Nichole Michaels Lab

Nichole Michaels, PhD

Nichole Michaels, PhD
Principal Investigator
Nichole.Michaels@NationwideChildrens.org

Nichole L. Michaels, PhD, is a Principal Investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Michaels’ primary research interests include: identifying and evaluating practices for drug overdose harm reduction and the treatment of individuals with substance use disorders; developing prevention strategies for child abuse and neglect; and understanding the links between substance use disorders and child maltreatment. She is also active in public policy, and is a strong advocate for legislation to prevent gun violence in the US.

Dr. Michaels’ Lab studies substance use disorders, child maltreatment, and other causes of violent injuries and death. We are particularly interested in discovering how these issues intersect and how they can be prevented. Our lab values collaboration with community partners and our diverse team of researchers uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to build a more complete understanding of these important issues and how they impact families.

Evaluating the impact of fentanyl test strip use among rural and urban populations

This R01 study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, is evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, and associated benefits and harms of using fentanyl test strips as a drug overdose harm reduction strategy. 

Evaluation of a novel intervention to prevent polysubstance overdoses involving illicit stimulants

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this R01 study is evaluating fentanyl test strips as a strategy for preventing drug overdoses among individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system. 

Opioids and child abuse and neglect study

This study examines opioid use and other  social and environmental factors that influence child maltreatment in communities. It is funded by the CDC.  

Social support and social networks in family treatment courts

Social support and social networks in family treatment courts

Lab Staff

headshot of Aleah Cumberbatch

Aleah Cumberbatch, MPA
Research Associate
Email

Aleah Cumberbatch is a Research Associate in the Michaels Lab at the Center for Injury Research and Policy. Aleah completed both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees at Ohio University (OU). While studying psychology at OU, she discovered her passion for public health research as an undergraduate student researcher at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service. Aleah then continued her research with the Voinovich School while pursuing her Master of Public Administration degree. During her tenure as a graduate student, Aleah supported efforts to address mental health stigma in rural Ohio by creating an explainer video on the Health Stigma and Discrimination Framework. She also worked on substance use disorder and mental health surveys that would give community leaders vital data to continue their stigma reduction initiatives.

headshot of Bridget Duffy

Bridget Duffy, BS
Senior Research Associate
Email

Bridget earned a BS in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences in 2019. Her interest in health justice for people with an incarceration history, passion for substance use disorder advocacy, and eagerness to be involved in health policy then led her to Providence, RI. There, she completed a one-year fellowship with the Center for Health + Justice Transformation of Brown University. Upon moving to Columbus, she served as a caseworker for people who face homelessness, became mentor for Camp Mariposa - a national camp for children affected by a parent’s substance use disorder, and led a harm reduction interest group through Harm Reduction Ohio. Bridget came to the Michaels Lab in 2021, and her current research involves substance use disorder, child maltreatment, and homelessness. Outside of lab, Bridget enjoys trail running, scuba diving, and vegan cooking.

Yeliani Flores

Yeliani R. Flores, RA, MSW
Research Associate
Email

Yeliani Flores is a Research Assistant in the Michaels Lab at the Center for Research Injury and Policy.  She received her Master of Social Work at The Ohio State University and is currently a PhD student. Her research is focused on gender-based violence against marginalized women, including immigrant women of color. Additionally, her research interests lie in teen dating violence prevention, systemic responses to intimate partner violence, service access and intimate partner violence effects on children.

portrait of Jacob Holycross

Jacob Holycross
Research Associate
Email

Jacob is a Research Associate in Dr. Michaels’ Lab at CIRP, working on a study to implement a harm reduction strategy for opioid overdoses. He received his undergraduate degree from OSU and is finishing his MPH through George Washington University. His research areas of interest are social determinants of health and working with disenfranchised populations, suicide and injury prevention, and social justice. Outside of work, Jacob has three children and enjoys being a father, reading, running, hiking, and travelling. 

portrait of Ashley Short Meija

Ashley Short Meija, MSW
Senior Research Associate
Email

Ashley is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Injury Research and Policy. She received a BS in Social Work from The Ohio State University and an MSW from Boston University School of Social Work. She now works with the Michaels Lab studying fentanyl overdose harm reduction in Ohio, bringing experience as a clinical trial research coordinator for an addiction recovery study, as a program manager for a community-based youth participatory action research study, and locally in Columbus from work at a drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness. Ashley’s efforts stem from a desire to contribute to collective efforts to improve health accessibility and eliminate systemic barriers to health equity. She enjoys hiking, gardening, and time with her family, friends, and cats.

Madison Nurre portrait

Madison Nurre, BS
Graduate Research Associate
Email

Madison joined Dr. Michaels’ lab in August of 2022. She has previous experience in pediatric emergency medicine research where she recruited patients & families and led enrollment efforts for a study examining non-accidental fractures in young children. She earned her bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University in health science while minoring in biology. During that time, she worked with research teams studying HPV vaccination in Ohio, youth housing instability, and ACE scores. Madison is expected to complete her MPH, with a focus on maternal & child public health, at Ohio State in 2024. 

Fiona O'Malley

Fiona O'Malley, BS
Clinical Research Coordinator Team Lead
Email

Fiona earned her BS in Psychology from the University of Dayton (UD) in 2020 and will receive her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from UD in December of 2022. Her research interests focus on childhood maltreatment and resilience, and her clinical work has been with children and adolescents with developmental delays, learning disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. Fiona joined the Michaels Lab in summer of 2022 as the Team Lead. In her free time, Fiona enjoys spending time with her cat and hiking with her two dogs. 

Olivia Racette

Olivia Racette, BS
Research Aide
Email

Olivia earned her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from The Ohio State University College of Arts & Sciences in 2022. Currently in her first of two gap years before applying to medical school, Olivia serves as a Research Aide in Dr. Michaels' lab which she became a part of in June 2022. In Dr. Michaels' lab, she does research on substance abuse and child maltreatment. She became interested in the link between these topics throughout her undergraduate studies while taking classes for her Forensic Sciences minor. Outside of working in the lab, Olivia likes to travel, cook, go to concerts or sporting events, and paint.

headshot of Aubrie Sanchez

Aubrie M. Sanchez, MS, MPH
Senior Research Associate
Email

Aubrie is a biological anthropologist by training and a Senior Research Associate for the Michaels Lab. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Boston University, an MPH from Northeastern University, and an MS in Forensic Anthropology from Boston University School of Medicine. While at Northeastern University she was a member of the Musculoskeletal Epidemiology and Biomechanics Laboratory and the Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics Laboratory. At Boston University School of Medicine, she was an active member of the Forensic and Bioanthropology Laboratory Group. She is also a past member of the Injury Biomechanics Research Center and a current Lecturer in the School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences at The Ohio State University. Her research interest and continued focus is on the intersection of biological anthropology, public health, and injury prevention.

headshot of Arian Sorani

Arian M. Sorani, BA
Research Associate
Email

Arian earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with honors research distinction from The Ohio State University in 2022. His research focuses on how neurobiological and environmental vulnerabilities to behavioral impulsivity increase risk for developing externalizing psychopathology, including substance use disorders. Arian has also conducted research at Star House, a drop-in center for homeless youth, where he studied opioid misuse reduction. He is passionate about implementing evidence-based preventative interventions to improve the lives of at-risk youths.

headshot of Nicole Thompson

Nicole Thompson, MSW, LSW
Senior Research Associate
Email

Nicole is a Senior Research Associate in Dr. Nichole Michaels’ lab in the Center for Injury Research and Policy. Nicole received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California. Nicole’s research interests include overdose prevention, suicide prevention, system and justice involvement, and intergenerational mental health.