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Joshua Woolley, MD, PhD

Title(s)Associate Professor, Psychiatry
SchoolSchool of Medicine
Address4150 Clement St
San Francisco CA 94121
Phone415-221-4810 ext. 4117
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    Other Positions
    Title(s)UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences


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    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. to make corrections and additions.
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    1. Enhancing prolonged exposure therapy for PTSD among veterans with oxytocin: Design of a multisite randomized controlled trial. Contemp Clin Trials. 2020 Jun 16; 106074. Flanagan JC, Mitchell JM, Baker NL, Woolley J, Wangelin B, Back SE, McQuaid JR, Neylan TC, Woolfe WR, Brady KT. PMID: 32561468.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    2. Social Integration and Inflammation in Individuals with and without Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Jun 11. Ahmadian AJ, Lin JE, Neylan TC, Woolley JD, O'Donovan A, Cohen BE. PMID: 32534985.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    3. Oxytocin Enhances an Amygdala Circuit Associated With Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia: A Single-Dose, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover, Randomized Control Trial. Schizophr Bull. 2020 Apr 10; 46(3):661-669. Abram SV, De Coster L, Roach BJ, Mueller BA, van Erp TGM, Calhoun VD, Preda A, Lim KO, Turner JA, Ford JM, Mathalon DH, Woolley JD. PMID: 31595302.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    4. Six month durability of targeted cognitive training supplemented with social cognition exercises in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res Cogn. 2020 Jun; 20:100171. Miley K, Fisher M, Nahum M, Howard E, Rowlands A, Brandrett B, Woolley J, Hooker CI, Biagianti B, Ramsay I, Vinogradov S. PMID: 31908976.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    5. Effects of Oxytocin Administration on Cue-Induced Craving in Co-occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and PTSD: A Within-Participant Randomized Clinical Trial. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2019 12; 43(12):2627-2636. Stauffer CS, Meinzer NK, Morrison T, Wen JH, Radanovich L, Leung D, Niles A, O'Donovan A, Batki SL, Woolley JD. PMID: 31610033.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    6. Oxytocin increases eye gaze in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2019 10; 212:177-185. Bradley ER, Seitz A, Niles AN, Rankin KP, Mathalon DH, O'Donovan A, Woolley JD. PMID: 31416746.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    7. Neural and behavioral effects of oxytocin administration during theory of mind in schizophrenia and controls: a randomized control trial. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 10; 44(11):1925-1931. De Coster L, Lin L, Mathalon DH, Woolley JD. PMID: 31103018.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    8. Psychedelic-Assisted Group Therapy: A Systematic Review. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2019 Apr-Jun; 51(2):174-188. Trope A, Anderson BT, Hooker AR, Glick G, Stauffer C, Woolley JD. PMID: 30950777.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    9. Victory is its own reward: oxytocin increases costly competitive behavior in schizophrenia. Psychol Med. 2020 03; 50(4):674-682. Bradley ER, Brustkern J, De Coster L, van den Bos W, McClure SM, Seitz A, Woolley JD. PMID: 30944045.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    10. Concurrent Use of Buprenorphine, Methadone, or Naltrexone Does Not Inhibit Ketamine's Antidepressant Activity. Biol Psychiatry. 2019 06 15; 85(12):e75-e76. Marton T, Barnes DE, Wallace A, Woolley JD. PMID: 30926131.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    11. Oxytocin-enhanced motivational interviewing group therapy for methamphetamine use disorder in men who have sex with men: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2019 Feb 21; 20(1):145. Stauffer CS, Moschetto JM, McKernan SM, Hsiang E, Borsari B, Woolley JD. PMID: 30791944.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    12. Oxytocin does not improve working memory in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2019 06; 208:486-487. Bradley ER, van Nieuwenhuizen A, Abram S, Niles AN, Woolley JD. PMID: 30712813.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    13. Social motivation in schizophrenia: The impact of oxytocin on vigor in the context of social and nonsocial reinforcement. J Abnorm Psychol. 2018 01; 127(1):116-128. Fulford D, Treadway M, Woolley J. PMID: 29369669.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    14. Effects of oxytocin administration on receiving help. Emotion. 2018 Oct; 18(7):980-988. Human LJ, Woolley JD, Mendes WB. PMID: 29172621.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    15. 