Joshua Woolley, MD, PhD

TitleAssistant Professor
InstitutionUniversity of California San Francisco
Address4150 Clement St
San Francisco CA 94121
Phone415-221-4810 ext. 4117
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    Collapse Education and Training
    University of California, San Francisco Residency 2011School of Medicine
    University of California, San FranciscoM.D.2007 School of Medicine
    University of California, San FranciscoPh.D.2005 Graduate Division (Neuroscience)
    Brown University, Providence, RIBachelor of Science1999Biology and Philosophy

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    Dr. Woolley has been studying the underpinnings of social deficits in schizophrenia and has examined how oxytocin might be a useful treatment for these social deficits. People with schizophrenia often have functionally significant social cognitive deficits, and there are currently no available pharmacological treatments that target these deficits. In healthy individuals, the natural hormone oxytocin has been shown to increase social abilities such as understanding emotions and trusting people. People with schizophrenia can have difficulties with social relationships, which can impact interactions with others and community participation. Dr. Woolley believes that oxytocin may help with many of these difficulties, so a major focus of his research laboratory has been to examine whether supplementary oxytocin can increase social cognition in people with schizophrenia.

    In addition, Dr. Woolley is working with Dr. Sophia Vinogradov, a leading researcher in computerized cognitive training exercises for patients with schizophrenia, to assess the feasibility of delivering cognitive training on mobile devices. More recently, Dr. Woolley has begun to use MEG methods to study brain changes in individuals with schizophrenia.

    Building on his work with oxytocin and schizophrenia, Dr. Woolley collaborates with Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes and Dr. Danielle Schlosser at the University of California, San Francisco to analyze whether oxytocin can help dyadic family interactions where the child has been diagnosed with a mental illness. It can be stressful for families where one or more family members have mental illness. Family members can experience guilt, feelings of isolation, or other difficulties, and Dr. Woolley and his team hope that oxytocin can help mediate some of these emotionally challenging experiences and foster communication.

    Dr. Woolley is also working closely with Dr. David Kan and Dr. Steven Batki at the San Francisco VA Medical Center's ORT Clinic, where he focuses on whether oxytocin can be a useful adjunct to methadone treatment for overcoming opiate dependence.

