Emma Childs, PhD


Jul 2007 - Present: Research Associate (Assistant Professor), HBPL, Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago.

Sept 2004 - Jun 2007: Postdoctoral Research Scholar, HBPL, Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago.

May 2004: PhD, The Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, UK. "Interactions between stimulus properties of cocaine in relation to its abuse."

Research Interests:

I have conducted research here to examine interactions between the acute effects of psychoactive substances and stress. I have also assessed how sex, menstrual cycle, and genetics alter stress responses. Another area of research is how the effects of caffeine are altered by levels of arousal, habitual use and genetic factors. More recently, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Indiana and at the National Institute of Drug Abuse, I have used fMRI to assess neural responses to acute doses of psychoactive drugs delivered intravenously. Other interests include developing models of conditioned drug effects in order to evaluate potential medications to prevent relapse, and studying individual differences in responses to alcohol that influence the development of alcohol use disorders.


Dlugos A, Childs E, Stuhr KL, Hillard CJ, de Wit H. (2012). Acute Stress Increases Circulating Anandamide and Other N-Acylethanolamines in Healthy Humans. Neuropsychopharmacology [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 22763622

Childs E, Roche DJO, King AC, de Wit H (2011). Varenicline potentiates alcohol-induced negative subjective responses and offsets impaired eye movements. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. PMID: 22339626

Stolerman IP, Childs E, Ford MM, Grant KA. (2011). The role of training dose in drug discrimination: a review. Behavioural Pharmacology. 22(5-6):415-29. PMID: 21808191

Childs E, O'Connor S, de Wit H. (2011). Bidirectional interactions between acute psychosocial stress and acute intravenous alcohol in healthy men. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 35(10). 1794-803. PMID: 21762177

Stolerman IP, Childs E, Ford MM, Grant KA. (2011). Role of training dose in drug discrimination: a review. Behavioral Pharmacology. 22(5-6):415-29. PMID: 21808191

Childs E, de Wit H. (2010). Effects of acute psychosocial stress upon cigarette craving and smoking. Nicotine and Tobacco Research. 12(4):449-53. PMID: 20100807

Hamidovic A, Childs E, Conrad M, King A, de Wit H. (2010). Stress-induced changes in mood and cortisol release predict mood effects of amphetamine. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 109(1-3):175-80. PMID: 20176450

Childs E, Dlugos A, de Wit H. (2010). Cardiovascular, hormonal and emotional responses to the TSST in relation to sex and menstrual cycle phase. Psychophysiology. 47(3):550-9. PMID: 20070572

Roche D, Childs E, Epstein A, King A (2010). Acute HPA Axis Response to Naltrexone Differs in Female vs. Male Smokers. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 35(4):596-606. PMID: 19837518

Childs E, Van Dam N.T., de Wit H. (2010). Effects of acute progesterone administration upon responses to the TSST in humans. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. 18(1): 78-86. PMID: 20158297

Childs E, de Wit H. (2009). Hormonal, cardiovascular, and subjective responses to acute stress in smokers. Psychopharmacology (Berlin). 203(1):1-12.PMID: 18936915

Childs E, de Wit H. (2009). Amphetamine-Induced Place Preference in Humans. Biological Psychiatry. 65(10):900-4. PMID: 19111278

Childs E, Hohoff C, Deckert J, Ke X, Badner J, de Wit H. (2008). Association between A2A and D2 receptor gene polymorphisms and caffeine-induced anxiety. Neuropsychopharmacology 33(12):2791-800. PMID: 18305461

Childs E, de Wit H. (2008). Enhanced mood and psychomotor performance by a caffeine-containing energy capsule in fatigued individuals. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol, 16: 13-21. PMID: 18266548

de Wit H, Vicini L, Childs E, Sayla MA, Terner J. (2007). Does stress reactivity or response to amphetamine predict smoking pregression in young adults? A preliminary study. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 86: 312-319. PMID: 16919319

Childs E, Vinci LM, de Wit H. (2006). Responses to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) in single versus grouped participants. Psychophysiology, 43: 366-71. PMID: 16916432

Childs E, Shoaib M, Stolerman IP. (2006). Cocaine self-administration in rats with histories of cocaine exposure and discrimination. Psychopharmacol, 186: 168-76. PMID: 16596400

Childs E, de Wit H. (2006). Subjective, behavioral, and physiological effects of acute caffeine in light, nondependent caffeine users. Psychopharmacol, 185: 514-23. PMID: 16541243

Stolerman IP, Childs E, Hahn B, Morley A. (2002) Drug trace discrimination with nicotine and morphine in rats. Behav Phamacol, 13: 49-58. PMID: 11990719