Dara Ghahremani, Ph.D.

Dara Ghahremani, Ph.D.


Research Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Faculty Member, UCLA Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoids

Dr. Ghahremani received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the Psychology Department at Stanford University and was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Russell Poldrack at UCLA. His research aims to understand self-control behavior, its neural basis, how it is compromised in substance abuse, and how it may be strengthened using both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.

The self-control behaviors he focuses on include behavioral flexibility, response inhibition, and emotion regulation. He uses multiple neuroimaging techniques to investigate the neural basis of self-control, including functional MRI (fMRI) to measure brain activation while people perform various tests of self-control and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to measure neurochemical markers of dopamine function. His studies examine both healthy control participants and those that are substance abusers. These include adults who use methamphetamine and cigarettes as well as adolescent cigarette smokers and marijuana users. The interventions employed for potential enhancement of self-control behavior include pharmacological agents that show promise for enhancing cognitive function and non-pharmacological approaches (e.g., controlled breathing) that promote autonomic balance. His recent studies on non-pharmacological approaches have focused on the YES! for Schools program, a biopsychosocial workshop for adolescents that promotes self-regulation.


Behavioral and neural markers of cigarette-craving regulation in young-adult smokers during abstinence and after smoking.
Ghahremani DG, Faulkner P, M Cox C, London ED.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 43(7):1616-1622

Reduced-Nicotine Cigarettes in Young Smokers: Impact of Nicotine Metabolism on Nicotine Dose Effects.
Faulkner P, Ghahremani DG, Tyndale RF, Cox CM, Kazanjian AS, Paterson N, Lotfipour S, Hellemann GS, Petersen N, Vigil C, London ED.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2(8):1610-1618
Midbrain functional connectivity and ventral striatal dopamine D2-type receptors: link to impulsivity in methamphetamine users
M Kohno, K Okita, AM Morales, C Robertson, AC Dean, DG Ghahremani, ...
Molecular psychiatry 21 (11), 1554

The effects of pharmacological opioid blockade on neural measures of drug cue-reactivity in humans
KE Courtney, DG Ghahremani, LA Ray
Neuropsychopharmacology 41 (12), 2872-2881

Emotion dysregulation and amygdala dopamine D2-type receptor availability in methamphetamine users
K Okita, DG Ghahremani, DE Payer, CL Robertson, AC Dean, ...
Drug and alcohol dependence 161, 163-170

Relationship of alexithymia ratings to dopamine D2-type receptors in anterior cingulate and insula of healthy control subjects but not methamphetamine-dependent individuals
K Okita, DG Ghahremani, DE Payer, CL Robertson, MA Mandelkern, ...
International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 19 (5), pyv129

Denial in methamphetamine users: Associations with cognition and functional connectivity in brain
AC Dean, M Kohno, AM Morales, DG Ghahremani, ED London
Drug and alcohol dependence 151, 84-91

The association between cue-reactivity in the precuneus and level of dependence on nicotine and alcohol
KE Courtney, DG Ghahremani, ED London, LA Ray
Drug and alcohol dependence 141, 21-26

Risky decision making, prefrontal cortex, and mesocorticolimbic functional connectivity in methamphetamine dependence
M Kohno, AM Morales, DG Ghahremani, G Hellemann, ED London
JAMA psychiatry 71 (7), 812-820

Cigarette exposure, dependence, and craving are related to insula thickness in young adult smokers
AM Morales, D Ghahremani, M Kohno, GS Hellemann, ED London
Neuropsychopharmacology 39 (8), 1816

Functional Connectivity During Response Inhibition And Alcohol Cues Processing In Alcoholism
LA Ray, KE Courtney, D Ghahremani
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research 38, 299A

Risk-taking behavior: dopamine D2/D3 receptors, feedback, and frontolimbic activity
M Kohno, DG Ghahremani, AM Morales, CL Robertson, K Ishibashi, ...
Cerebral cortex 25 (1), 236-245