Substance abuse and addictive disorders constitute a major, high-impact health problem. This competitive renewal of the training grant Neural and Pharmacological Mechanisms of Abused Drugs (T32DA07287) at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) proposes to address the large gap between the problem of addiction and efficacious solutions by mentoring the next generation of scientists prepared and committed to the search for answers. The overarching goal of the Training Program is to provide nascent scientists with the knowledge base, technical expertise and professional skills needed to advance knowledge in the addictions and to move these advances toward new therapeutics. The 22 faculty mentors/co-mentors have a wealth of training and career development successes, extensive collaborative networks and expertise in translational addiction research conducted with modern technologies. Our objectives are to provide exemplary training in translational research in the neural bases for drug abuse and addiction, drug discovery and medications development, and the medical consequences of drug abuse and addiction. Strategies to achieve these objectives include providing well-funded, state-of-the-art research opportunities and facilities, effective mentoring and monitoring plans, challenging curricula and supportive interactive programs (e.g., short-term clinical rotations, journal clubs, workgroups, seminars), and first-rate program activities that develop the professional skills needed for advancement towards an independent career. The culmination of our efforts is the success of our trainees as complete, contemporary scientists equipped with the tools to advance the mechanistic understanding of addiction and move these advances toward new therapeutic approaches to its treatment.
This Training Program will mentor the next generation of investigators equipped to uncover the neural bases for addiction, conduct drug discovery and medication development research for new addiction therapies, and understand the medical consequences of addictive disorders. The outcomes will result in greater understanding of, and potential therapeutics for chronic addictive disorders that dramatically impact the health of U. S. citizens.
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