Dr. Erblich's research focuses on the interactions among emotional, cognitive, behavioral and genetic factors in cancer prevention and control. Current efforts focus on three areas: nicotine dependence, alcoholism, and familial breast cancer risk. In studying nicotine dependence, Dr. Erblich's research takes a multidisciplinary-translational approach, with hypotheses driven by both the human and animal literatures that have contributed to the current understanding of motivations for drug use. The overall goal of Dr. Erblich's research in this area is to better understand how cognitive-behavioral and genetic factors impact smoking behavior. Projects in this area include studies of the effects of dopamine-related genetic polymorphisms on smokers cigarette cravings induced by laboratory stressors, conditioned cues/triggers, and other manipulations. Also studied are effects of family history, cognitive factors, and personality factors on smoking behavior, as well as effects of alcoholism and polysubstance abuse. The research thus draws upon behavioral principles, such as personality, conditioning, and stress reactivity, as well as molecular biological principles, including genetic and cellular mechanisms of dopamine transmission. It is anticipated that the research program will lead to effective multifaceted treatments for tobacco smoking, which continues to contribute unabatedly to the cancer burden at alarming rates.
Dr. Erblich's lab is also involved in examining the psychological and behavioral consequences of familial risk for breast cancer. While 1 in 8 women in the general population develop this disease, rates are markedly higher among women with positive family histories, and even higher among women found to be carriers of several known genetic mutations. The potential for high levels of psychological distress attendant to this level of risk is a focus of the lab's work. In addition, Dr. Erblich's lab is investigating the possibility that stress in women at risk for breast cancer may impact women's ability to process complex information provided during clinical interactions, possibly rendering them less likely to make informed decision about their health care. As above, the research is multidisciplinary in nature, bringing together psychological and biological principles, including distress, cognitive processing, stress-reactivity, and genetics. Thus, the goal of this line of research is not only to better understand the full impact of risk for breast cancer on women's psychological functioning and decision making, but also to explore potential psychological and behavioral mechanisms that may contribute to disease burden in this population.
Erblich J, Earleywine M. Alcohol Problems: Causes, Definitions, and Treatments. In: Cohen L, McChargue D, Collins F, editors. The Health Psychology Handbook: Practical Issues for the Behavioral Medicine Specialist. Newbury Park, CA, Sage Publications; 2003.
Erblich J, Earleywine M. Behavioral undercontrol and subjective stimulant and sedative effects of alcohol intoxication: independent predictors of drinking habits?. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2003 Jan; 27(1): 44-50.
Erblich J, Lerman C, Self DW, Diaz GA, Bovbjerg DH. Effects of dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) and transporter (SLC6A3) polymorphisms on smoking cue-induced cigarette craving among African-American smokers. Mol Psychiatry 2005 Apr; 10(4): 407-14.
Erblich J, Brown K, Kim Y, Valdimarsdottir HB, Livingston BE, Bovbjerg DH. Development and validation of a Breast Cancer Genetic Counseling Knowledge Questionnaire. Patient Educ Couns 2005 Feb; 56(2): 182-91.