This application seeks funding to address the opportunity at the University of Pittsburgh for a coherent training program on the neurobiology of substance use and abuse. The program will support three post- doctoral trainees and three pre-doctoral trainees at the dissertation stage. It is structured around five core areas of training faculty expertise: 1) Systems neurobiology of motivated behavior and cognition 2) Adolescent developmental biology and substance use vulnerability 3) Molecular modulation of neurotransmitter release and reuptake 4) Nicotine reinforcement and relapse 5) Stress responsive brain circuits. A didactic course will address these core areas of focus. There will also be a formal seminar series drawing prominent scientists whose work is at the cutting edge of research into these areas of focus. Extensive training in grant writing is formally incorporated through a "mentored and reviewed" grant writing course requirement. Presentation and analysis skills will be developed through an in-house seminar series in which works in progress will be presented by trainees or other individuals within the University of Pittsburgh substance use research community. The training program will enhance critical skills necessary for success as independent investigators, and the sum of its components will create multiple nodes of interaction between researchers, thereby increasing the breadth and quality of training of the supported individuals.
This grant will establish a program that will provide enhanced training into the neurobiology of substance use and abuse. The overarching goal is to produce research scientists with a broad base of knowledge in this area, and with the skills needed to succeed as independent investigators.
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