This is an application for an Independent Scientist Award (K02) from a candidate who is a physicist and has devoted his career to healthcare research. His expertise is in developing techniques to address limitations in brain MRI, rapid imaging, image reconstruction, and functional MRI (fMRI). These limitations include magnetic susceptibility artifacts. Susceptibility artifacts produce signal loss in many important brain regions including the ventral striatum, amygdala, orbital frontal cortex, basal ganglia, and nucleus accumbens. These brain regions are crucial to reward processing and decision-making and are likely to be associated with an increased risk of common emotional and addictive disorders including substance abuse and dependence. The candidate has conducted this work over the past six years as an independent, NIH funded investigator. The candidate is a Principal Investigator on two R01 grants from NIMH, one R21 grant from NIDA, and is a Co-Investigator on five other grants related to brain fMRI that use his techniques. One unfortunate limitation in the candidate's research career, however, is a deficiency in knowledge of biology and neuroscience and its relationships to clinically relevant problems such as substance abuse. There is a large gap between the novel methods developed by the applicant and their true efficacy in studying clinical populations with fMRI. The goal of this application is to allow the candidate to addresses this missing piece in his research career development as well as to continue pushing the envelope of his methodologies. The applicant will attend conferences that are outside of his domain of expertise such as in neuroscience and drug addiction. The candidate will also receive mentorship by working daily with leading experts in drug addiction research using MRI. He will also provide mentorship in MRI methodology to junior physicists and clinicians. The plan includes ongoing training in the responsible conduct of research. The candidate will pursue the following research objectives: 1) Develop rapid, parallel imaging methods for brain fMRI with reduced susceptibility artifacts at high field, 2) validate the novel acquisitions for whole brain fMRI, and 3), as part of a career training activity, apply the techniques to improve fMRI studies of reward and decision in inferior brain regions (such as the OFC) to a clinical population of methamphetamine users. Successful funding of this award will ensure that the applicant is freed up from service and administrative responsibilities for the next five years so that he can spend at least 75 percent of his time on research, mentorship, and expanding his research expertise.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research (K02)
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Study Section
Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Boyce, Cheryl A
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University of Hawaii
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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