UAMS.EDU

Ashley Acheson, Ph.D.

Positions

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Director, Program on the Translational Science of Drug Abuse

Contacts

E-mail: awacheson@uams.edu

Research Experience

I am a behavioral neuroscientist focused on identifying behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms contributing to alcohol and other substance use disorders, and my hope is that research in this area will lead to more effective prevention and treatment strategies.

My research career began as an undergraduate volunteering in the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s only behavioral neuroscience laboratory.  In 1999 I began the Behavioral Neuroscience doctoral program at the University at Buffalo SUNY where I studied neural substrates regulating examining impulsivity, cognition, and decision-making using rodent laboratory models. In 2004, I began a postdoctoral position in the University of Chicago NIDA Drug Abuse Research Training Program studying human laboratory models of impulsivity, cognition, and decision-making.  After completing my training in Chicago in 2006, I obtained training in neuroimaging with a postdoctoral position at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA, now UT Health) Research Imaging Center (now Research Imaging Institute). After completing my postdoc I joined the UTHSCSA Psychiatry Department as an Assistant Professor, where I completed a KL2 Scholar award.  After being promoted to Associate Professor, I left to join the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as an Associate Professor and Director of the Program on the Translational Sciences of Drug Abuse.

I have developed a collaborative, team-based research program examining brain and behavioral mechanisms contributing to risk for substance use disorders. My work is interdisciplinary, involving experts in behavioral and clinical assessments and interventions, neuroimaging, inflammation, genetics, and statistics. My approach has been guided by the principle of first seeking important questions to answer and then obtaining the necessary skills and collaborations to answer these questions rather than limiting myself to answering questions that can be addressed with any particular set of methods and techniques.  Much of my current research focus entails identifying potential behavioral and biological endophenotypes for alcohol and other substance use disorders.

Recent Publications

Lovallo WR, Enoch MA, Sorocco KH, Vincent AS, Acheson A, Cohoon AJ, Hodgkinson CA, Goldman D (2017). Joint Impact of Early Life Adversity and COMT Val158Met (rs4680) Genotypes on the Adult Cortisol Response to Psychological Stress. Psychosomatic Medicine. 79(6): 631-7. PMID: 28452825.

Acheson A, Wijtenburg SA, Rowland LM, Winkler A, Mathias CW, Hong LE, Jahanshad N, Patel B, Thompson PM, McGuire SA, Sherman PM, Kochunov P, Dougherty DM (2017) Reproducibility of tract-based white matter microstructural measures using the ENIGMA-DTI protocol. Brain and Behavior,7(2): e00615. PMID: 2823952.

Charles NE, Mathias CW, Acheson A, Dougherty DM (2017). Preadolescent sensation seeking and early adolescent stress relate to at-risk adolescents’ substance use by age 15. Addictive Behaviors, 69:1-7. PMID: 28095339.

Dougherty DM, Olvera RL, Acheson A, Hill-Kapturczak N, Ryan SR, Mathias CW (2016). Acute effects of methylphenidate on impulsivity and attentional behavior among adolescents comorbid for ADHD and conduct disorder. Journal of Adolescence, 53: 222-30. PMID: 27816696.

Acheson A, Lake SL, Bray BC, Liang Y, Charles NE, Ryan SR, Mathias CW, Dougherty DM (2016). Early Adolescent Trajectories of Impulsiveness and Sensation Seeking in Children of Fathers with Histories of Alcohol and Other Substance Use Disorders. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 40(12): 2622-2630. PMID:27706827.

Friedman CK, Ryan SR, Charles NE, Mathias CW, Acheson A, Dougherty DM (2016). Child problems as a moderator of relations between maternal impulsivity and family environment in a high-risk sample.  Substance Use & Misuse, 51(10): 1264-73. PMID: 27219839.

Mathias CW, Charles NE, Liang Y, Acheson A, Lake SL, Ryan SR, Olvera RL, Dougherty DM (2016). Pubertal maturation compression and behavioral impulsivity among boys at increased risk for substance use.  Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15(2): 61-73. PMID: 27174219.

Charles NE, Ryan SR, Bray BC, Mathias CW, Acheson A, Dougherty DM (2016). Altered developmental trajectories for impulsivity and sensation seeking among adolescent substance users. Addictive Behaviors, 60: 235-41. PMID: 27174219.

Ryan SR, Acheson A, Charles NE, Lake SL, Hernandez DL, Mathias CW, Dougherty DM (2016). Clinical and social/environmental characteristics in a community sample of children with and without family histories of substance use disorder in the San Antonio area: a descriptive study. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 25(4): 327-339. PMC Journal – In Process.

