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Palo Alto Addictions Research Center (PAARC)

Welcome to the Palo Alto Addictions Research Center (PAARC)

Who we are:

PAARC is a multi-disciplinary research lab that focuses on substance use and other addictive behaviors in younger populations (age 25 and younger). Many of our projects are based in a public health framework, using the principles epidemiology, prevention, and harm reduction in study development and/or dissemination.

What we do: 

Lab projects are wide in focus but have three central themes: 

  1. high risk drinking and drug use practices in adolescents and emerging adults, including co-use of alcohol and cannabis, pregaming, drinking games, and psychedelic use;
  2. significant negative consequences from substance use, with emphases on sexual consent/risk taking and alcohol-induced blackouts; and
  3. emerging substance use issues impacting younger users.
Amie Haas, Faculty at Palo Alto University Headshot
Amie Haas, PhD

Professor, Palo Alto University

Prior research from PAARC has used alcohol as the model substance. However, substance use in young adults and adolescence rapidly evolves and we aim to have a lab that is responsive to change.  As such, the lab name reflects our mission to better understanding addiction issues that are emergent and understudied. For example, recent completed projects include how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted substance use and health decision making in young adults, measurement issues in cannabis research (including co-use with alcohol), and how alcohol use impacts sexual decision making and capacity for consent.

Upcoming projects for the PAARC lab involve a combination of survey, field, and experimental studies. Examples include:

  • An alcohol administration study examining dose-response relationships between blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), changes in cognition, and sexual decision making (in collaboration with Dr. Charlotte Beard).
  • A field study conducted at a local music festival where researchers will gather event-level data on psychedelic use, alone and in conjunction with other substances.
  • Community partnerships with local universities and high schools to refine alcohol and drug prevention programming.
  • Utilization of archival databases to learn and apply multivariate and longitudinal quantitative methods to substance use questions
What does lab involvement entail? 

Students can get involved in multiple ways, ranging from developing and implementing their own studies to using archival data to develop poster presentations and assist in publications.  Lab expectations and obligations include: (A) attendance and participation in bi-monthly lab meetings and (B) working collaboratively with lab members on posters/papers to be disseminated at national conferences.  In addition, there are opportunities to collaborate on publications provided that students have interest and strong writing/statistical skills.

How do I find more out about the lab? 

The PAARC lab will hold two “open meetings” where prospective students can meet the lab members and learn more about our projects.  We are planning two open labs, both to be held in March 2023. Please contact Dr. Haas for details.

Students who wish to apply to PAARC should submit the following materials to Dr. Haas via email:


  1. Cover letter detailing areas of research interests, prior research experience and career aspirations
  2. Current CV
  3. Copy of unofficial transcripts from PAU
  4. A 1-2 page writing sample that reflects your scientific writing and interest in one of the areas studied in this lab. 


Recent PAARC Publications with Student Authors (denoted by *)

Edgemon, J.*, Adams, C.*, Martini, V.* & Haas, A. (under review).  Personal experience and contextual factors contributing to appraisals of consensual sex by varying partner intoxication levels.

Haas, A.L., Martini, V.*, Khauli, N.*, Granoff, J. V.* & Borsari, B. (under review). Does simultaneous alcohol-marijuana use while pregaming exacerbate problematic use in college students? A preliminary investigation.

Harmon, D.,* Khauli, N.*, Granoff, J. V.*, Martini, V.*, & Haas, A. L. (under review).  Applying fuzzy trace theory to COVID-19 related risk and protective behaviors in emerging adults.

Khauli, N.*, Granoff, J. V.*, Martini, V.*, Harmon, D.,* & Haas, A. L. (under review). How are patterns of drinking among young adults affected by COVID-19?

Speroni, J.*, Fanniff, A., Barthel, J.*, Martini, V.* & Haas, A. (under review).  Alcohol mixed with energy drinks and aggressive behaviors in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review.

Harmon, D.* & Haas, A.L. (2020). Experimental tasks of behavioral risk-taking in alcohol administration studies:  A systematic review. Addictive Behaviors.

Cummings, C.,* Beard, C.*, Habarth, J., Weaver, C. & Haas, A. (2019).  Is the sum greater than its parts?  Variations in substance-related consequences by alcohol-marijuana use patterns.  Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 1-9.

Haas, A.L., Lorkiewicz, S., & Zamboanga, B.L. (2019). Replication of factors related to blackout incidence in U.S. high school students:  A brief report.  Addictive Behaviors, 93, 104-107.