? Overall One of the overall goals of this center is to provide an environment in which investigators can conduct new, significant and innovative basic and clinical research utilizing bioanalytical technology, genetically altered mice, neurobehavioral measures and gastrointestinal studies to advance our knowledge of the effects of abused drugs on biological systems. Coordination through the Administrative Core will provide the necessary scientific, financial, and administrative infrastructure to support such an environment. Further, this center will provide these areas of expertise to enhance the research of the 21 projects in VCU's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology currently funded by NIDA and 13 funded through other NIH institutes (NIAAA: 2; NINDS: 2; NIGMS: 1; NCI: 1; NIDDKD: 4; NHLBI: 2) or other federal agencies (NSF: 1). These cores will provide current and innovative expertise that is improved over the methodologies used in previously funded research. This will enhance previously funded research and foster new collaborative research in ways that could not have been contemplated just a few years ago. A Bioanalytical Core, Mutant Mouse/Viral Vector Core, Neuropharmacology Core, and a Gastrointestinal Function Core will provide the opportunity for funded researchers to broaden the scope of their work to transform knowledge in various creative ways. The ability to continue to provide genetically altered mice with appropriate genotyping, etc., and expertise in viral vector technology are major assets of this Center. Being able to have a collaborator elucidate receptor functional changes as part of the neuropharmacology core, identify a substance found to alter behavior or craving in the bioanalytical core, or identify deleterious effects in the gastrointestinal tract provides the atmosphere for new and creative mechanistic research. This type of collaboration among scientists at different institutions is rare and requires many months or perhaps years to establish, if at all. In this center this type of collaboration will be the norm. We are committed to providing considerable institutional support, such as the use of a modern imaging center and a forensic toxicology laboratory established by the university. We have commitments from the Dean of the School of Medicine, the Dean of the School of Pharmacy, and the Vice President for Research and Innovation to provide matching funds for our Pilot Projects program. The cores will also be available for use by NIDA-funded investigators at the University of Virginia and Eastern Virginia Medical School. Scholars at the relatively new Pharmacy School at Hampton University have begun collaborations with our researchers, as they continue to develop and expand their research programs. We will also continue to share all aspects of this center with scientists throughout the country. We have included numerous letters of support from collaborating investigators at other institutions within Virginia and across the country, showcasing the strength of our Center and its importance to drug abuse research being conducted throughout the United States.
- Overall Drug abuse and addiction produce a major human and financial burden on society. The complexities of the diseases associated with substance abuse and addiction are being appreciated more and more. Clearly a comprehensive approach, such as described in this application, is needed to determine the best way to prevent and treat these diseases and stop catastrophes such as the current opioid epidemic.
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