The Internal and Mentoring Advisory Committee

The Internal and Mentoring Advisory Committee monitors the progress of Project Leaders’ research projects, adjusting mentoring plans - if needed - to ensure project success. Members of the IMAC assist in guiding the vision and the mission of the Center. Experts are selected based on their expertise in areas relevant to neurobehavioral, virological, epidemiological, and clinical approaches to understanding drug use and its related harms. Committee members provide advice and information relevant to Center growth, score applications for vacant Project Leader openings, and review pilot grant applications for relevance and merit.



The IMAC Team


Project Mentors


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James Blair (Boys Town)

James Blair Mentor

James Blair, PhD is the Director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research. He is an expert in the neurobiology of emotion, aggression and antisocial behavior and has published more than 200 scientific manuscripts on this and related topics. Dr. Blair received a doctoral degree in Psychology from University College London in 1993 under the supervision of Professor John Morton. Following graduation he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Mental Health Research Fellowship that he held at the Medical Research Council Cognitive Development Unit for three years. Subsequently, Dr. Blair moved to the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London. There, with Uta Frith, he helped form and co-lead the Developmental Disorders group, and was ultimately appointed Senior Lecturer. Dr. Blair Joined the NIMH Intramural Research Program in 2002.He joined Boys Town as Center Director in August 2016. He is currently President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy as well as the acting vice-chair of the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Courts and Sciences Institute (the Institute educates judges on scientific topics relevant to the courtroom). He is also on the scientific advisory board of the Avielle Foundation. He is currently on the editorial boards of Biological Psychiatry, and Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

Full James Blair bio


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David DiLillo

David DiLilloMentor

David DiLillo received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University in 1997. Prior to joining the faculty in 2000, he served as a Research Assistant Professor and project coordinator of a federal grant at the University of Missouri-Columbia, which explored predictors of unintentional injury among children. His primary research interests are in the area of family violence, including child maltreatment and marital and couple violence. He has a particular interest in the long-term functioning of adults who have experienced various forms of childhood trauma and maltreatment (e.g., sexual abuse, physical abuse, exposure to violence). He is particularly interested in understanding revictimization occurring during childhood/adolescence and again in adulthood. His research has been funded by NIMH and NICHD. Recent projects in his research group have focused on the marital adjustment of childhood maltreatment survivors, psychosocial mediators of revictimization, emotional influences on intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration, and the development of a Web-based measure of child maltreatment. He is currectly the Director of the Clinical Psychology Training Program. His teaching activities include psychotherapy, couples and family therapy, and supervision of clinical practicum.

Full David DiLillo bio


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Dan Hoyt

Dan HoytMentor

Dr. Dan Hoyt is the Director of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Consortium as well as occupying the position of Research Integrity Officer and Institutional Official for Human Subjects Research for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Full Dan Hoyt bio


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Tim Nelson

Tim NelsonMentor

Dr. Nelson received his Ph.D. in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas in 2008 following a clinical internship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He subsequently completed his post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric psychology in the Stanford University School of Medicine before joining the UNL faculty in 2009. He has served as the Associate Director of Clinical Training at UNL since 2012.

Full Tim Nelson bio


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Bilal Khan

Bilal KhanLNC Co-Director, Mentor

Dr. Bilal Khan, Happold Professor of Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will serve as Co- Director for the Open Dynamic Interaction Network (ODIN) platform development at LNC. He will contribute to the LNC a broad background in network science and specific expertise in modeling, analysis, and simulation of dynamic networks. His research applies this expertise toward the resolution of open problems in computational social and behavioral science in the context of public health (for human social systems). This has included developing new technological solutions for data collection in social systems and new mathematical modeling techniques for dynamic network and interaction data, especially from hard-to-reach populations. As past director of CUNY Social Network Research Group laboratories, he has successfully administered prior projects (e.g., staffing, research protections, budget) related to software development and implementation. His primary role at LNC will be to oversee and facilitate the implementation of the ODIN platform for the Rural Drug Addiction Research (RDAR) Rural Drug User Cohort, and following this, oversee and facilitate the use of ODIN in other LNC cohort recruitment and retention projects.