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 10 21; 43(6):1291-1303. Bürkner PC, Williams DR, Simmons TC, Woolley JD. PMID: 28586471.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    16. Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of remotely delivering cognitive training to people with schizophrenia using tablets. Schizophr Res Cogn. 2017 Dec; 10:7-14. Biagianti B, Fisher M, Howard L, Rowlands A, Vinogradov S, Woolley J. PMID: 28824850.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    17. Oxytocin effects in schizophrenia: Reconciling mixed findings and moving forward. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Sep; 80:36-56. Bradley ER, Woolley JD. PMID: 28506922.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    18. Combining oxytocin administration and positive emotion inductions: Examining social perception and analytical performance. Horm Behav. 2017 04; 90:120-128. Human LJ, Thorson KR, Woolley JD, Mendes WB. PMID: 28324706.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    19. Supplementing intensive targeted computerized cognitive training with social cognitive exercises for people with schizophrenia: An interim report. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2017 03; 40(1):21-32. Fisher M, Nahum M, Howard E, Rowlands A, Brandrett B, Kermott A, Woolley J, Vinogradov S. PMID: 28368179.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    20. Intranasal oxytocin increases facial expressivity, but not ratings of trustworthiness, in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls. Psychol Med. 2017 May; 47(7):1311-1322. Woolley JD, Chuang B, Fussell C, Scherer S, Biagianti B, Fulford D, Mathalon DH, Vinogradov S. PMID: 28091349.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    21. 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. Biagianti B, Schlosser D, Nahum M, Woolley J, Vinogradov S. PMID: 27965190.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    22. 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. Stauffer CS, Dobberteen L, Woolley JD. PMID: 27893279.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    23. 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. Stauffer CS, Musinipally V, Suen A, Lynch KL, Shapiro B, Woolley JD. PMID: 28503120.
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    24. The effects of intranasal oxytocin in opioid-dependent individuals and healthy control subjects: a pilot study. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016 07; 233(13):2571-80. Woolley JD, Arcuni PA, Stauffer CS, Fulford D, Carson DS, Batki S, Vinogradov S. PMID: 27137199.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    25. 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. Mitchell JM, Arcuni PA, Weinstein D, Woolley JD. PMID: 27159342.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    26. 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. Quintana DS, Woolley JD. PMID: 26212900.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 10     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    27. 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. 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. PMID: 25890642.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    28. Oxytocin administration selectively improves olfactory detection thresholds for lyral in patients with schizophrenia. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Mar; 53:217-22. Woolley JD, Lam O, Chuang B, Ford JM, Mathalon DH, Vinogradov S. PMID: 25637811.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    29. Can we bottle psychosocial treatments for addiction? The role of oxytocin. J Clin Psychiatry. 2014 Sep; 75(9):1028-9. Stauffer CS, Woolley JD. PMID: 25295428.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    30. Oxytocin administration enhances controlled social cognition in patients with schizophrenia. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Sep; 47:116-25. Woolley JD, Chuang B, Lam O, Lai W, O'Donovan A, Rankin KP, Mathalon DH, Vinogradov S. PMID: 25001961.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 22     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    31. Are we really mapping psychosis risk? Neuroanatomical signature of affective disorders in subjects at ultra high risk. Psychol Med. 2014 Dec; 44(16):3491-501. Modinos G, Allen P, Frascarelli M, Tognin S, Valmaggia L, Xenaki L, Keedwell P, Broome M, Valli I, Woolley J, Stone JM, Mechelli A, Phillips ML, McGuire P, Fusar-Poli P. PMID: 25066827.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    32. Satiety-related hormonal dysregulation in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. Neurology. 2014 Feb 11; 82(6):512-20. Woolley JD, Khan BK, Natesan A, Karydas A, Dallman M, Havel P, Miller BL, Rankin KP. PMID: 24415571.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    33. A new biomarker of hedonic eating? A preliminary investigation of cortisol and nausea responses to acute opioid blockade. Appetite. 