The competitive Distinguished International Scientists Collaboration Awards (DISCA) provide support to senior scientists during research exchange visits of 1 to 3 months so that applicants and their partners can cooperate on drug abuse research.
- Dr. Luc Denoroy, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon, France, worked with Dr. Toni Shippenberg, NIDA Intramural Research Program (IRP), to establish a research initiative combining Dr. Denoroy’s technique to monitor rapid changes in the extracellular concentration of neurotransmitters with IRP animal studies using microdialysis and intravenous drug self-administration. The capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIFD) system was installed in the IRP Behavioral Neuroscience Branch, and two protocols were developed and validated to determine neurotransmitter levels in brain microdialysates. CE-LIFD permits the accurate and simultaneous measurement of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), glutamate, and aspartate in small-volume brain microdialysates. NIDA scientists now routinely use CE-LIFD for operant drug self-administration and other studies, and Dr. Denoroy’s laboratory is using NIDA protocols to conduct microdialysis studies in the freely moving mouse. The NIDA and French researchers are continuing their collaboration, writing journal articles, sharing French technology to quantify neurotransmitters with NIDA scientists, and training French students in NIDA’s behavioral analysis methods.
- Dr. Min Zhao, Shanghai Mental Health Center, China, and Dr. Clyde B. McCoy, University of Miami, have filed an R01 research grant application to study gender differences of HIV risk behaviors among Chinese injection drug users (IDUs). The researchers propose a longitudinal study employing both qualitative and quantitative studies to explore the effects of gender on changes in HIV risk behaviors, identify the factors that contribute to HIV infection, and establish the prevalence and incidence of HIV and hepatitis infections in Shanghai. Drs. Zhao and McCoy also finalized plans to have the Shanghai Mental Health Center apply for the NIDA Research Center Grant Consolidated Program, which would allow the Shanghai institution to join the University of Miami’s multi-country drug abuse and HIV/AIDS research center, where each participating research site designs, tests, adapts, and evaluates culturally appropriate, evidence-based HIV prevention strategies and drug abuse intervention efforts among IDUs. The research team also completed a scientific article that has been submitted for publication, and Dr. Zhao received certification in human subjects protections from the University of Miami’s Collaborative IRB Training Initiative.