Sara Jo Nixon, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Dept. of Psychiatry
McKnight Brain Institute
University of Florida
P. O. Box 100256
Gainesville, FL 32610
Phone: (352) 294-4920

addiction research university of florida


Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, College of Medicine, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Chief, Division of Addiction Research, Director, Neurocognitive Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine; Director, Research Development, Stewart-Marchman-Act – University of Florida Collaborative Initiative; Director, Biobehavioral Core, Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), University of Florida.

Research Summary

Dr. Nixon uses neurobehavioral methods and models to examine the acute and chronic effects of alcohol and other drugs. Within her clinical research, her team also explores sex differences, the effects of age, and the import of ethnic/racial minority status.


Ph.D., University of Oklahoma, Department of Psychology; Postdoctoral Fellow (NIH-funded), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Current Research Focus

Because of the complex nature of substance abuse, Dr. Nixon’s work uses comprehensive behavioral assessments including neuropsychological testing, brain electrophysiology (electroencephalography and event-related potentials), and clinical research interviews. In addition to neurobehavioral research, Dr. Nixon has sustained a strong interest in community outreach and education. Her continued commitment to community outreach is reflected in her on-going work focusing on the cognitive, psychological and social concomitants of substance use.

Recent Publications

Sklar, A. L. and Nixon, S. J. (2014; ePub ahead of print). Disruption of sensory gating by moderate alcohol doses. Psychopharmacology.

Lewis, B., Hoffman, L.A. and Nixon, S.J. (2014; ePub ahead of print). Sex differences in drug use among polysubstance users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Boissoneault, J., Sklar, A., Prather, R. and Nixon, S. J. (2014). Acute effects of moderate alcohol on psychomotor, set shifting, and working memory function in older and younger social drinkers. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 75, 870-879.

Nixon, S. J., Prather, R. A. and Lewis, B. (2014). Sex differences in alcohol-related neurobehavioral consequences. In Adolf Pfefferbaum and Edith V. Sullivan (Eds.), Alcohol and the nervous system (Handbook of clinical neurology, 3rd series). Oxford, United Kingdom, Elsevier, in press.

Nixon, S. J., Prather R. A., & *Gilbertson, R. J. (2011). Focusing research efforts: What further research into FASD is needed? In E. Riley, S. Clarren, J. Weinberg, E. Jonsson (Eds.), Fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASD) — a health policy perspective. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.