Brandon Oberlin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology (IUSM), and Psychology (IUPUI)

GH 4159
(317) 963-7215
Lab Website:
Research Areas:
Behavioral & Addiction Neuroscience | Addiction Neuroscience


My research interests span the range of addiction development: risk factors; maintenance and progression; and, recovery and relapse prevention. Currently, the focus in my lab is on unhealthy decision-making, behavioral traits linked to addiction/alcoholism disorders and related brain activation. We use neuroimaging (fMRI) to better understand how the brain makes addiction decisions, and what individual characteristics relate to impulsivity and predict addiction risk. Collaborations with other IU School of Medicine and IUPUI researchers target risk factors, brain dopamine systems, the use of controlled alcohol administration and behavioral sensation seeking. Our recent work in the area of recovery and relapse prevention targets decision-making by invoking the future. My hope is that these approaches will eventually enable better outcomes for addiction treatment.


  • B.S. 2003 (Biology), University of Oregon
  • Ph.D. 2010 (Medical Neuroscience), Indiana University School of Medicine

Publications & Professional Activity

  1. Oberlin BG, Carron CR, Ramer NE, Plawecki MH, O’Connor SJ, Kareken DA (2021) Intoxication effects on impulsive alcohol choice in heavy drinkers; correlation with sensation seeking and differential effects by commodity. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 45(1). PMCID: PMC7855750
  2. Amico E, Dzemidzic M, Oberlin B, Carron C, Harezlak J, Goni J, Kareken D (2020) The disengaging brain: Dynamic transitions from cognitive engagement and alcoholism risk. NeuroImage 209.
  3. Oberlin BG, Shen YI, Kareken DA (2020) Alcohol use disorder interventions targeting brain sites for both conditioned reward and delayed gratification. Neurotherapeutics 17(1):70-86. PMCID: PMC7007465
  4. Oberlin BG, Ramer NE, Bates SM, Shen YI, Myslinski JS, Kareken DA, Cyders MA (2020) Quantifying Behavioral Sensation Seeking with the Aroma Choice Task. Assessment 27(5): 873-886. PMCID: PMC7021169
  5. Oberlin BG, Džemidžić M, Eiler II WJA, Carron CR, Soeurt CM, Plawecki MH, Grahame NJ, O’Connor SJ, Kareken DA (2018) Pairing neutral cues with alcohol intoxication: new findings in executive and attention networks. Psychopharmacology 235(9): 2725-2737. PMCID: PMC6119082
  6. Eiler II WJA, Džemidžić M, Soeurt CM, Carron CR, Oberlin BG, Considine RV, Harezlak J, Kareken DA (2018) Family history of alcoholism and the human brain response to oral sucrose. NeuroImage: Clinical 17: 1036-1046. PMCID: PMC5767843.
  7. Oberlin BG, Džemidžić M, Harezlak J, Kudela MA, Tran SM, Soeurt CM, Yoder KK, Kareken DA (2016) Corticostriatal and dopaminergic response to beer flavor with both fMRI and [11C]raclopride PET.  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 40(9): 1865-73.  PMCID: PMC5008996.
  8. Charpentier J, Džemidžić M, West JD, Oberlin BG, Eiler II WJA, Saykin AJ, Kareken DA (2016) Externalizing personality traits, empathy, and gray matter volume in healthy young drinkers. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 248: 64-72.  PMCID: PMCID: PMC4760619.
  9. Oberlin BG, Albrecht DS, Herring CM, Walters JW, Hile KL, Kareken DA, Yoder KK (2015) Monetary discounting and ventral striatal dopamine receptor availability in nontreatment-seeking alcoholics and social drinkers. Psychopharmacology 232(12): 2207-16. PMCID: PMC4545519.
  10. Weafer J, Džemidžić M, Eiler II WJA, Oberlin BG, Wang Y, Kareken DA (2015). Associations between regional brain physiology and trait impulsivity, motor inhibition, and impaired control over drinking. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 233(2): 81-87.  PMCID: PMC4536192.
  11. Oberlin BG, Džemidžić M, Tran SM, Soeurt CM, O’Connor SJ, Yoder KK, Kareken DA (2014) Beer self-administration provokes lateralized nucleus accumbens dopamine release in male heavy drinkers. Psychopharmacology 232(5): 861-70.  PMCID: PMC4326548.
  12. Kareken DA, Džemidžić M, Oberlin BG, Eiler II WJA (2013) A Preliminary Study of the Human Brain Response to Oral Sucrose and its Association with Recent Drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 37(12): 2058-65. [Selected for EurekAlert!] PMCID: PMC4166559.
  13. Kareken DA, Džemidžić M, Wetherill M, Eiler II W, Oberlin BG, Harezlak J, Wang J, O’Connor SJ (2013) Family history of alcoholism interacts with alcohol to affect brain regions involved in behavioral inhibition. Psychopharmacology 228(2): 335-45.  PMCID: PMC3695053.
  14. Oberlin BG, Džemidžić M, Tran SM, Soeurt CM, Albrecht DS, Yoder KK, Kareken DA (2013) Striatal dopamine release in response to beer flavor: mediation by family history of alcoholism. Neuropsychopharmacology 38(9): 1617-24. [Selected as Featured Article]  PMCID: PMC3717546.
  15. Schulte T, Oberlin BG, Kareken DA, Marinkovic K, Müller-Oehring EM, Meyerhoff DJ, Tapert S (2012) How Acute and Chronic Alcohol Consumption affects Brain Networks: Insights from Multimodal Neuroimaging. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 36(12): 2017-27.
  16. Oberlin BG, Džemidžić M, Bragulat V, Lehigh CA, Talavage T, O’Connor SJ, Kareken DA (2012) Limbic responses to reward cues correlate with antisocial trait density in heavy drinkers. NeuroImage 60(1): 644-52.  PMCID: PMC3288676.
  17. Oberlin BG, Best C, Matson L, Henderson A, Grahame N (2011) Derivation and characterization of replicate high- and low- alcohol preferring lines of mice and a high-drinking crossed HAP line. Behavior Genetics 41(2): 288-302.  PMCID: PMC4041157.
  18. Oberlin BG, Bristow RE, Heighton ME, Grahame NJ (2010) Pharmacologic dissociation between impulsivity and alcohol drinking in High Alcohol Preferring mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 34(8): 1363-75.  PMCID: PMC3967789.
  19. Fidler TL, Oberlin BG, Struthers AM, Cunningham CL (2009) Schedule of passive ethanol exposure affects subsequent intragastric ethanol self-infusion.  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 33(11): 1909-23.  PMCID: PMC2883445.
  20. Oberlin BG, Grahame NJ (2009) High alcohol preferring mice are more impulsive than low alcohol preferring mice as measured in the delay discounting task. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 33(7):1-10. [Selected for EurekAlert!]  PMCID: PMC2872785.


  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (K99/R00 AA023296)
  • Neural Bases of Alcohol-related Decision-making.  7/01/2015 – 6/30/2020; Oberlin (PI)
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (T32 AA007462)
  • Training Grant on Genetic Aspects of Alcoholism.  11/01/2010 – 10/31/2013; McBride (PI)
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (F31 AA016430)
  • Assessing Impulsivity in High Alcohol Preferring Mice.  09/16/2006 – 03/01/2010; Oberlin (PI)
  • Indiana University School of Medicine Graduate Fellowship (2004-2005 academic year)
  • University of Oregon McNair Scholar Fellowship (2002-2003 academic year)