Program Areas


  • DNB Discovery Program. To coordinate and enable the application of scientific discoveries, providing evidence for and facilitating the subsequent development of novel therapeutics for SUDs.
  • Models of Addiction. Neural circuits underlying natural and drug reward; biobehavioral models of craving, relapse, compulsive behavior; neural systems and drug/behavior interaction; vertebrate, and invertebrate models.
  • Drug-Induced Neuroadaptaton & Neuropathology in Brain Systems. Consequences of acute or chronic exposure to addictive drugs; neurotoxicity and its behavioral, physiological, or biochemical consequences; neuroAIDS; adaptation (ie, sensitization, tolerance, plasticity).
  • Pain and Analgesia. Modulation of acute and chronic pain by brain and spinal mechanisms; antinociceptive actions of opioids, cannabinoids, peptides; cellular processes of pain, analgesia, tolerance (ie, receptor internalization); basis of alternative therapy (ie, acupuncture).
  • Cognitive Processes. Neural mechanisms of drug-induced modification of cognitive processes (learning, memory, attention, associations, decision making, etc).
  • Vulnerability to Drug Abuse. The brain process(es) by which physiological factors (e.g., stress, age, hormonal status, gender, affect), genetic constitution, past experience, or social interaction contributes to the drug experience or addiction liability of abused substances.
  • Developmental Effects. Consequences of in utero and perinatal drug exposure on the nervous system and other organs as well as ontogenetic effects throughout the life-span. Adaptive and developmental cellular biology including nonclassical neural communication.
  • Neuropsychopharmacology of Drugs of Abuse. Studies relating drugs of abuse to neural systems (e.g., mechanism of action of psychomotor stimulants on monoaminergic systems or nicotine and cholinergic neurotransmission); behavioral consequences of receptor subtype activation; regulation of neural systems; function of endogenous systems (e.g., endorphins, anandamide, excitatory amino acids, etc in health and disease).
  • Genetic Basis of Vulnerability of Drug Addiction.
  • Neuroimmune Relationships, Including Studies of HIV and AIDS Related to Neural or Infectivity Processes. Studies related to cytokine and chemokine modulation of neural function, amplification/diminution of these processes by toxins; interaction of these systems with the immune system and hence, modulation of disease.
  • Innovative Chemical Design of New Entities and Probes. These include molecular probes, imaging agents, receptor selective ligands, potential new drug candidates; development of new ligands with computer-aided drug design or combinatorial chemistry or screening technologies; and structure-activity relationships.
  • Development of Innovative Analytical Methods. Quantitation of endogenous compounds, drugs and metabolites.