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VISN 1 MIRECC Staff: Joao P. De Aquino, M.D.

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Joao P. De Aquino, M.D.

Dr. Joao P. De Aquino is a Principal Investigator at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System VISN-1 MIRECC; an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine; and an Assistant Chief of Psychiatry at the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU). Dr. De Aquino is a graduate of the Psychiatry Residency, Neuroscience Research Training program (NRTP), Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at Yale; and of Advanced Research Fellowship at the VISN-1 MIRECC. The thrust of Dr. De Aquino's research program is to combine neuropsychopharmacology, computerized assessment of pain, and clinical trial methods to translate advances in neurobiology and develop novel therapeutics for persons with co-occurring pain and substance use disorders. To achieve this goal, he brings a background in Phase 1/2 human laboratory studies designed to probe mechanisms of pain and reward; and a demonstrated commitment to the integrated care of persons suffering from co-occurring pain and addiction. Building on NIH funding and on MIRECC and Yale collaborations, Dr. De Aquino has established an innovative research program that integrates state-of-the-art psychophysical, behavioral, and pharmacological pain and addiction research techniques. These efforts will provide clinical/translational support to develop novel, non-opioid therapeutics for pain and addiction - a timely endeavor amidst the opioid crisis.


  • M.D., Federal University of Ceara School of Medicine, Brazil, 2012
  • Psychiatric Residency, Yale University, 2018
  • Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship, Yale University, 2019
  • Advanced Research Fellowship, VA VISN-1 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) & Yale University, 2021

Areas of Research Interest

  • Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Computerized Assessment of Pain
  • Addiction
  • Clinical Trials

Projects & Grants

  • Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Oral and Vaporized THC in Older Adults (PI)
    An NIH/National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) R21 Grant to apply pharmacokinetics modeling and quantitative sensory testing (QST) — a psychophysical method to reliably assess pain in humans — toward understanding the relationship between analgesic effects of THC and the drug's metabolism among people aged 65 years or older. 2022-2024.
  • Cannabidiol Pharmacotherapy for Comorbid Opioid Addiction and Chronic Pain (PI)
    An NIH/National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) K23 Award to combine computerized assessment of pain and behavioral pharmacology techniques towards determining the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol to alleviate pain and opioid craving, among persons living with opioid addiction and chronic pain. 2021-2026.
  • Cannabinoid Modulation of Pain Sensitivity Among Humans with Comorbid Opioid Use Disorder and Chronic Pain (PI)
    Funded by the Clara Guthrie and Robert E. Leet Patterson Trust, the goal of this phase 1/2 human laboratory study is to investigate the acute analgesic, rewarding, and cognitive effects of oral delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol among persons with co-occurring opioid addiction and chronic pain who receive methadone treatment. 2020-2022.

Dr. De Aquino's Google Scholar Profile


Mehmet Sofuoglu, M.D., Ph.D.

Megan M. Kelly, Ph.D.
VISN 1 New England MIRECC Co-Director

Erin D. Reilly, M.Ed., Ph.D.
Director for Education

Richard Carson, LCSW
Administrative Officer
203-932-5711 Ext. 4338