Kelly Elaine Dunn, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.S.

Headshot of Kelly Elaine Dunn
  • Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Research Interests

Opioid treatment; Incentive-based treatments; Cigarette smoking; Alcohol treatment more



  • Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • M.B.A.; Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business (Maryland) (2019)
  • B.A.; State University of New York (Oswego) (New York) (2002)
  • M.S.; University of New Orleans (Louisiana) (2005)
  • Ph.D.; University of Vermont (Vermont) (2009)

Additional Training

2002: BA Philosophy; Oswego State University

2013: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Behavioral Pharmacology; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Research & Publications

Research Summary

I have focused primarily on the treatment of opioid use disorder using human subjects. I have worked on more than 10 randomized clinical trial evaluations of treatments for patients with opioid use disorder, and have contributed to research regarding medication development for alcohol use disorder and cigarette smoking. I am currently pursing several lines of research regarding methods to enhance opioid treatment outcomes, to improve prevention of opioid overdose, to understand mechanisms underlying the development of opioid use disorder, to reduce concurrent problems among patients with opioid use disorder, and to develop tools for sensitively measuring overdose risk and noninjection drug use behavior with an emphasis on reducing HIV and HCV risk behaviors. Finally, I also have training in the use of incentives (contingency management) to modify behaviors.

More generally, I have expertise in human laboratory based studies of behavioral pharmacological techniques, clinical trial management and development, including FDA Good Clinical Practice procedures and guidelines, and secondary analyses of research projects with an emphasis on evaluating clinically-relevant outcomes.

Clinical Trial Keywords

opioid; opiate; outcome measures; alcohol, overdose; smoking; incentive

Selected Publications

Dunn, K.E., Sigmon, S.C. Thomas, C.S., Heil, S.H., & Higgins, S.T. Voucher-based contingent reinforcement of smoking abstinence among methadone-maintained patients: A pilot study.  Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 2008. Vol. 41 (4), pp 527-538. PMCID: PMC2606604

Dunn, K.E., Sigmon, S.C., Reimann, E.R., Badger, G.J., Heil, S.H., & Higgins, S.T. A contingency-management intervention to promoteinitialsmoking cessation among opioid-maintained patients. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2010. Vol. 18 (1), pp 37-50. PMCID: PMC3131670

Dunn, K.E., Sigmon, S.C., Strain, E., Heil, S.H., & Higgins, S.T. The association between outpatient buprenorphine detoxification duration and clinical treatment outcomes: A review. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2011. Vol. 119 (1-2), pp 1-9. PMCID: PMC3205338.

Dunn, K.E., Saulsgiver, K.A., Patrick, M.E., Heil, S.H., Higgins, S.T., & Sigmon, S.C. Characterizing and Improving HIV and Hepatitis Knowledge Among Primary Prescription Opioid Abusers. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2013. Vol. 133 (2), pp 625-632.  PMCID: PMC3824383

Sigmon, S.C., Dunn, K.E., Saulsgiver, K., Patrick, M., Badger, G.J., Heil, S.H., Brooklyn, J.R., & Higgins, S.T.   Randomized, double-blind parametric evaluation of buprenorphine taper for the treatment of prescription opioid dependence.  JAMA Psychiatry. 2013. Vol. 70 (12), pp 1347-1354. PMCID: PMC4131728

Dunn, K.E., Saulsgiver, K.A., Miller, M.E., Nuzzo, P.A., & Sigmon, S.C. (2015). Characterizing opioid withdrawal during double-blind buprenorphine detoxification. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Vol. 151, pp 47-55.

Dunn, K.E., Finan, P., Tompkins, D.A., Fingerhood, M., & Strain, E.C. (2015). Characterizing pain and associated coping strategies in methadone and buprenorphine-maintained patients.  Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Vol. 157, pp 143-149.

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Campus
5510 Nathan Shock Drive
Baltimore, MD 21224 map
Phone: 410-550-2254
Fax: 410-550-0030

Email me

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Courses and Syllabi

  • Introductory Psychology
    University of New Orleans
    2005 - 2005
  • Introductory Psychology
    University of Vermont
    2006 - 2006
  • Drugs of Abuse and Behavior
    University of Vermont
    2007 - 2009
  • Introductory Psychology
    Community College Baltimore County- Essex
    2010 - 2015
  • Psychopharmacology
    Goucher College
    2013 - 2014
  • Cognitive Psychology, Laboratory
    Goucher College
    2012 - 2012
  • Principles of Human Development
    Community College of Baltimore County- Essex
    2015 - 2015
  • Epidemiology of Substance Abuse
    Johns Hopkins School of Public Health; Fall Institute
    2015 - 2015

Activities & Honors


  • Meritorious Research Award, Oswego State University - 2002
  • Psi Chi Regional Research Award, Psi Chi, Eastern Psychological Association - 2002
  • NIDA Director's Travel Award to College on the Problems of Drug Dependence, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2006 - 2012
  • Science Directorate Travel Award to American Psychological Association Convention, American Psychological Association, 2007 - 2009
  • Early Career Research Travel Award, College on the Problems of Drug Dependence - 2010
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award, Division 28 of the American Psychological Association - 2010
  • New Investigator Travel Award for American Health Services Meeting, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - 2011
  • Young Psychopharmacologist Award, Division 28 of the American Psychological Association - 2015


  • American Psychological Association, 2006 - 2009

    Science Student Council Behavioral Neuroscience Representative

  • College on the Problems of Drug Dependence, 2013 - 2015

     Member Underrepresented Minorities Committee

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  • Division 28; Psychopharmacology and Substance Use (Member), 2010 - 2013

    Early Career Representative to the Executive Committee

  • Division 28; Psychopharmacology and Substance Use (Member), 2011 - 2014

    Division Newsletter Editor

  • Division 28; Psychopharmacology and Substance Use (Member), 2014 - 2016

    Division Secretary

  • Division 28; Psychopharmacology and Substance Use (Member)

    Program Chair

  • Division 50; Addictions (Member), 2010 - 2013

    Early Career Psychologist Representative to Advocacy and Public Policy Committee

  • College on the Problems of Drug Dependence, 2014 - 2016

    Member Program Committee

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