Monica M Luciana

Photo of Monica M Luciana

Contact Me

N419 Elt H

75 E River Rd


The focus of my research is to examine brain/behavior relationships in adults and children and the neuroplasticity of neural circuitry during development, as a function of substance use, and in the context of psychopathology. Specifically, I am interested in the neurobiology of executive functions that are mediated by the brain's prefrontal cortex, including working memory, planning, and emotional control as well as reward processing. My research program has utilized several approaches to examine these processes: (a) Pharmacological studies of normal adults: Adults are administered drugs or natural compounds that activate selected neurotransmitter systems in the brain (e.g., dopamine and serotonin). While under the influence of these manipulations, cognition and emotional functions are examined to determine how the transmitters affect specific behaviors; (b) Studies of clinical populations; (c) Developmental studies in adolescents. The development of executive functions, incentive motivational processes, and their neural underpinnings is being studied through several longitudinal MRI studies in healthy adolescents, young adults, and in individuals who abuse substances. The University of Minnesota is a site for the newly launched ABCD Consortium project on which I am a PI in collaboration with the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research. My works is funded by NIDA and NIAAA.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1994.

Curriculum Vitae


  • neurobehavioural assessment of prefontally-guided behaviors in adults and children
  • neurochemical substrates of human cognition and affect
  • planning and emotional control
  • working memory
Courses Taught
  • Psy 5993 - Directed Study: Special Areas of Psychology and Related Sciences: Brain Processes, Cognition and Emotion
  • Psy 5064 - Brain and Emotion
  • Psy 8611 – Intellectual and Neuropsychological Assessment
  • Psy1001 - Introduction to Psychology, Treatment and Abnormal Psychology component
  • Psy1905 - Freshman Seminar: Your Brain on Drugs
  • Psy1910 - Freshman Seminar: Movies and Madness
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Adjunct Faculty Member, Institute of Child Development`:
  • Core Faculty Member, Center for Neurobehavioral Development:
  • Luciana, M., Wahlstrom, D., Collins, P.F. & Porter, J.N. (2012). Dopaminergic modulation of incentive motivation in adolescence: age-related changes in signaling, individual differences, and implications for the development of self-regulation. Developmental Psychology, 48(3), 844-861.
  • Luciana, M., Collins, P.F., Muetzel, R., & Lim K.O. (2013). Effects of alcohol use initiation on brain structure in typically developing adolescents. American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse, 39(6), 345-355.
  • Urošević, S., Collins, P., Muetzel, R., Lim, K.O., & Luciana, M (2014). Pubertal status associations with reward and threat sensitivities and subcortical brain volumes during adolescence. Brain and Cognition, 89, 15-26.
  • Silverman, MH, Jedd, K., Luciana, M. (2015). Neural networks involved in adolescent reward processing: An activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies. NeuroImage, 122, 427-439.
  • (2015). Longitudinal changes in white matter microstructure after heavy cannabis use. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, 16, 23-35.
  • McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, 2001 - 2003