear.  NeuroReport, 13(17), 1-5.

  7. Goldstein RZ, Volkow ND. (2002). Drug Addiction and its Underlying Neurobiological Basis: Neuroimaging Evidence for the Involvement of the Frontal Cortex. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(10), 1642-1652.  *Cited >270 times.

  8. Volkow ND, Fowler JS, Wang G-J, Goldstein RZ. (2002). Role of Dopamine and the Frontal Cortex in Drug Addiction In Humans. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 78(3), 610-624.

  9. Giovannetti T, Goldstein RZ, Schullery TM, Barr WB & Bilder RM. (2003). Semantic knowledge degradation does not explain reduced category fluency in first episode schizophrenia patients.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 9, 384-393.

  10. Goldstein RZ, Leskovjan AC, Hoff AL, Hitzemann R, Bashan F, Khalsa SS, Wang G-J, Fowler JS, Volkow ND. (2004). Severity of neuropsychological impairment in drug addiction: association with metabolism in the brain reward circuit. Neuropsychologia, 42, 1447-1458. *5th most heavily downloaded, 7/05.

  11. Goldstein RZ, Alia-Klein N, Leskovjan AC, Fowler JS, Wang G-J, Gur RC, Hitzemann R, Volkow ND.  (2005). Anger and depression in cocaine addiction: association with the orbitofrontal cortex. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 138, 13-22.

  12. Volkow ND, Wang G-J, Begleiter H, Porjesz B, Fowler JS, Telang F, Ma Y, Wong C, Logan J, Goldstein RZ, Thanos PK, Alexoff D. (2006). High Dopamine D2 Receptors in Unaffected Members of Alcoholic Families: Possible Protective Factors. Archives of General Psychiatry 63, 999-1008.  

  13. Goldstein RZ, Cottone LA, Jia Z, Maloney T, Volkow ND, and Squires NK. (2006). The effect of graded monetary reward on cognitive event-related potentials and behavior in young healthy adults. International Journal of Psychophysiology 62, 272-279.

  14. Goldstein RZ, Alia-Klein N, Tomasi D, Zhang L, Cottone LA, Maloney T, Telang F, Caparelli EC, Chang L, Ernst T, Samaras D, Squires NK, and Volkow ND. (2007). Decreased prefrontal cortical sensitivity to monetary reward is associated with impaired motivation and self-control in cocaine addiction. American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 43-51.

  15. Goldstein RZ, Tomasi D, Alia-Klein N, Cottone LA, Zhang L, Telang F, and Volkow ND. (2006). Deficits in subjective sensitivity to gradients in monetary reward in cocaine abusers are associated with the orbitofrontal cortex. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 87, 233-240.

  16. Goldstein RZ, Tomasi D, Alia-Klein N, Zhang L, Telang F, and Volkow ND. (2007). The effect of practice on a sustained attention task in cocaine abusers. Neuroimage, 35, 194-206.

  17. Goldstein RZ, Tomasi D, Rajaram S, Cottone LA, Zhang L, Maloney T, Telang F, Alia-Klein N, and Volkow ND. (2007). Role of the anterior cingulate and medial orbitofrontal cortex in processing drug cues in cocaine addiction. Neuroscience, 144, 1153-1159.

  18. Goldstein RZ, Woicik PA, Lukasik T, Maloney T, Volkow ND. (2007). Drug Fluency: A Potential Marker for Current Cocaine Abuse. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 89, 97-101.

  19. Tomasi D, Goldstein RZ, Telang F, Maloney T, Alia-Klein N, Caparelli EC, Volkow ND. Thalamo-cortical dysfunction in cocaine abusers: implications in attention and perception. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 155, 189-201.

  20. Alia-Klein N, O'Rourke T, Goldstein RZ, Malaspina D. (2007). Insight into illness and adherence to psychotropic medications predict violence severity in a forensic sample. Aggressive Behavior, 33, 86-96.

  21. Alia-Klein N, Goldstein RZ, Tomasi D, Zhang L, Telang F, Wang G-J, Fowler JS, Volkow ND. What is in a word? No versus Yes differentially activate the lateral orbitofrontal cortex. Emotion 7(3), 649-659.

  22. Fowler JS, Alia-Klein N, Kriplani A, Logan J, Williams B, Zhu W, Craig IW, Telang F, Goldstein R, Volkow ND, Vaska P, Wang G-J. Evidence that brain MAO A activity does not correspond to MAO A genotype in healthy male subjects. Biological Psychiatry 62, 355-358.

  23. Tomasi D, Goldstein RZ, Telang F, Maloney T, Alia-Klein N, Caparelli EC, Volkow ND. Widespread disruption in brain activation patterns to a working memory task during cocaine abstinence. Brain Research 1171, 83-92.