Full Bilal Khan bio


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Kimberly Tyler

Kimberly TylerLNC Co-Director, Mentor

Dr. Kimberly Tyler, Willa Cather Professor of Sociology at UNL, will serve as co-Director for cohort development at LNC. Dr. Tyler has a Ph.D. in sociology with specific training, experience, and expertise in key research areas relevant to current core goals of facilitating RDAR projects, including research in substance use, rural populations, hard-to-sample populations (e.g., homeless and street youth and young adults), and HIV risk behavior (i.e., sexual and drug use). Dr. Tyler designed and successfully carried out three cohort-based NIH projects on hard to reach populations in the Great Plains region, including an NIMH-funded homeless young adult project (K01MH064897) and a NIDA-funded homeless youth R21 project (DA021079) on social networks and homeless youth and a NIDA-funded homeless youth and young adult project (DA036806) on alcohol and drug use, mental health, and social support using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) via short message service (SMS) surveying. This longitudinal project had a follow-up response rate of over 75%. Dr. Tyler not only has expertise with sampling hard-to-reach populations, she also knows how to track and re-locate such populations. Her primary responsibilities as LNC co-Director will be to consult with Project Leaders, mentors, and the RDAR leadership team on the development, tracking, and retention of the RDAR Rural Drug User Cohort and, following this, to seek out new collaborative researchers across the Nebraska system and in the Central Plains region (such as BoysTown Hospital, Creighton Medical School, the Veterans Administration Hospital of Western Iowa and Nebraska, and universities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and the Great Plains).

Full Kimberly Tyler bio


Translation & Dissemination


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Colleen Syron

Colleen SyronDissemination Coordinator

Prior to opening Syron Design in 2006, Professor Syron was Creative Director and Web Development Director at DeSantis Briendel in New York City. There she worked on clients such as Pfizer, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, FGIC, Symyx and Nextel. Her experience includes work at print design firms, PR agencies, interactive design agencies, advertising agencies, publishing companies and strategic branding companies. She received her master’s degree at the School of Visual Arts and has taught there and at Parsons School of Design. She now is also a Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Full Colleen Syron bio


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Christopher Kratochvil (UNMC)

Christopher KratochvilTranslational Coordinator

Dr. Kratochvil specializes in child-adolescent psychiatry. He is a Professor of psychiatry, with an adjunct appointment with the Department of Pediatrics and College of Public Health. Dr. Kratochvil has an interest in clinical trials for children and adolescents, with a focus on ADHD and depression. Much of his research focuses on medications, and, in 2011, he co-edited the book Pediatric Psychopharmacology: Principles and Practice, 2nd Edition. He has also authored or co-authored over 100 articles in medical journals.

Dr. Kratochvil has been active in the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, previously serving as president of the Nebraska Regional Council as well as on the national board of directors.

He serves as the Associate Vice-Chancellor for Clinical Research at UNMC, Vice President for Research at Nebraska Medicine, and Chief Medical Officer at UNeHealth. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a Fellow in the American Psychiatric Association.

Full Christopher Kratochvil bio


Research Advisors


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Charles Wood

Charles WoodMember

Dr. Wood is the Lewis Lehr/3M University Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and Biochemist. He was recruited to head the Lewis Lehr program in genetics and is the founding director of the Nebraska center for Virology in 2000. A Regent's designated Center of Excellence, the Center links virologists at Nebraska's three major biomedical institutions and conducts research on plants, animals and human viruses. Dr. Wood earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Columbia University, and did his postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a faculty at the University of Kansas and University of Miami before joining the UNL faculty in 1996.

Full Charles Wood bio


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Sophia Perdikaris

Sophia PerdikarisMember

Dr. Perdikaris is a professor for the Department of Anthropology, and an environmental archaeologist with a specialty in animal bones from archaeological sites-zooarchaeology. She is interested in people – environment interactions through time and the response of both to big climatic events. She has worked in Northern Norway and Iceland concentrating on the transition from the Viking Age to medieval times and how the early commercialization of the cod fisheries (AD 1200) affected the people and economy of the area. The last few years she has been focusing on the island of Barbuda in the Caribbean where she explored how heritage work can inform sustainability questions for the future.

Full Sophia Perdikaris bio


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Mario Scalora

Mario ScaloraMember

Dr. Mario Scalora is the director of the Public Policy Center and professor of psychology with the Clinical Training and Law-Psychology Programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as well as coordinating an active academic research program engaging in collaborative research in targeted violence. He received his B.S. in psychology from St. Joseph’s University and his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research interests address various types of targeted violence issues including threats to public institutions and infrastructure/threat assessment, sexual offending, stalking, and workplace violence. This research continues to involve collaboration with state and federal agencies dealing with threat management and counterterrorism issues. Dr. Scalora has extensive relationships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies related to threat assessment research and consultation assessing predictive risk factors and management strategies concerning targeted threatening, and violent activity. In addition to his role as director, Dr. Scalora also serves as a consulting psychologist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police regarding campus safety, threat management, and emergency preparedness.

Full Mario Scalora bio