The program proposed here is a continuation of an interdisciplinary, predoctoral training program in research related to drug abuse. The objective of this program continues to be the preparation of individuals for research, professional and teaching careers focused on drug abuse. Students are drawn from the Behavioral Neuroscience Program within the Department of Psychology or the Curriculum in Neurobiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The environment offered by UNC/Chapel Hill Is particularly well suited for training in research related to drug abuse. First of all, the faculty includes a core of individuals whose research and teaching activities provide a broad spectrum of high-quality, research training opportunities. These include the neurobiology of dopamine and opioid systems, the neuropharmacology of ethanol and other drugs of abuse, investigations of the immune system and drugs of abuse, behavioral genetics of drugs of abuse, and the behavioral, neurobiological and endocrine effects of cocaine and other psychomotor stimulants. Secondly, the interaction among investigators provides a strong collaborative environment for training students. All trainees receive formal training in the basic neural and behavioral sciences. More focused training related to drug abuse comes from a variety of interdepartmental courses and seminars and extensive laboratory research. Trainees also take part in conferences at national meetings, and receive training in teaching and communication. They participate in courses and discussions related to the ethical conduct of research, and are provided many opportunities to develop their professional leadership skills, including writing proposals and making formal presentations. Upon completion of their training, students are prepared to pursue a career related to drug abuse in academic or research-intensive settings.
Drug abuse remains a pressing problem in this country and the interdisciplinary training program proposed here addresses that problem by preparing individuals with the skills necessary to advance knowledge of the behavioral, neurobiological and pharmacological effects of drugs of abuse This knowledge is central to the development of treatments for those who are dependent upon drugs of abuse and for the prevention of drug abuse in others.
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