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    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Fulford D, Treadway M, Woolley J. Social motivation in schizophrenia: The impact of oxytocin on vigor in the context of social and nonsocial reinforcement. J Abnorm Psychol. 2018 Jan; 127(1):116-128. PMID: 29369669.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Human LJ, Woolley JD, Mendes WB. Effects of Oxytocin Administration on Receiving Help. Emotion. 2017 Nov 27. PMID: 29172621.
      View in: PubMed
    3. B├╝rkner PC, Williams DR, Simmons TC, Woolley JD. Intranasal Oxytocin May Improve High-Level Social Cognition in Schizophrenia, But Not Social Cognition or Neurocognition in General: A Multilevel Bayesian Meta-analysis. Schizophr Bull. 2017 Oct 21; 43(6):1291-1303. PMID: 28586471.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Biagianti B, Fisher M, Howard L, Rowlands A, Vinogradov S, Woolley J. Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of remotely delivering cognitive training to people with schizophrenia using tablets. Schizophr Res Cogn. 2017 Dec; 10:7-14. PMID: 28824850.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Bradley ER, Woolley JD. Oxytocin effects in schizophrenia: Reconciling mixed findings and moving forward. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Sep; 80:36-56. PMID: 28506922.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Human LJ, Thorson KR, Woolley JD, Mendes WB. Combining oxytocin administration and positive emotion inductions: Examining social perception and analytical performance. Horm Behav. 2017 04; 90:120-128. PMID: 28324706.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Fisher M, Nahum M, Howard E, Rowlands A, Brandrett B, Kermott A, Woolley J, Vinogradov S. Supplementing intensive targeted computerized cognitive training with social cognitive exercises for people with schizophrenia: An interim report. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2017 Mar; 40(1):21-32. PMID: 28368179.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Biagianti B, Schlosser D, Nahum M, Woolley J, Vinogradov S. Creating Live Interactions to Mitigate Barriers (CLIMB): A Mobile Intervention to Improve Social Functioning in People With Chronic Psychotic Disorders. JMIR Ment Health. 2016 Dec 13; 3(4):e52. PMID: 27965190.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Stauffer CS, Dobberteen L, Woolley JD. American Alcohol Photo Stimuli (AAPS): A standardized set of alcohol and matched non-alcohol images. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2017 11; 43(6):647-655. PMID: 27893279.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Stauffer CS, Musinipally V, Suen A, Lynch KL, Shapiro B, Woolley JD. A two-week pilot study of intranasal oxytocin for cocaine-dependent individuals receiving methadone maintenance treatment for opioid use disorder. Addict Res Theory. 2016; 24(6):490-498. PMID: 28503120.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Woolley JD, Arcuni PA, Stauffer CS, Fulford D, Carson DS, Batki S, Vinogradov S. The effects of intranasal oxytocin in opioid-dependent individuals and healthy control subjects: a pilot study. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016 07; 233(13):2571-80. PMID: 27137199.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Mitchell JM, Arcuni PA, Weinstein D, Woolley JD. Intranasal Oxytocin Selectively Modulates Social Perception, Craving, and Approach Behavior in Subjects With Alcohol Use Disorder. J Addict Med. 2016 May-Jun; 10(3):182-9. PMID: 27159342.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Quintana DS, Woolley JD. Intranasal Oxytocin Mechanisms Can Be Better Understood, but Its Effects on Social Cognition and Behavior Are Not to Be Sniffed At. Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 15; 79(8):e49-50. PMID: 26212900.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Woolley JD, Strobl EV, Sturm VE, Shany-Ur T, Poorzand P, Grossman S, Nguyen L, Eckart JA, Levenson RW, Seeley WW, Miller BL, Rankin KP. Impaired Recognition and Regulation of Disgust Is Associated with Distinct but Partially Overlapping Patterns of Decreased Gray Matter Volume in the Ventroanterior Insula. Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Oct 01; 78(7):505-14. PMID: 25890642; PMCID: PMC4529378 [Available on 10/01/16].
    15. Woolley JD, Lam O, Chuang B, Ford JM, Mathalon DH, Vinogradov S. Oxytocin administration selectively improves olfactory detection thresholds for lyral in patients with schizophrenia. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Mar; 53:217-22. PMID: 25637811; PMCID: PMC4503321.
    16. Stauffer CS, Woolley JD. Can we bottle psychosocial treatments for addiction? The role of oxytocin. J Clin Psychiatry. 2014 Sep; 75(9):1028-9. PMID: 25295428.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Woolley JD, Chuang B, Lam O, Lai W, O'Donovan A, Rankin KP, Mathalon DH, Vinogradov S. Oxytocin administration enhances controlled social cognition in patients with schizophrenia. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Sep; 47:116-25. PMID: 25001961; PMCID: PMC4280262.
    18. Woolley JD, Khan BK, Natesan A, Karydas A, Dallman M, Havel P, Miller BL, Rankin KP. Satiety-related hormonal dysregulation in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. Neurology. 2014 Feb 11; 82(6):512-20. PMID: 24415571; PMCID: PMC3937860.
    19. Daubenmier J, Lustig RH, Hecht FM, Kristeller J, Woolley J, Adam T, Dallman M, Epel E. A new biomarker of hedonic eating? A preliminary investigation of cortisol and nausea responses to acute opioid blockade. Appetite. 2014 Mar; 74:92-100. PMID: 24291355; PMCID: PMC4125886.
    20. Woolley JD, Strobl EV, Shelly WB, Karydas AM, Robin Ketelle RN, Wolkowitz OM, Miller BL, Rankin KP. BDNF serum concentrations show no relationship with diagnostic group or medication status in neurodegenerative disease. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2012 Sep; 9(7):815-21. PMID: 21605064; PMCID: PMC3176995.
    21. Khan BK, Woolley JD, Chao S, See T, Karydas AM, Miller BL, Rankin KP. Schizophrenia or neurodegenerative disease prodrome? Outcome of a first psychotic episode in a 35-year-old woman. Psychosomatics. 2012 May-Jun; 53(3):280-4. PMID: 22284422; PMCID: PMC3660996.
    22. Woolley JD, Khan BK, Murthy NK, Miller BL, Rankin KP. The diagnostic challenge of psychiatric symptoms in neurodegenerative disease: rates of and risk factors for prior psychiatric diagnosis in patients with early neurodegenerative disease. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Feb; 72(2):126-33. PMID: 21382304; PMCID: PMC3076589.
    23. Woolley J, Douglas VC, Cree BA. Neuromyelitis optica, psychiatric symptoms and primary polydipsia: a case report. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2010 Nov-Dec; 32(6):648.e5-8. PMID: 21112466.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Woolley JD, Wilson MR, Hung E, Gorno-Tempini ML, Miller BL, Shim J. Frontotemporal dementia and mania. Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Dec; 164(12):1811-6. PMID: 18056235.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Taha SA, Norsted E, Lee LS, Lang PD, Lee BS, Woolley JD, Fields HL. Endogenous opioids encode relative taste preference. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Aug; 24(4):1220-6. PMID: 16925586.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Gorno-Tempini ML, Rankin KP, Woolley JD, Rosen HJ, Phengrasamy L, Miller BL. Cognitive and behavioral profile in a case of right anterior temporal lobe neurodegeneration. Cortex. 2004 Sep-Dec; 40(4-5):631-44. PMID: 15505973.
      View in: PubMed
    27. Woolley JD. Buccofacial apraxia and the expression of emotion. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Dec; 1000:395-401. PMID: 14766655.
      View in: PubMed