  24.  Tomer R, Goldstein RZ, Wang G-J, Wong C, Volkow ND. (2007). Incentive motivation is associated with asymmetry in striatal markers of dopamine neurotransmission. Biological Psychology 77(1), 98-101.

  25. Alia-Klein N, Goldstein RZ, Logan J, Tomasi D, Kriplani A, Telang F, Shumay E, Biegon A, Henn F, Wang G-J, Volkow ND, Fowler JS. Brain MAO A Activity Associated with Trait Aggression. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(19), 5099-5104.  

  26. Woicik PA, Moeller SJ, Alia-Klein N, Maloney T, Lukasik T, Yeliosof O, Wang G-J, Volkow ND, Goldstein RZ. (2008). The Neuropsychology of Cocaine Addiction: Recent Cocaine Use Masks Impairment. Neuropsychopharmacology, in press.

  27. Alia-Klein N, Kriplani A, Pradhan K, Ma J-Y, Logan J, Williams B, Craig IW, Telang F, Tomasi D, Goldstein RZ, Wang G-J, Volkow ND, Fowler JS. (2008). The MAO A genotype does not modulate resting brain metabolism in adults. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, in press.

  28. Goldstein RZ, Parvaz MA, Maloney T, Alia-Klein N, Woicik PA, Telang F, Wang G-J, Volkow ND. (2008). Compromised sensitivity to monetary reward in current cocaine users: an ERP study. Psychophysiology 45, in press.

Peer-Reviewed Full-Length Proceedings

  1. Zhang L, Samaras D, Volkow ND, Goldstein R. (2005). Machine Learning for Clinical Diagnosis from Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (#169). In IEEE Proc. of Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition,I:1211-1217.

  2. Zhang L, Samaras D, Tomasi D, Alia-Klein N, Cottone LA, Leskovjan LC, Volkow ND, Goldstein R. (2005). Exploiting Temporal Information in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Brain Data. Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention, pp.679-687.

  3. Zhang L, Samaras D, Alia-Klein N, Volkow ND, Goldstein R. (2006). Modeling Neuronal Interactivity using Dynamic Bayesian Networks. 12.   In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 18, Y. Weiss, B. Scholkopf, and J. Platt, Eds. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Book Chapters

  1. Hurwitz BE, Goldstein R, Massie CA, Llabre MM, Schneiderman N. (2000). Low-flow circulatory state and the pathophysiological development of  cardiovascular disease:  A model of autonomic mediation of cardiovascular regulation.  In P.M. McCabe, N. Schneiderman, T. Field, & A. R. Wellens (Eds.), Stress, Coping, and Cardiovascular Disease. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, NJ, pp 85-122.  

  2. Goldstein RZ, Alia-Klein N, Cottone LA, Volkow ND. (2006). Addiction and the Orbitofrontal Cortex. In D Zald & S Rauch (Eds.), The Orbitofrontal Cortex. Oxford University Press.

  3.  Volkow ND, Wang G-J, Fowler JS, Goldstein RZ. (2006). Imaging the Addicted Brain. In BK Madras, CM Colvis, JD Pollock, JL Rutter, D Shurtleff, & MV Zastrow (Eds.), Cell Biology of Addiction. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

  4. Goldstein RZ, Alia-Klein N, Volkow ND. (2008). Drugs of Addiction: Neuroimaging. In Larry R Squire, Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, Academic Press, Oxford.  

Interviews in Media

  1. Brain Matter, North Shore Sun, by A. Clancy, 10/25/02.

  2. Addicts' Brains Work Harder to Control Behavior, Press release by Brookhaven National Laboratory, 12/3/02.

  3. A documentary of drug addiction for the RAI Italian National TV Channel, by Marco Rosi of DocLab Productions, 2006.

  4. Altered Perception of Reward in Human Cocaine Addiction, Press release by Brookhaven National Laboratory, 10/15/06. Appeared also on: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com

  5. How drug skews values, Newsday, by J. Talan, 10/17/06.

  6. Cocaine alters brain cells, impairs impulse control, Reuters Health, by M. Kerr, 10/18/06.

  7. The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC, New York Public Radio: Brief Histories, Please Explain: Cocaine, 01/12/07. Listen or download from: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2007/01.

  8. Combating Addiction, Congressional Quarterly Research, by M. Clemmitt, 2/9/07.

  9. Riddle of addiction lures researchers: complex network of brain mechanisms underlies cravings, San Francisco Chronicle, by C. Hall, 2/11/07.

  10. Conversations with six leading neuroscientists on timely topics in brain research: Addiction and the +Prefrontal Cortex, Dana Foundation Press: featured in the 2007 Advances in Brain Research: Brain Work, by B. Patoine, 2/28/07.

  11. Something of Substance, interview and TV documentary on alcoholism, substance abuse and mental health, Suffolk County Dept. of  Health Services, by M. Myers, aired April, 2007.

Full Length CV


Last updated 08/11/08