This application is a request for continuing support for a predoctoral NIDA Training Program in Neuroscience, which was founded at The University of Michigan (UM) in 1995. The major goal of this Program is to recruit and develop student interest in research related to the neurobiology of substance abuse, and to provide the necessary infrastructure for trainees to pursue these interests as they work towards their doctoral degree in the field of neuroscience. To be eligible for support by the NIDA Training Program students must first gain admittance to an existing UM graduate program in the biological, biomedical or natural sciences, such as the interdepartmental Neuroscience Graduate Program or the Biopsychology Program. Students nominated for support by the NIDA Training Program in Neuroscience are selected on the basis of two criteria: 1) academic qualifications and references (i.e. academic excellence), and 2) the relevance of their program of study and research interests to the NIDA mission. After admission to the NIDA Training Program in Neuroscience, students pursue a program of study in the neurosciences, including a required course on the neuropsychopharmacology of substance abuse and an accompanying seminar series involving the NIDA Training Program faculty. The NIDA Training Program in Neuroscience consists of 18 affiliated faculty, all of whom conduct research related to the biological basis of substance abuse. Most of the faculty is either a principal or co-investigator o a NIDA-funded research grant. The core faculty members have changed since the prior funding cycle, with 7 new faculty replacing those who are no longer conducting relevant research at the University of Michigan. Most of these new faculty members are considered junior investigators; thus, there is a plan in place for more senior faculty to serve as co-mentors for any trainees that join a junior faculty's lab. In addition, the faculty affiliated with this training grant is assistd by over 120 Neuroscience Graduate Program faculty who are also involved in many aspects of the training. The training grant is used primarily to foster interest in students to do research rotatins in a laboratory that studies the neurobiology of substance abuse, and to ultimately choose one of these labs for their dissertation work. In addition, we hope to maintain their interest in substance abuse research throughout their dissertation work with journal clubs, seminar series and social events that will be open to all current and previous trainees supported by this training grant. The NIDA Training Program in Neuroscience is administered by a Director and a Co-Director, and now includes a Director of Student Development in order to enhance the experience of the trainees.
Addiction is a major public health concern as it not only affects millions of individuals afflicted with the disorder, but also has negative consequences for society at large. While great advances have been made in understanding the actions of drugs of abuse on the brain, much remains to be determined. The purpose of this grant is to foster interest in the next generation of scientists, early in their graduate studies, to devote their research and eventual career to studying the neurobiological bases of addiction, in hopes of developing effective treatments.
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