NIDA–Inserm Create Postdoctoral Drug Abuse Research Fellowships for U.S. and French Scientists
Application Deadline: October 15, 2013
As part of a binational agreement to cooperate on biomedical and health research, the NIDA International Program and Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm) have created binational postdoctoral research exchange fellowships. In fiscal year 2014, NIDA will support up to two awards for French scientists to work in the United States with a current NIDA grantee, and Inserm will support up to two awards for U.S. scientists to work in France at research units or centers identified by the Inserm Thematic Institute on Neurosciences, Cognitive Sciences, Neurology and Psychiatry. Details about the fellowships, eligibility, and the application process, are online here.
RFA Issued for FY14 HIV/AIDS Avant Garde Research Program
NIDA has committed $2 million in fiscal year (FY) 2014 to fund two to three awards for scientists who propose cutting-edge—and possibly transformative—approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research on HIV/AIDS that are relevant to drug abuse. Applications are due November 6, 2013. For more information, see RFA-DA-14-008
NIDA Information Reaches Africa and Saudi Arabia
NIDA’s information is reaching individuals around the world. Most recently, a newly developed facility in Ghana, Africa—the Sub-Saharan Drug Abuse Research and Consultancy Center run by Yahya H. Affinnih, Ph.D.—began displaying NIDA fact sheets and brochures as a result of outreach by NIDA Public Information Officer Brian Marquis. The center is open to the public and provides the materials free of charge. It also serves as a resource for the Addictive Diseases Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana. Mr. Logosu Amegashie, head of the unit, sent the following email to NIDA:
“On three different visits, Prof. Affinnih tutored all of us on addiction research in Ghana… At the end of every visit and lecture, we were allowed to have access [to] materials from NIDA [on] psychoactive drugs or substances. On our next visit…we are asking that Prof. Affinnih provide us with more materials from NIDA to help us in the areas of prevention, treatment, rehab, and aftercare for the substance-dependent person.”
Earlier this year, NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, giving the keynote address at the Second Regional Symposium on Drug Control and Information Sharing. The Saudi Ministry of Interior Affairs hosted the event for close to 500 participants from more than 26 countries. During her visit, Dr. Volkow met with women clinicians and policymakers regarding substance use disorders and their treatment. She said the following about her visit: “Getting to spend time with the women from Saudi Arabia was the highlight of my trip in Riyadh. I was impressed by their commitment, intelligence, respect, warmth, and resilience.”
NIDA Staff Host U.K. Research Officials
NIDA senior staff and officials from the United Kingdom met August 1, 2013, to discuss animal research regulations, ways to enhance the contribution the life sciences can make to economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic, toxicity testing for emerging synthetic drugs, and areas where U.S. and U.K. drug abuse researchers may be able to collaborate. The United Kingdom is implementing animal research regulations designed to replace animal use, reduce the number of animals used, and refine research procedures to minimize animal suffering. Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research Acting Director Joni Rutter, Ph.D., discussed some of the alternative approaches that NIDA is also supporting, while emphasizing the continued need for animal experimentation. NIDA Associate Director for Scientific Affairs Susan Weiss, Ph.D., and International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., also participated in the meeting. Lord Taylor of Holbeach, U.K. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Criminal Information at the Home Office, who is responsible for U.K. regulations on use of animals in research, led the British delegation. Other members of the U.K. delegation included Judy MacArthur Clark, CBE, MRCVS, who heads the Animals in Science Regulation Unit at the Home Office; Dr. Iain Williams from the U.K. Embassy in Washington, DC; and Benedict Collins, Lord Taylor’s private secretary.
NIDA International Forum Focuses on Improving Evidence-Based Treatment
Left, NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., opens the plenary session at the 2013 NIDA International Forum. Right, NIDA International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D. (left), and Adrian Dunlop, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., the past president of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs (APSAD). NIDA and APSAD cosponsored the Forum.
NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., opened the 18th Annual NIDA International Forum, reviewing the Institute’s international research priorities, binational agreements, and research training fellowships. Dr. Volkow highlighted the global reach of the 6 NIDA International Program fellowships, which have supported 408 drug abuse professionals from 103 countries, and invited suggestions on how to increase the impact of the research training fellowships. She added that there has been a lack of qualified candidates for the NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellowships recently and asked participants to encourage applications from their colleagues.
NIDA International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., chaired the meeting, which was cosponsored by the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs (APSAD) and focused on research partnerships that successfully design, test, evaluate, and implement evidence-based drug abuse interventions and policies. More than 285 participants from 52 countries attended the meeting June 14–17, 2013, in San Diego, California. A joint College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD)/NIDA International Forum poster session featured presentations on international research by 139 scientists from the United States and 39 other countries.
The plenary session also featured updates on new collaborations and research initiatives from the World Health Organization, the European Research Area Network on Illicit Drugs (ERANID), and the Italian Department of Anti-Drug Policies and two plenary panel discussions on (1) using performance and outcome data to assess treatment services; and (2) the role of Cochrane Collaboration systematic reviews of evidence-based interventions on international treatment guidelines and U.S. health care reform. In addition to the plenary and poster sessions, six breakout sessions explored aspects of evidence-based addiction treatment in more depth, focusing on (1) screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment; (2) international networking and the global need for data in drug policy; (3) initiatives to advance translational research, training, and international collaboration among Asian American/Pacific Islanders; (4) strategies to promote adoption of evidence-based clinical practices; (5) using the Clinical Trials Network model to improve treatment; and (6) the future of addiction research and treatment.
Save the Date!
Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Abstract Submission Deadline: December 1, 2013
NIDA International Presents Awards of Excellence
NIDA International Awards of Excellence, which recognize individuals for outstanding contributions to international cooperation in drug abuse research and training, were presented to four researchers during the NIDA International Forum:
Excellence in mentoring, to Wendee M. Wechsberg, Ph.D., who directs the Substance Abuse Treatment Evaluations and Interventions research program at RTI International.
Excellence in international leadership, to Vladimir Poznyak, M.D., Ph.D., who coordinates the World Health Organization Management of Substance Abuse Programme.
Excellence in collaborative research, to Yih-Ing Hser, Ph.D., and Min Zhao, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Hser directs the Center for Advancing Longitudinal Drug Abuse Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Zhao is vice president of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China.
NIDA–International AIDS Society Award Four New Fellowships, Add Partner
NIDA and the International AIDS Society (IAS) have awarded postdoctoral fellowships to scientists from Malaysia, Uganda, and Vietnam. IAS and NIDA cosponsor the fellowships, which provide 18 months of training with an expert in drug abuse-related HIV to advance scientific understanding of the linkages between drug use and HIV while fostering multinational research. For 2014, the Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le Sida et les hépatitis virales (ANRS) of France has agreed to support one additional fellowship. The 2013 NIDA–IAS Fellows are:
Sin How Lim, Ph.D., University of Malaya, Malaysia, will use mobile phones and interactive voice response and intervention technology to collect behavioral data on concurrent substance use and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men in Malaysia. His mentor is Frederick Altice, M.D., M.A., Yale University.
Francis Bajunirwe, Ph.D., Mbarara University, Uganda, will analyze the impact of alcohol and other substance use on response to antiretroviral treatment in rural Uganda. His mentor is David Bangsberg, M.D., M.P.H., Harvard Medical School.
Anh Dam Tran, Ph.D., Vietnam, will combine a dynamic epidemic model with a cross-sectional survey to investigate the impact of expanding eligibility criteria for methadone maintenance treatment on drug use, health-related quality of life, and HIV transmission among Vietnamese drug users. Greg Zaric, University of Western Ontario, Canada, will mentor Dr. Tran, who earned her doctoral degree at the University of New South Wales, Australia, in July 2013.
Dr. Bach Xuan Tran, Ph.D., Hanoi Medical University, Vietnam, will examine the cost-effectiveness and patients’ willingness to pay for three models of dispensing methadone to treat opioid dependence in Vietnam. His mentor is Carl Latkin, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University.
NIDA Selects New INVEST and INVEST/CTN Fellows
Scientists from Greece, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and The Netherlands have been awarded NIDA INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellowships, and a scientist from China has been awarded a NIDA INVEST/Clinical Trials Network (CTN) Drug Abuse Research Fellowship. The awards provide postdoctoral training with a NIDA grantee in the United States. The new INVEST Fellows are:
Antonis Gardikiotis, Ph.D., Aristotle University of Thessalonlki, Greece. Dr. Gardikiotis will focus on designing, implementing, and evaluating drug abuse prevention messages for adolescents with his mentor, William Crano, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University.
Zulvia Syarif, M.D., Addiction and AIDS Research Center, Indonesia. Dr. Syarif will improve her behaviorally oriented psychosocial counseling and research skills in order to conduct a research project in Indonesia comparing methadone maintenance treatment plus behavioral drug and HIV risk reduction counseling with methadone maintenance treatment alone among 240 HIV-positive opiate-dependent patients. Her mentor is Marek Chawarski, Ph.D., Yale University.
Bilal Salem, M.D., Al Amal Hospital Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will learn about neuropsychological testing and conducting controlled experiments from his mentor, Richard Rawson, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles. When he returns to Saudia Arabia, Dr. Salem will use his new skills to investigate neurocognitive function among amphetamine-dependent patients at 1 week and 3 weeks into inpatient treatment.
Makhbatsho Bakhromov, M.D., M.Sc., Prisma Research Center, Tajikistan, will focus on improving his theoretical and quantitative skills in prevention research during his fellowship. His mentor is Carl Latkin, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University. Following the fellowship, Dr. Bakhromov plans to adapt Project SHIELD, a peer education, network-based HIV prevention intervention, for use among injection drug-using migrant workers in Moscow.
Michel Verheij, Ph.D., Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, The Netherlands, will work with his mentor, George Koob, Ph.D., Scripps Research Institute, to investigate the neuronal basis underlying the transition from noncompulsive drug use to drug dependence. Using serotonin transporter knockout rats, Dr. Verheij will measure short access (1hour/day) and long access (6 hours/day) cocaine intake, corticotropin-releasing factor levels in stress-related brain regions, and anxiety-like behavior.
The new INVEST/CTN Fellow is Haifeng Jiang, M.D., Shanghai Mental Health Center, China. Dr. Jiang will work with his mentor, Walter Ling, M.D., University of California, Los Angeles, to gain expertise in conducting clinical trials and improve his skills in research methods. During the fellowship, Dr. Jiang will conduct a secondary analysis of data from NIDA-funded clinical research to investigate possible relationships between metabolic phenomena and clinical outcomes for methadone maintenance treatment patients. He will then design a similar study of patients receiving treatment with buprenorphine and naloxone.
NIDA Humphrey Fellow Publishes Method To Detect New “Bath Salts”
Former NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow Jezelle Charles, M.S., Trinidad and Tobago, and her mentors at Virginia Commonwealth University have published an article in Biomedical Chromatography describing methods to identify and quantify one form of the synthetic psychoactive substance known as “bath salts.” The authors developed the assay in response to 2012 reports of N-benzyl-phenethylamine derivative abuse and overdose, and report that the assay is particularly well suited for use in emergency department settings. The article was published early online (doi: 10.1002/bmc.2999).
Important Dates and Meetings