Hunter College of the City University of New York has a traditionally high (greater than 50 percent) minority population. It is our goal to develop a program at Hunter that draws on existing strengths to broaden and encourage drug abuse research at Hunter. This program for studies on drug abuse will encompass research on the molecular, cellular, and behavioral level in response to different drugs of abuse. It will include active research faculty, graduate and undergraduate research students, and technical support personnel in the Psychology and Biology Departments, who share an interest in understanding addiction as a brain disease or who want to move their research efforts in that direction.
The aims of proposal are to enhance the research infrastructure of Hunter to facilitate our efforts in drug abuse research, develop individual projects within our departments within this area of research, and to stimulate the interest of other faculty and our students, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, in research on drug abuse. An integral goal of this center is to facilitate the career development of minority undergraduate and graduate students who will become the independent scientists of the future. The specific projects proposed include: 1) Mechanism of sensitization to methamphetamine; 2) Neurobiology of drug addiction and impulsive behavior; 3) Interactions between stress and psychostimulant drugs in behavioral sensitivity and memory; and 4) Effects of the estrous cycle and gender differences in cocaine-induced alterations in the CNS. The PI, who is not submitting a research project is an established drug abuse research and will serve as advisor on these projects and mentor to the junior scientists. Three of the five of us are Hispanic scientists and the two non- minority scientists have a long history of training minority scholars and are part of the administration of the COR, MARC and MBRS grants. Three of the five work in areas consistent with the NIDA mission and the other two are moving in that direction. Finally, two of us are senior scientists with over 25 years of research experience each and will serve as mentors to the more junior faculty of this group, especially the two faculty who have joined Hunter this year. The mechanisms for this mentoring are built into the collaborations that we have and the program itself.
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