This renewal application requests 3 additional years of support to continue a highly successful international scientific meeting entitled Behavior, Biology and Chemistry: Translational Research in Addiction (BBC) that has been held annually in San Antonio Texas since 2009. Several standing committees organize the 2-day meeting that is attended by a broad spectrum of addiction researchers, from high school students to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and established senior investigators, from medicinal chemists to psychiatrists and social workers. A rich diversity in attendees (up to 30% from underrepresented populations) provides excellent role models for young scientists and gives them a unique opportunity to present their research to a sophisticated audience in a venue where the threshold for presentation is lower than most meetings. The BBC meeting promotes translational approaches to solving problems in addiction by stimulating discussion of novel research areas and by fostering new collaborations. The meeting and a satellite workshop (Pathways to Careers in Science) also provide career development training for the next generation of addiction researchers. Each meeting comprises a plenary symposium on a specific addiction topic or drug target, three additional invited lectures including one by a medicinal chemist and one by a clinician, oral communication sessions (several that are exclusively for presentations by trainees), a poster session, as well as oral and poster competitions for trainees. Each year the proceedings of the symposia have been published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. As many as 60 trainees per year have received travel stipends to attend the meeting in addition to a special travel award for a young faculty member (Maharaj Ticku Memorial Travel Fellowship for New Investigators). In addition to financial support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, BBC meetings have received significant financial (>$254,000) and institutional support from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, other universities, and individuals. Future BBC meetings will retain the successful approach and format of prior BBC meetings unless changes are warranted based on feedback received from an annual post- meeting online survey.
The specific aims of the BBC meeting are as follows: 1) provide a low-threshold, low- cost opportunity for young scientists to present their data, give oral presentations, and interact with experts in the addiction field; 2) encourage young scientists from underrepresented populations to participate in the BBC meeting and to pursue a career in addiction research; 3) convene experts in a novel or emerging area of addiction research and generate an archival proceeding (publication in a peer-reviewed journal) of their symposium; and 4) stimulate discussion and collaboration among the broad range of researchers and clinicians working in the addiction arena to facilitate innovative approaches for developing new medications.
This application requests 3 additional years of support to continue a highly successful annual meeting that brings together a broad range of addiction researchers, from undergraduate students to senior established investigators, from medicinal chemists to psychiatrists; the meeting explores novel targets for developing medications, promotes new research initiatives and collaborations, and stimulates translational approaches in addiction research. A generous travel award program, targeting women and underrepresented minorities, introduces a large number of young scientists to the excitement and challenges of addiction research.
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