This is a request for 5 years of funding through the K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award mechanism. The applicant proposes to extend her primarily preclinical research training background with a mentored career development program in human cognitive neuroimaging and clinical research. The applicant's long-term goal is to become an independent investigator skilled in cognitive neuroimaging to conduct substance abuse research with the aim of developing new methods to personalize substance abuse treatment. The training plan includes hands-on research, course work, laboratory rotations, one-on-one training sessions with proposed mentors/consultants, journal clubs, attendance at national and international scientific meetings, and training in responsible conduct of research. The program's research component will permit the applicant to implement newly developed skills to further investigate predictors of relapse and the interaction between such predictors. The 3 experiments outlined in this proposal will use standard and fMRI versions of cognitive tests in nicotine-dependent smokers. The applicant first will learn to conduct standard cognitive testing to determine the relationship between intentional bias to smoking cues and impulsivity, behavioral measures that predict relapse vulnerability. Next, the applicant will learn to use fMRI versions the smoking emotional Stroop (SES) task and the multisource interference task (MSIT). The SES task measures the extent to which an intentional bias exists for smoking words and the MSIT task measures general attention. The applicant then will learn to use an fMRI version of the delay match to sample task to determine whether brain areas maintaining working memory for smoking stimuli differ from those maintaining neutral stimuli. These fMRI tasks require training in different design and analysis methods, which will develop the applicant's ability to work with and implement fMRI tasks of different designs, which in future will enable her to independently design and implement other cognitive neuroimaging paradigms. In addition to the skills required to conduct standard and fMRI versions of cognitive assessments, the applicant will be trained in human clinical research methods (e.g., conducting a range of psychometric tests) for screening and classification of research participants. This will allow the applicant to design more clinically relevant research for future R01 grant applications. The proposed mentored training plan will position the applicant to lead future studies designed to use standard and fMRI versions of cognitive assessments to characterize links between cognition, brain function, and relapse risk to smoking, which may guide smoking cessation and relapse prevention research.
Tobacco smoking-related illness is a global health problem that remains resistant to treatment. Developing a deeper understanding of relapse risk factors and their interactions using neuroimaging, cognitive, and psychological trait and state measures may improve smoker phenotyping and advance research aimed at developing more effective personalized smoking cessation treatments.
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