We are requesting continued funding of this productive training program to prepare pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellows to become independent scholars in studying the biomedical aspects of drugs of abuse. The training record of this program is outstanding, due to the quality of the trainees and preceptors and its organizational structure. Competition for support from this program has been strong and all slots have been full. Trainees are expected to be supported by this program for no more than 3 years. Since 2010, 13 pre-doctorals and 6 postdoctorals have earned individual NIH fellowships. A large number of individuals who received training from these preceptors have progressed to become leaders in the drug abuse field and a very impressive number have earned funding from NIDA and other sources for their substance abuse-related research. Since the submission of our last competitive application we have recruited three new faculty from other institutions and two faculty members from other departments in this university. The recruitment of more clinical faculty is seen as significant. Thus we are requesting support for 10 predoctoral trainees an increase of one, and we will maintain our postdoctoral trainees at 6. Our preceptors provide the trainees with cutting edge expertise in molecular, cellular, behavioral, clinical and translational research. The major emphasis of this program continues to be concentrated on the pharmacology and mechanism of action of abused drugs and mechanisms of addiction. We continue to have a broad scope in our training program and expect that each preceptor will bring his or her specific expertise to the benefit of all trainees. This is accomplished through the wide variety of courses, the high level of collaboration among the mentors, the faculty serving on thesis committees and our excellent seminar series. We also have two new core facilities, one devoted to the development of genetically altered animals and the other to a sophisticated bioanalytical technology. The program has enjoyed and will continue to benefit from strong administrative support from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the administration of the school and university. The predoctoral training program is rigorous and is characterized by two years of required course work and participation in excellent research projects. Postdoctoral fellows will concentrate on research throughout their training. The major emphasis of all training supported by this program is on research. The faculty has earned the research support necessary for the trainees through the significant number of grants they have generated. We will provide guidance on research, teaching and the professionalism for a career in biomedical science and all aspects of becoming a productive and independent researcher. This will continue to be the hallmark of this program as we continue to provide the atmosphere for the training of leading scholars in the drug abuse field for the future.

Public Health Relevance

The objective of this training grant is to continue to educate the future generation of researchers who will concentrate on elucidating the actions of abused substances, understand the behavioral causes and consequences of addiction, and contribute to the development of medications for the prevention and treatment of this disease. Progress in this area requires a work force of researchers with a solid knowledge of the biological processes affected by these substances and by this disease. Those who complete this program will be prepared to have an impact on the health of millions of individuals affected by this disease, their families and all society who currently spend billions of dollars a year on this medical and social problem.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1)
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Babecki, Beth
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Virginia Commonwealth University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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