Amy C. Janes, PhD

Amy C. Janes, PhD

  • Director, Functional Integration of Addiction Research Laboratory

  • Neuroscientist, McLean Imaging Center

  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry


Amy C. Janes, PhD, directs the Functional Integration of Addiction Research Laboratory at the McLean Imaging Center. While she began her research career studying addiction in preclinical models, her current NIH-funded research uses clinical neuroimaging to clarify how individual differences in brain function, chemistry, and structure influence drug use and relapse. She also uses these tools to clarify links between drug use and psychopathology, with the goal of using neuroscience to inform personalized treatment development.

Dr. Janes directs the clinical-basic training track of the NIDA T32 Post-Doctoral Training Program, and she holds a joint appointment with Suffolk University to provide research training to pre-doctoral candidates attaining degrees in clinical psychology.

As director of the Functional Integration of Addiction Research Laboratory at the McLean Imaging Center, Dr. Janes uses clinical neuroimaging, like MRI scans, to clarify how individual differences in brain function influence drug use and relapse. Her long-term goal is to help inform the development of personalized treatments for substance misuse that consider differences in brain function and other factors, such as coexisting psychiatric disorders.

A key to her research is the recognition that a treatment, like nicotine replacement therapy, may work for one person but not someone else. Her work is also based on findings that variance in the function of different brain structures may be the key to unlocking individual treatment plans.

For example, Janes’ research involves neuroimaging of the brain’s insular cortex, which is believed to be involved in functions such as consciousness and emotions. Her work has shown that individuals who had greater activation of this brain region in response to smoking cues—before they quit—were likely to relapse, even when treated with nicotine replacement therapy. Her current focus is not only to identify particular groups of people susceptible to relapse, but also to identify what novel treatments may work for such relapse-vulnerable groups.

Her lab is also trying to understand why many individuals with major depressive disorder smoke tobacco. To date, Janes’ lab has found that nicotine strengthens communication within the brain’s reward pathway, which is typically weak in those with major depressive disorder.

In July 2019, Dr. Janes was named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers who are starting their independent research careers and show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.

Janes AC, Pizzagalli DA, Richardt S, Frederick BB, Chuzi S, Pachas G, Culhane MA, Holmes AJ, Fava M, Evins AE, Kaufman MJ. Brain reactivity to smoking cues prior to smoking cessation predicts ability to maintain tobacco abstinence. Biological Psychiatry 2010;67: 722-729.

Janes AC, Farmer S, Peechatka A, Blaise deB Frederick, Lukas SE. Insula-dorsal anterior cingulate cortex coupling is associated with enhanced brain reactivity to smoking cues. Neuropsychopharmacology 2015;40: 156-158.

Janes AC, Zegel M, Ohashi K, Betts J, Molokotos E, Olson D, Moran L, Pizzagalli DA. Nicotine normalizes cortico-striatal connectivity in non-smoking individuals with major depressive disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology 2018;43:2445-2451.

PubMed search for Dr. Janes

Education & Training

  • 2001 BA, Rutgers University
  • 2003 MA in Psychology: Brain, Behavior, Cognition, Boston University
  • 2007 PhD in Psychology: Brain, Behavior, Cognition, Boston University
  • 2007-2009 Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Neuroimaging and Substance Abuse, McLean Imaging Center, McLean Hospital


Belmont campus - McLean Imaging Center, Room 189