Susan F. Tapert, Ph.D.

University of California, San Diego
VA San Diego Healthcare System

Susan F. Tapert, Ph.D. Former Associate Director


Dr. Tapert became interested in addictive behavior research as an undergraduate at University of Washington, working with Dr. G. Alan Marlatt at the Addictive Behaviors Research Center. Her focus on adolescence started during her graduate studies with Dr. Sandra A. Brown in the UCSD-SDSU Joint Doctoral in Clinical Psychology, where she received training in neuropsychology and behavioral medicine. Her dissertation, completed in 1998, was on the reciprocal effects of neuropsychological functioning and substance use in youth. Following completion of an APA clinical psychology internship at Brown University, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at UCSD on functional magnetic resonance imaging under the mentorship of Dr. Gregory G. Brown.

Dr. Tapert's research focuses on brain functioning in adolescents with substance use disorders, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI, diffusion imaging, and neuropsychological testing. She also studies brain functioning in youths at risk for substance use disorders, investigating children with conduct disorder and family histories of substance use disorders. Her studies evaluate adolescent brain development and gender differences. Recent work has focused on relationships between brain functioning and the progression of substance involvement, including the formation of alcohol and drug expectancies, coping skills, and brain response to substance-related stimuli to investigate the neural substrates of cue reactivity and craving.

Dr. Tapert is Director of the Substance Abuse / Mental Illness at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and is a clinical psychologist licensed in the state of California.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

VA San Diego Healthcare System
3350 La Jolla Village Drive (116B)
San Diego, CA 92161-2002


(858) 552-7563


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