What We Do:
The Division's primary goal is to support basic biomedical and behavioral research to address the public health problem of drug abuse and addiction. DBNBR accomplishes this goal by developing and supporting an extramural research program that provides an understanding of:
- The neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms of drugs of abuse and their consequences
- the role of drug abuse in accelerating the progression and transmission of HIV/AIDS
The Division also supports training to increase the number of highly trained research investigators in the drug abuse field. The research supported by DBNBR provides important fundamental information to prevent and/or intervene in drug abuse and addiction.
Staff Research Interests:
Joni Rutter, Ph.D. - Acting Director
Dr. Rutter is a program director for human and population genetics, pharmacogenetics, bioinformatics, and molecular epidemiology, as they relate to vulnerabilities to drug abuse and addiction. Other interests include functional genomics in model organisms, technology development, and ethical, legal, and social issues in genetics. Dr. Rutter is actively involved in oversight and the continued development of genomics research at NIDA, which includes the NIDA Center for Genetic Studiesa repository of clinical data and biologic samples for drug abuse research in genetics. Activities: Trans-NIH Group on Issues Related to Human Specimen Resource; NIDA Neuroscience Consortium; NIDA Genetics Consortium Steering Committee; NIDA Genetics Workgroup; Trans-NIH Genomics Resources Working Group, and she is an ex officio member of the DHHS Secretarys Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society.
Paul Schnur, Ph.D. - Deputy Director for Program
Dr. Schnur is an experimental psychologist with interests in the neuropsychopharmacology of drug abuse. He has conducted both animal and human research and has published in the areas of classical conditioning, selective attention, memory, and behavioral pharmacology. He brings interests in cognitive psychology to NIDA and is responsible for new initiatives that integrate cognitive, behavioral and social cognitive neuroscience approaches to understanding drug abuse. Dr. Schnur earned his Ph.D. at Indiana University (1970) and completed NIDA supported post-doctoral training at Brown University's Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (1989-91). Dr. Schnur spent fourteen years at the University of Southern Colorado where he investigated biphasic effects of opiates on locomotor activity, conditioned tolerance/withdrawal and conditioned dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens. Prior to joining NIDA, Dr. Schnur served as Chairperson of the Department of Psychology at Indiana University South Bend (1993-2000). He joined NIDA as a Program Officer during the summer of 2000.
Kristopher Bough, Ph.D. - Tobacco Regulatory Science Program (TRSP) Coordinator/HSA
Dr. Bough is a neuroscientist with interests in brain energy metabolism and how it impacts therapeutic discovery and development. He has published in the areas of neuropharmacology, electrophysiology (in vivo and in vitro), molecular biology, neuroanatomy and, more recently, biomarker development. He also has an interest in the NIH Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program at NIH. Dr. Bough earned his MS and PhD from Georgetown University in 1999. He subsequently completed two post-doctoral fellowships in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington (1999-2001) and the Department of Pharmacology at Emory University (2001-2005). Prior to joining NIH, he spent three years as a Pharmacologist in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (FDA/CDER), where he was responsible for reviewing clinical studies of bioequivalence in the Office of Generic Drugs. Dr. Bough joined NIDA as a Program Officer working in the Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences in Feb 2008 before moving to DBNBR in Apr 2013 where he now coordinates the Tobacco Regulatory Science Program (TRSP) for NIDA, assists with the programmatic administration of brain energetics, drug discovery and development, and biomarker development research, and serves as the Division’s SBIR/STTR coordinator.
Beth Grigson Babecki - Training Co-Coordinator
Ms. Babecki serves as the Deputy Training Coordinator for the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research (DBNBR) at NIDA. As a Program Official, she mentors applicants and grantees for both institutional (T32 grants) and individual training grants (F30, F31 and F32 grants). She also provides information on small grants (R03) and Career Development (K-type) grants. Ms. Babecki counsels applicants, reviews draft applications, and assists applicants in the interpretation of, and response to, scientific reviews. Principal Investigators are urged to contact her and discuss concerns, funding or other issues as they arise. Grantees are assisted in preparing special requests and any necessary actions are facilitated though internal review by the NIDA Research Training Committee. Fellows nearing completion of their fellowships are mentored on submission of a NIDA research grant and by providing advice using all available human and electronic resources. Ms. Babecki also coordinates activities related to drug testing in hair and other body fluids and tissues.
Mark Caulder, M.S., M.P.H. - Health Program Specialist
Mr. Caulder is a health program specialist for human Population and Applied Genetics in DBNBR's Office of the Director. His interests include human genetics, epigenetics, pharmacogenetics, and gene environment interactions as they relate to vulnerabilities to and consequences of drug abuse and addiction. Mr. Caulder provides support to the Associate Director for Population and Applied Genetics on multiple projects. Mr. Caulder actively participates and provides logistical support for the NIDA Genetics Coordinating Committee, the NIH Epigenomics Roadmap Initiative, and the NIH Genes, Environment and Health Initiative. Mr. Caulder holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of South Carolina, an M.S. in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan, and an M.P.H. from the University of Michigan in epidemiology specializing in public health genetics.
Christie Espinoza - Program Analyst
As a Program Analyst for the Division, Ms. Espinoza is responsible for collecting, organizing and analyzing data about the Division's portfolio of grants to prepare reports for the Division such as the Operations Planning Report, the Division's Annual Report, Government Performance and Review Act reports, and others related to funding and program activities. Ms. Espinoza also develops and coordinates arrangements for workshops, meetings, and seminars sponsored by the Division. Ms. Espinoza is also the NIDA representative to the NIH Tracking and Inclusion Committee. She is responsible for ensuring that sex/gender and race/ethnicity requirements are adhered to by all NIDA grantees, contractors and intramural researchers. Ms. Espinoza advises program officers and principal investigators about the NIH requirements for human subjects research.
Myriam Selmane - Program Analyst
As a Program Analyst for the Division, Ms. Selmane is responsible for developing the administrative and technical procedures for the Division. She assists in the processing and referral of grant applications for the Division. She creates a quarterly database of the DBNBR grants to be reviewed within all the three cycles of the review process. She is also responsible for keeping track of the schedules, meetings, appointments of the Director and Deputy Director; setting up meetings and arranging travel. She is responsible for tracking the Division's travel budget and purchasing office supplies. She is the liaison for the Director and Deputy Director in their absence and maintains contact with them. She coordinates activities among the various Branches of DBNBR and the Director's office. Ms. Selmane also develops and coordinates arrangements for workshops, meetings, and seminars sponsored by the Division. She keeps track of the official correspondence between DBNBR with the office of the Director of NIDA. Ms. Selmane is a District of Columbia Notary Public.
Joyce Williams - Program Analyst
Joyce Williams joined the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1988. She serves as a program analyst in the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Office of the Director. In this position she is responsible for tracking and analyzing the Divisions operating budget. She represents the division in a liaison capacity with the Management Services and Analysis Branch staff. Ms. Williams provides support to the Director and Deputy Director on special projects. She is the NIDA representative for the IntraMall activities.
Charles Sharp - Special Volunteer
Dr. Sharp has and will continue to provide major input into NIDA's program dealing with "Inhalant Abuse". This includes the preclinical research area, which focuses on toxicity and basic mechanisms of gas (e.g. nitrous oxide, fluorocarbons) and solvent (e.g. thinner, organic nitrites) and mixtures (e.g. glues, spray paints) as well as clinical problems and patterns of inhalant abuse.