The Rutgers molecular neuroscience of alcohol and drug abuse research training (MNADRT) program in New Jersey is designed to promote the development of promising postdoctoral research fellows as independent investigators and future University faculty members who will investigate the pathogenesis of alcoholism and drug abuse. The MNADRT will emphasize a multidisciplinary approach including molecular and cellular techniques, electrophysiology, optogenetics, designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs, stem cell technology, neuroimaging, neuroimmunology, neurobehavioral pharmacology, and genetics to increase the understanding of pathogenesis in alcoholism and drug abuse. Training of the postdoctoral fellows will be individualized with the most important component being the research conducted by the trainee in the faculty mentor's laboratory. In addition to hands-on alcohol and drug abuse research, additional training will include seminars and conferences, grant writing, responsible conduct of research, teaching and mentoring, scientific rigor and reproducibility and other training as needed to prepare fellows for independent research. The training faculty will consist of 10 funded investigators from multiple departments at Rutgers University. The trainees will benefit from the unique strengths of alcohol and drug abuse research at Rutgers University, which include the Endocrine Research Program, Brain Health Institute, Center of Alcohol Studies, and the research cores, including genome editing core facility, bioimaging core facility, genomic informatics and biostatics services. The vast resources of Rutgers provide state-of-the-art space, laboratory facilities, and equipment that support exceptional postdoctoral training. The training program will be directed by Drs. Dipak K. Sarkar and. Gary Aston-Jones and assisted by the Internal Advisory Committee consisted of 3 senior faculty members. Broader scientific inputs to the training will be provided by an External Advisory Committee consisting of four well- known alcohol and drug abuse researchers, Drs. Fulton Crews, Paula L. Hoffman, Fernando Valenzuela and Regina M. Carelli, who have substantial knowledge in NIAAA/NIDA training of postdoctoral fellows. The program proposes four post-doctoral fellow slots. Trainees will receive two years of research training and with external support sought for later years. This institutional training grant will promote intensive training in molecular, cellular, immunological, stem cell technology, imaging techniques and basic neuroscience and neuroendocrinology in a stimulating environment leading to broadly trained independent investigators capable of adapting to the rapid advances in research in the 21st century.
The goals of this grant are to train new alcohol and drug abuse research scientists. Training new scientists in alcohol and drug abuse research methods is essential to understanding the complex nature of pathophysiology of substance abuse. Multi-disciplinary training in molecular neuroscience of alcohol and illicit drugs? pathologies will cover fetal, brain, heart, genetic, optogenetics, stem cell technology, behavioral and other pathologies involved in long term drinking and drug abuse.