Erica Holliday


Disordered cognitive processes are known to be both a risk factor for initiating substance use and a consequence of substance use. My previous research focuses on neurobiological changes influencing learning and memory as outcomes of adolescent substance and provides the foundation for new research projects unraveling the neuropsychosocial mechanisms in SUD recovery processes.   I was fortunate to collaborate with researchers at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to further dive into the role of altered gene expression underlying some of these learning deficits.  My future goals are to extend these findings to recovery mechanisms and investigate genetic variations in recovery processes to incorporate individualized working memory training during recovery services utilization. 

I am the director and founder of the Neuropsychology of Emerging Adulthood, Addiction, Recovery, and Related Disorders (NEAARRD) Lab where we use a combination of self-reports, narratives, physiological markers, cognitive tasks, and EEG to determine pathways to dependence and mechanisms of recovery. My joint appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Psychological Sciences and Lead Principle Investigator for the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery allows for many opportunities for motivated undergraduated research assistants, graduate research assistants, and post-baccalaureate students to gain hands-on research experience and lead independent projects. See Research for more opportunities and how to join. 


Dr. Erica Holliday grew up in Fredericksburg, VA before matriculating into George Mason University in Fairfax, VA where she earned both her BS in Psychology and MA in Biopsychology.  Her undergraduate and masters work investigated the influence of social interactions during adolescence on behavioral responses to nicotine in adulthood.  During this time Dr. Holliday also interned at the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the grants management office where she gained experience in the administrative side of research.  She continued her pursuit of unraveling the detrimental effects of adolescent nicotine on brain function, earning her doctorate in Psychology and Neuroscience from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA in 2015.  Dr. Holliday worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX where she studied the role of the serotonin system in models of drug relapse using RNA interference technology to delete serotonin receptors to establish their causative role in drug-related relapse.  She is the recipient of the Civic Foundation's Weinstein Summer Graduate Fellowship, a T32 training fellowship at UTMB, and the NIDA Director's Travel Award.  She received the Community Leader Service Award for developing and implementing educational outreach on the neurobiology of substance use disorders (SUDs) for the youth community in Southeast, TX.  In her spare time she is an avid strength trainer, casual gamer, and aspiring poet.