Pilot Core 6 is designed to provide a flexible means for developing and exploring new and innovative research activities or directions, and unique opportunities that can evolve into independently funded research projects. The pilot program is also expected to attract new investigators, and investigators new to methamphetamine (MA) research. During Years 6-10, we propose to fund an average of 3 projects/year with an average budget of $33K/project and an expected duration of 1-2 years. The Center Scientific Director, T. Phillips, will manage this Core, and applications will be solicited from all OHSU and Portland VA Medical Center-based investigators annually. Each proposal will be evaluated for scientific merit/innovation and for relatedness to the Center's overall goals by at least two members of the Center's Scientific Advisory Board (or in some cases, other external experts in the scientific field), the Scientific Director, and the Center Director. Recommendations for funding will be considered for approval by the Center Executive Committee. The Center Director, A. Janowsky, will submit written notification of the desire to initiate a new project to NIDA before implementing funding, and will await final approval from the NIDA Program Officer, as required. Occasionally, when a special opportunity arises, we may solicit an application for review outside of the cycle described above. For example, a faculty member could have an idea or possess a technique that would benefit the Center, and the Center might be able to provide a small amount of pilot funding (after scientific review and approval from our NIDA Program Officer) to help initiate these novel studies. The three new pilot projects funded in MARC Year 5, all from investigators new to MA research, will be considered for renewal in Year 6, along with other solicited applications. Project 6A (M. Ford, PI) will explore the ramifications of altered muscarinic receptor function on the discriminative stimulus effects of MA. Project 6B (E. Boudreau, PI) will examine the role of circadian period on effects of MA in mice using optical microangiography (OMAG) and other imaging methods. Project 6C (L. Ganzini, PI) will provide important demographic information for individuals with MA abuse problems, that will be important for interpreting clinical research.
The information gained from pilot projects will contribute knowledge about MA abusing patient populations that will assist in designing treatments. It is expected that Pilot Core Component projects will contribute to the study of MA abuse and to one or more of the additional important themes of the Center. These address changes in the brain, and identify important genetic and biological factors to better understand MA addiction.
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