Justin Anker

Assistant Professor


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences committed to advancing the understanding of substance abuse and its treatment through research. My primary research focus is on examining the relationship between stress and substance use disorders (SUDs). Through my studies, I have identified biological and behavioral determinants that heighten vulnerability to SUDs.  This includes conducting a series of preclinical studies that deepened our understanding of how age, sex, hormonal fluctuations, genetic predispositions, and impulsivity impact drug use. A significant portion of my research is dedicated to developing and evaluating innovative treatments for drug abuse, particularly those targeting stress-related factors. My early efforts in this domain led to the discovery of allopregnanolone, a progesterone metabolite, as a promising candidate for reducing stress-induced drug-taking. My current work focuses on assessing and implementing digital therapeutics designed to improve coping strategies for individuals dealing with stress-related substance use.  My research is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and has resulted in over 50 peer-reviewed publications.

I have presented at over 80 conferences both nationally and internationally.


  • Comorbid substance use
  • Anxiety-related disorders

Administrative Assistant

(for academic support only)
Natasha Hampton-Anderson

In the Media

Research Summary

Comorbidity; Alcohol Use Disorder; Anxiety Disorders; Drinking to Cope; Drinking Motives; Network Analysis


BA, University of Minnesota
PhD, University of Minnesota
Undergrad, College of Menominee Nation
Major: Undeclared

Fellowships, Residencies, and Visiting Engagements

NIDA T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow,
University of Minnesota, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Honors and Recognition

BB&C: Translational Research in Addiction Travel Award
Outstanding poster presentation award, BB&C
College of Problems of Drug Dependence Early Career Investigator Award
College of Liberal Arts Student Travel and Research Award
Behavior, Biology, and Chemistry (BB&C): Translational Research in Addiction Travel Award
Society of Biological Psychiatry's Travel Fellowship
College of Liberal Arts Dean's List (multiple), University of Minnesota Medical School
The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Graduate Student Travel Award
National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director's Travel Award
David Campbell Graduate Research Fellowship
Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) Imprinting-Interdivisional Mentoring Fellowship Award
Woman and Gender Junior Investigator Travel Award (multiple)
NIDA Early Career Investigator Travel Award
Gough Travel Award
Hazelden-Betty Ford Adjunct Faculty of Excellence Award
CARE Imprinting-Interdivisional Mentoring Fellowship Award
Drug and Alcohol Dependence ranked top 4% of all reviewers
International Study Group Investigating Drugs as Reinforcers Travel Award
Psychiatric Research Society Travel Award
Dean's List, College of Menominee (CMN)

Professional Memberships

International Study Group Investigating Drugs as Reinforcers
APA Division 28: Psychopharmacology & Substance Abuse
American Psychological Association
American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Minnesota Academy of Science
European Behavioral Pharmacology Society
Research Society on Alcoholism
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
Society for Psychophysiological Research
Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Anker, J. (Lead Author) et al., 2023. Evidence for an alcohol-related "harm paradox" in individuals with internalizing disorders: Test and replication in two independent community samples.. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 47 (4): 713-723.
doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.15036 PubMed ID: 37115410.
Anker, J. (Corresponding author) et al., 2023. Stressed, Lonely, and Overcommitted: Predictors of Lawyer Suicide Risk. Healthcare, 11 (4): 536.
doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11040536 PubMed ID: 36833071.
Stevenson, B. L., Anker, J., Thuras, P., Rinehart, L., & Kushner, M. G., 2022. World Health Organization (WHO) Risk Level Reductions in Inpatients with Alcohol Use Disorder and Comorbid Anxiety Disorders.. American Psychological Association,
doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/adb0000895 PubMed ID: 36480397.
Anker, J. (corresponding author), et al., 2022. The direct effect of drinking to cope on alcohol problems is not mediated by alcohol consumption: Invariance across gender and countries. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 16
Anker, J. (corresponding author) et al., 2022. People, Professionals, and Profit Centers: The Connection between Lawyer Well-Being and Employer Values. Behavioral Sciences, 12 (6): 177.
doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12060177 PubMed ID: 36833071.
Shuai, R., Anker, J. J., Bravo, A. J., Kushner, M. G., Hogarth, L., 2022. Risk Pathways Contributing to the Alcohol Harm Paradox: Socioeconomic Deprivation Confers Susceptibility to Alcohol Dependence via Greater Exposure to Aversive Experience, Internalizing Symptoms and Drinking to Cope. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 16 821693.
doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2022.821693 PubMed ID: 35237137.
Anker, J. J., Nakajima, M., Raatz, S., Allen, S., al'Absi, M., 2021. Tobacco withdrawal increases junk food intake: The role of the endogenous opioid system. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 225 108819.
Anker, J. J., Kushner, M. G., 2019. Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and Anxiety: Bridging Psychiatric, Psychological, and Neurobiological Perspectives. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 40 (1):
doi: https://doi.org/10.35946/arcr.v40.1.03 PubMed ID: 31886106.
Kummerfeld, E., Rix, A., Anker, J. J., Kushner, M. G., 2019. Assessing the collective utility of multiple analyses on clinical alcohol use disorder data. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 26 (10): 1046-1055.
doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocz034 PubMed ID: 30990526.
Kummerfeld, E., Rix, A., Anker, J. J., Kushner, M. G., 2018. Causal Network Modeling of the Determinants of Drinking Behavior in Comorbid Alcohol Use and Anxiety Disorder. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 43 (1): 91-97.
doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.13914 PubMed ID: 30371947.



Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, F282/2A West Building, 2450 Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55454