Lovallo WR, Enoch MA, Acheson A, Cohoon AJ, Sorocco KH, Hodgkinson CA, Vincent AS, Goldman D (2016). Early-Life Adversity Interacts with FKBP5 Genotypes: Altered Working Memory and Cardiac Stress Reactivity in the Oklahoma Family Health Patterns Project. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(7): 1724-32. PMID: 26632991.

Dougherty DM, Lake SL, Mathias CW, Ryan SR, Bray BC, Charles NE Acheson A (2015). Behavioral impulsivity and risk-taking trajectories across early adolescence in youths with and without family histories of alcohol and other drug use disorders. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 39(8): 1501-9. PMID: 26173617.

Acheson A, Tagaments MA, Winkler A, Rowland LM, Mathias CW, Wright SN, Hong LE, Kochunov P, Dougherty DM (2015). Striatal activity and impaired white matter increase frontal activity in youths with family histories of alcohol and other substance use disorders performing a go/no go task. Brain and Behavior, 5(7). PMID: 26221573.

Ryan SR, Friedman CK, Liang Y, Lake SL, Mathias CW, Charles NE, Acheson A, Dougherty DM (2015). Family functioning as a mediator of relations between family history of substance use disorder and impulsivity. Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment, 15: 17-24.  PMC Journal – In Process.

Lovallo WR, Enoch MA, Acheson A, Cohoon AJ, Sorocco KH, Hodgkinson CA, Vincent AS, Glahn DC, Goldman D (2015). Cortisol Stress Response in Men and Women Modulated Differentially by the Mu-Opioid Receptor Gene Polymorphism OPRM1 A118G. Neuropsychopharmacology, 40(11): 2546-54. PMID: 25881118.

Charles NE, Mathias CW, Acheson A, Bray BC, Ryan SR, Lake SL, Liang Y, Dougherty DM (2015). Increased Pre- and Early-Adolescent Stress in Youth with a Family History of Substance Use Disorder and Early Substance Use Initiation. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(10): 1954-67. PMID: 25788123.

Acheson A, Ray KL, Hines CS, Li K, Dawes MA, Mathias CW, Dougherty DM, Laird, AR (2015). Functional activation and effective connectivity differences in adolescent marijuana users performing a simulated gambling task. Journal of Addiction. PMID: 25692068.

Charles NE, Ryan SR, Acheson A, Mathias CW, Liang Y, Dougherty DM (2015). Childhood stress exposure among preadolescents with and without family histories of substance use disorders. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29(1): 192-200. PMID: 25134029.

Mathias CW, Duffing TM, Acheson A, Charles NE, Lake SL, Ryan SR, Liang Y, Dougherty DM (2015). Aggression as a predictor of early substance use initiation among youth with family histories of substance use disorders. Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment, 14(4): 230-240. PMID: 26752980.

Acheson A, Tagaments M,  Rowland LR, Mathias CW, Wright SN, Hong LE, Kochunov P, Dougherty DM (2014). Increased forebrain activations in youths with family histories of alcohol and other substance use disorders performing a go/no go task. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 38(12): 2944-2951. PMID: 25406902.

Acheson A, Wijtenburg SA, Rowland LM, Bray BC, Gaston F, Mathias CW, Fox PT, Lovallo WR, Wright SN, Hong LE, Dougherty DM, Kochunov P (2014). Combining diffusion tensor imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study reduced frontal white matter integrity in youths with family histories of substance use disorders. Human Brain Mapping, 35(12): 5877-87. PMID: 25044331.

Acheson A, Wijtenburg SA, Rowland LM, Winkler AM, Gaston F, Mathias CW, Fox PT, Lovallo WR, Wright SN, Hong LE, Dougherty DM, Kochunov P (2014). Assessment of whole brain white matter integrity in youths and young adults with a family history of substance-use disorders. Human Brain Mapping, 35(11): 5401-13. PMID: 24796636.

Dougherty DM, Charles NE, Mathias CW, Ryan SR, Olvera RL, Liang Y, Acheson A, (2014). Delay discounting differentiates pre-adolescents at high and low risk for substance use disorders based on family history. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 143: 105-111 PMID: 25096271.

Acheson A, Franklin C, Cohoon AJ, Glahn DC, Fox PT, Lovallo WR (2014). Anomalous Temporoparietal Activity in Individuals with a Family History of Alcoholism: Studies from the Oklahoma Family Health Patterns Project. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 38(6): 1639-45. PMID: 24848358.

Lovallo WR, Enoch, MA, Yechiam E, Glahn DC, Acheson A, Sorocco KH, Hodgkinson CA, Kim B, Cohoon AJ, Vincent AS, Goldman D (2014). Differential Impact of Serotonin Transporter Activity on Temperament and Behavior in Persons with a Family History of Alcoholism in the Oklahoma Family Health Patterns Project. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 38(6): 1575-81. PMID: 24867528.