Wachholtz Lab Members

Lab Director

Dr. Amy Wachholtz graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Boston University and a specialized graduate degree in Bioethics from a joint Harvard  University and Boston University program. She the continued her education to earn her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Bowling Green State University where she had a dual specialization in Behavioral Medicine and Psychology of Religion. She completed her internship through fellowship training at Duke University where she focused on medical psychology and pain management.  She also recently completed a post-doctoral Master’s degree in Psychopharmacology.

Her research and clinical interests focus on 1) the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model for chronic pain disorders and palliative care, and 2) the complexities of treating of co-morbid pain and opioid addiction in both acute pain and chronic pain situations.  Her research encompasses bench to bedside methodology from psycho-physiological research methods to testing improved patient treatments and has resulted in over 100 publications and presentations. She enjoys teaching students of all levels both in the classroom at the University of Colorado Denver and in laboratory settings.

Graduate Students

Caitlin Kienzler and Trelsie Sadler, Graduate StudentsCaitlin Kienzler received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Following graduation, Caitlin continued her work with the University of Illinois, first as a lab manager and then as coordinator of the Lifelong Brain and Cognition Laboratory, studying cognition over the lifespan with an emphasis on neuroplasticity. Her research interests include chronic pain and pain management, substance use, and spirituality. She enjoys coffee, reading mystery novels, and running the Cherry Creek trail. caitlin.kienzler@ucdenver.edu; Cohort: Year 5





Dustin Goerlitz, Graduate Student Dustin Goerlitz graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2013 with a BA in Psychology. His research interests are in positive psychology and complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) for chronic pain and pain management, as well as biopsychosocial factors for quality of life in chronic pain populations. He enjoys numerous outdoor activities, playing music, spending time with friends, puns, and is apparently a big fan of tea. dustin.goerlitz@ucdenver.edu Cohort: Year 4


Dallas Robinson graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in psychology in 2017, and a MS in Clinical Psychology in 2019. Her interests include the role of stress in chronic pain and substance use disorders, as well as research using psycho-physiological measures. In her free time she enjoys rock climbing, kayaking, and dancing. Cohort: Year 3






Sarah Martin graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2016 with a BA in Psychology and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019 with a MS in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. Her research interests include biopsychosocial factors affecting opioid misuse in people with chronic pain and interventions for comorbid chronic pain and opioid use disorder. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities with her two Siberian Huskies and spending time with friends. Cohort: Year 3





Daniel Luedtke graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2017 with BAs in Psychology and French. He is interested in studying the relationship between chronic pain, stress, and trauma as well as social and cultural means of resilience. In his free time he enjoys watching movies, listening to music, and hanging out with his friends. Daniel.luedtke@ucdenver.edu

Cohort: Year 2



Alex Otto, Graduate Student Alex Otto graduated from University of Alabama Birmingham in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. Her research interests include behavioral interventions and ethnic disparities in comorbid chronic pain and opioid use disorder. She enjoys reading, baking, and anything outdoors, namely skiing and hiking. Alexandra.Otto@ucdenver.edu

Cohort: Year 1




Undergraduate Students








I-STOP Study Collaborators

Dr. Harlan AustinHarlan Austin, PhD is the Director of Clinical Operations at CeDAR. In his role as director, he coordinates and oversees the clinical, training, education, and research endeavors of CeDAR. Dr. Austin received his Master of Arts in counseling from New Mexico State University and his Doctorate of Philosophy in counseling psychology at the University of North Texas. He has specialty training and certifications in addiction, sport and performance psychology, and psychological assessment.




Christian HopferChristian Hopfer, MD. Dr. Hopfer is Professor of psychiatry in the Division of Substance Dependence at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Before coming to CeDAR he served as the Director of Adult Psychiatric Services at the Addiction Research and Treatment Services for 15 years. Dr. Hopfer is a distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, member of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, and past president of the Colorado Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society. He has authored over 95 scientific publications on substance dependence and has been the principal investigator on multiple studies funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Nora NockNora L. Nock, PhD, PE is a Co-Principal Investigator with I-STOP and Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University





Lee HofferLee Hoffer, PhD, MPE is a Co-Investigator with I-STOP and Associate Professor at Wayne State University





Samiran GhoshSamiran Ghosh, PhD is a Co-Investigator with I-STOP and Associate Professor at Wayne State University





Jay AlbertsJay Alberts, PhD is a Co-Investigator with I-STOP and Vice Chair at Health Enabling Tech. Office Cleveland Clinic





STOP Study Collaborators

Elizabeth Epstein, PhD (Co-Investigator)Elizabeth Epstein, PhD (STOP Study Co-Investigator) is a Professor of Psychiatry at University of Massachusetts Medical School. She has extensive NIH-funded experience developing and testing CBT treatments for alcohol and drug disorders in a variety of modality and for specific subpopulations (see above, Preliminary Studies).  She has also studied heterogeneity among substance abusers in terms of comorbid disorders and has developed integrated therapies for depression and anxiety among alcohol dependent women. 




Alexis Carrington-Ford, MD (Safety Officer)Alexis Carrington-Ford, MD (STOP Study Medical Safety Officer) is a Board Certified Addiction Psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Hospital, CeDAR (Center for Dependency, Addiction, and Rehabilitation). She is also an ABPM Diplomate. 





I-STOP Research Assistants


Kelsey Nogg, I-STOP research assistantKelsey Nogg is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Biopsychosocial Pain Management Lab at CU Denver. She is currently working on the I-STOP study


Previous Lab Members

Susanne Withrow

Joe McNabb

Paige Barrette

Alexandra Dolezal

Danny Hernandez Altamirano​

Jamie Woelk

Amy Frers

Cameron Battersby

Madisen Frederick

Amanda Hong

Ryan Radosevich

Bethany Hawley