Although smoking cessation efforts by NIDA and others have been successful, millions of Americans continue to smoke. Additionally, our laboratories have found important results on the metabolic effects of nicotine, including findings that nicotine plus a high fat diet (HFD) leads to hepatic and muscle steatosis. We have also used a large database to show that secondhand smoke is associated with both diabetes and obesity. This has led us to develop the theme of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) Diversity-Promoting Institution Drug Abuse Research Program (DIDARP) to be Metabolic Effects of Nicotine: it Matters. Our training theme will continue to be Research Teams of the Future that is based on the NIH roadmap. Our training program will focus on minority trainees at all levels and make a difference in the long run by tackling the problem of substance abuse. The overarching goal of the research, training and education programs of this DIDARP are to enhance CDU's capacity to conduct substance abuse research with a primary focus on the metabolic effects of nicotine. The specific goals of CDU DIDARP are: 1. To increase the number of high quality drug addiction research projects related to the metabolic effects of nicotine to allow CDU to develop expertise and acquire preliminary data to be able to compete for NIDA P01, P50 or ROI grants; 2. To continue to foster interest in substance abuse research among under-represented students and other trainees by providing meaningful educational and research experiences; and 3. To continue to enhance the research infrastructure at CDU to support substance abuse research. To achieve these goals, we will have 3 related, cross-disciplinary projects: Project 1: Nicotine exacerbates high fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis and skeletal muscle abnormalities in obese mice. Pilot Project A: Understanding the role of dopamine in binge-eating, nicotine and alcohol use: a translational PET study. Pilot Project B: The association between secondhand smoking and diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. Achieving these goals will eventually help reduce the health disparities as related to substance abuse.
Much remains unknown about the devastating consequences of cigarettes and the mechanisms of how nicotine, the main active compound in cigarettes, leads to these effects. The theme of the CDU DIDARP is the 'Metabolic Effects of Nicotine: It Matters' and in one primary project and two pilot projects, we will study the deleterious metabolic effects of nicotine in a multidisciplinary, highly translational manner. Our training program will focus on minority trainees at all levels and we will develop faculty at CDU. The CDU DIDARP, by tackling the problem of cigarette smoking, will have important public health implications.
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