This program for pre- and post-doctoral training supports the training of specialists who are able to conduct preclinical research at levels ranging from the molecular to the cognitive/clinical, on the biological mechanisms underlying the development, maintenance, and elimination of drug-seeking behavior. Thirty-two members of the graduate faculty of the Oregon Health &Science University serve as preceptors for postdoctoral research fellows and for Ph.D. students matriculating into basic science graduate programs in behavioral neuroscience, neuroscience, physiology and pharmacology, or biochemistry. Major research areas represent four levels. Some faculty members work primarily at the cellular/molecular level, using molecular biological, cell biological, and electron microscopic techniques. Other faculty work principally at the level of physiological, biochemical and pharmacological systems, using receptor binding, autoradiography, in vivo microdialysis and voltammetry, and electrophysiological techniques, and some work primarily in behavioral pharmacology and pharmacogenetics, using behavioral testing, intravenous drug self-administration, quantitative genetics and genetic mapping, as well as computer modeling techniques. Finally, some faculty work with human subjects, using cognitive testing and a variety of imaging techniques. Areas of extensive existing faculty collaboration include: studies of dopaminergic systems, ranging from molecular biology to behavior;extensive studies of genetic determinants of drug responses, at all levels from molecular to statistical gene mapping;and the study of learned and unlearned determinants of responses to drugs, particularly their rewarding effects and drug self- administration. Sensitivity, tolerance, and dependence/withdrawal phenomena for all major classes of drugs of abuse are under active investigation. Training includes firm curricular grounding in the basic sciences, specific pharmacological training in abused drugs, and extensive and continuous participation in research.
Drug abuse has tremendous personal and societal costs. This program trains scientists to carry out research to identify mechanisms of the processes of becoming addicted to drugs and of stopping drug taking, and to develop treatments to prevent renewed drug taking by abstinent addicts.
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