This continuation application proposes to support three pre-doctoral and three post-doctoral trainees with a faculty of 28 drawn from seven academic and research units of the University of Kentucky. The environment is rich with opportunities for bio-behavioral research in facilities such as the: 1) Center on Drug and Alcohol Research;2) Center for Drug and Alcohol Research Translation;3) Center for Clinical and Translational Science;4) Laboratory of Human Behavioral Pharmacology;5) Residential Research Facility;and 6) Straus Behavioral Research Building. During the most recent five-year funding period, we trained seven pre-doctoral students and eight post-doctoral fellows. Fourteen of these trainees remain involved in research or academics. Additional pre-doctoral trainees (2) and post-doctoral fellows (1) will be added during the final year of the current funding period. Individuals from under-represented racial and ethnic groups filled 17 percent of the available training slots. These trainees authored 129 publications and presented 90 papers at national or international conferences. The program is designed to prepare trainees to assume research responsibilities in academic, and other scientific organizations concerned with bio-behavioral aspects of drug abuse. Post-doctoral fellows will either have a doctorate in a behavioral science discipline and will be preparing for a research role in the drug abuse field, or they will be healt professionals who are seeking a behavioral science research orientation in drug abuse. Pre-doctoral trainees will concentrate in behavioral aspects of drug abuse as part of a doctoral program in a behavioral science discipline (e.g., psychology, sociology). Basic elements of the program include: (1) training in the basic building blocks of research (e.g., experimental design, data analysis) and independent research competence;(2) an interdisciplinary orientation which takes students beyond their basic discipline and provides exposure to key theoretical concepts and methodological issues of the related behavioral sciences along with a bio-behavioral conceptualization;(3) a program of enculturation and orientation to drug abuse, health and mental health settings;(4) exploration of drug abuse topics from a medical behavioral perspective through courses offered by training faculty;and (5) opportunities for research around relevant questions in drug abuse behavior constituting significant learning experiences for post-doctoral fellows and a dissertation project for pre-doctoral trainees. The post-doctoral program is individually geared to the objectives of the fellows and will build on their previous knowledge and experience, while drawing on these five core elements. We feel the need for a translational and interdisciplinary program such as the one proposed is greater today than ever before and fills a unique niche in substance abuse research.
The purpose of this application is to continue a highly successful 15-year training program in translational and interdisciplinary drug-abuse research. The program offers translational and interdisciplinary research training on bio-behavioral factors in drug abuse at the pre-doctoral and post-doctoral levels. Graduates of this program are actively involved in research, teaching, publishing articles, and becoming independent drug abuse researchers. We aim to continue this record of success in the next funding period because the need for a translational or interdisciplinary program is greater today than ever before and the proposed training program fills a unique niche in drug abuse research.
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