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Colleen A. Hanlon, Ph.D.

Dr. Hanlon is an associate professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. There she leads a clinical neuroscience laboratory dedicated to mapping and modulating dopaminergic fronto-striatal systems that contribute to the cycle of initiation, use, and relapse among multiple substance dependent populations. In 2011 she was honored with an Early Career Investigator award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. In 2017 her NIH-funded brain stimulation research was highlighted in National Geographic (Sept 2017) and Science Magazine (Sept 2017). She also serves as the Associate Director of the Brain Stimulation Core at MUSC and is the Director of the Advanced TMS Training Course sponsored by the MUSC National Center for Neuromodulation for Rehabilitation. 


Dr. Hanlon performed her doctoral research in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University and did a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Linda Porrino in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Her doctoral research at Duke University involved functional neuroimaging of cortical-striatal plasticity that occurs in the first few months following a stroke. Here she became interested in fronto-striatal dopamine systems that guide behavior, which led to postdoctoral studies in the Center for the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders at Wake Forest University.


The majority of her work to date has focused on functional neuroimaging and brain stimulation in cocaine-dependent individuals, tobacco smokers, and alcohol users. She also, however, has had a history of research using functional MRI and TMS to evaluate chronic pain, stroke rehabilitation, Parkinson’s Disease and Tourette Syndrome. In addition to primary clinical research, she also has strong collaborations with several preclinical addiction researchers.