2014 Mar; 74:92-100. Daubenmier J, Lustig RH, Hecht FM, Kristeller J, Woolley J, Adam T, Dallman M, Epel E. PMID: 24291355.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 11     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    34. Cannabis use and first-episode psychosis: relationship with manic and psychotic symptoms, and with age at presentation. Psychol Med. 2014 Feb; 44(3):499-506. Stone JM, Fisher HL, Major B, Chisholm B, Woolley J, Lawrence J, Rahaman N, Joyce J, Hinton M, Johnson S, Young AH. PMID: 23701858.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 18     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    35. Reduced parahippocampal cortical thickness in subjects at ultra-high risk for psychosis. Psychol Med. 2014 Feb; 44(3):489-98. Tognin S, Riecher-Rössler A, Meisenzahl EM, Wood SJ, Hutton C, Borgwardt SJ, Koutsouleris N, Yung AR, Allen P, Phillips LJ, McGorry PD, Valli I, Velakoulis D, Nelson B, Woolley J, Pantelis C, McGuire P, Mechelli A. PMID: 23659473.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 14     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    36. BDNF serum concentrations show no relationship with diagnostic group or medication status in neurodegenerative disease. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2012 Sep; 9(7):815-21. Woolley JD, Strobl EV, Shelly WB, Karydas AM, Robin Ketelle RN, Wolkowitz OM, Miller BL, Rankin KP. PMID: 21605064.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    37. 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. Khan BK, Woolley JD, Chao S, See T, Karydas AM, Miller BL, Rankin KP. PMID: 22284422.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    38. 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. Woolley JD, Khan BK, Murthy NK, Miller BL, Rankin KP. PMID: 21382304.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 58     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    39. Neuromyelitis optica, psychiatric symptoms and primary polydipsia: a case report. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2010 Nov-Dec; 32(6):648.e5-8. Woolley J, Douglas VC, Cree BA. PMID: 21112466.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    40. Frontotemporal dementia and mania. Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Dec; 164(12):1811-6. Woolley JD, Wilson MR, Hung E, Gorno-Tempini ML, Miller BL, Shim J. PMID: 18056235.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    41. Binge eating is associated with right orbitofrontal-insular-striatal atrophy in frontotemporal dementia. Neurology. 2007 Oct 02; 69(14):1424-33. Woolley JD, Gorno-Tempini ML, Seeley WW, Rankin K, Lee SS, Matthews BR, Miller BL. PMID: 17909155.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 70     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    42. Opposing effects of intra-nucleus accumbens mu and kappa opioid agonists on sensory specific satiety. Neuroscience. 2007 Jun 08; 146(4):1445-52. Woolley JD, Lee BS, Kim B, Fields HL. PMID: 17445988.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 12     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    43. Nucleus accumbens opioid signaling conditions short-term flavor preferences. Neuroscience. 2007 Apr 25; 146(1):19-30. Woolley JD, Lee BS, Taha SA, Fields HL. PMID: 17320293.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 16     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    44. Nucleus accumbens opioids regulate flavor-based preferences in food consumption. Neuroscience. 2006 Nov 17; 143(1):309-17. Woolley JD, Lee BS, Fields HL. PMID: 17049180.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 29     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    45. Endogenous opioids encode relative taste preference. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Aug; 24(4):1220-6. Taha SA, Norsted E, Lee LS, Lang PD, Lee BS, Woolley JD, Fields HL. PMID: 16925586.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 14     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    46. The autonomic and behavioral profile of emotional dysregulation. Neurology. 2004 Nov 09; 63(9):1740-3. Woolley JD, Gorno-Tempini ML, Werner K, Rankin KP, Ekman P, Levenson RW, Miller BL. PMID: 15534273.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    47. Cognitive and behavioral profile in a case of right anterior temporal lobe neurodegeneration. Cortex. 2004 Sep-Dec; 40(4-5):631-44. Gorno-Tempini ML, Rankin KP, Woolley JD, Rosen HJ, Phengrasamy L, Miller BL. PMID: 15505973.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 39     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    48. Buccofacial apraxia and the expression of emotion. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Dec; 1000:395-401. Woolley JD. PMID: 14766655.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
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