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NIDA

Number 20, April 2008

This E-News is issued every other month to inform the international drug abuse research community about:

What’s New

NIH and India Agree To Cooperate on Research into Mental Health, Neurology, and Addiction

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Biotechnology of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of India (DBT) have signed a 5-year agreement to facilitate increased research collaboration related to mental health, neurology, and addictive disorders. NIDA, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and DBT will identify and conduct collaborative biomedical and behavioral research in areas such as (1) translational and clinical research for new therapeutics and biologicals; (2) genetic testing and mapping of brain disease and disorders; (3) animal models for collaborative research, including non-human primate models; (4) stem-cell biology research; (5) public repositories, such as genetic repositories; (6) advanced brain-imaging technologies, including magnetic resonance imaging; (7) computational neuroscience and neuroinformatics; and (8) data, tool, and resource sharing. Cooperative activities are likely to include workshops and meetings to identify priorities, share experiences, and discuss areas of scientific collaboration; direct links between institutions in both countries; and increased collaboration and exchanges among scientists in both countries to conduct research, research training, and product development. The agreement calls for both nations to identify appropriate funding sources for the reciprocal activities, which are to be assessed under the countries’ normal review processes. The Fogarty International Center drafted the agreement, which was signed March 4, 2008, by NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., and Dr. Raj Bhan, Secretary of India's Department of Biotechnology. For more information about Indo-U.S. collaborations, e-mail Thomas C. Mampilly at the Fogarty International Center: mampillyt@mail.nih.gov. For more information about NIDA priorities for Indo-U.S. collaborations, e-mail International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D.: ipdirector@nida.nih.gov.

2008 NIDA International Forum Registration and Lodging Deadline is April 25!

Register Now!
Globally Improving and Applying Evidence-Based Interventions for Addictions
June 13–17, 2008
San Juan, Puerto Rico

U.S. Surgeon General Joins NIDA Staff in Briefing Russian Delegation

Acting U.S. Surgeon General Steven K. Galson with NIDA staff and Russian public health experts at NIDA
The Acting U.S. Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., in uniform, joined NIDA staff and Russian public health experts at NIDA on February 12 to discuss anti-smoking efforts. Also pictured are NIDA staff members: International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., rear left; Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research Health Scientist Administrator Allison Chausmer, Ph.D., front left; and NIDA International Program Analyst Dale Weiss, front second from left. The Russian delegation expressed particular interest in conveying anti-smoking messages to health care providers, banning smoking in public places, and NIDA outreach materials.

International Program-Supported Researchers Enhance Intravenous Self-Administration in Mice

Researchers supported by a NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (DISCA) have developed a new catheter that improves the ability to conduct intravenous self-administration experiments in mice. Petri Hyytia, Ph.D., Finland National Public Health Institute, and his DISCA partner, Gregory P. Mark, Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University, miniaturized the catheter used in rats and embedded the tubing in a nylon mesh catheter base implanted underneath a mouse’s skin between the scapulae. The new design prevents mice from dislodging the catheter or chewing the external tubing, significantly improving patency times and minimizing the chewing problems reported in previous experiments with mice. The researchers used the new catheter to establish reliable methamphetamine (MA) self-administration in mice, generating a typical MA dose-response curve documenting the inverse relationship between unit doses and rates of self-administration: as doses decreased, responding increased. Drs. Hyytia and Mark report that the new catheter design will enhance pharmacological studies with various drugs acting on acetylcholine receptors, studies in which drug self-administration is combined with microdialysis, and experiments employing an increasing number of genetically engineered mouse lines to clarify the actions of MA in the brain and the neural basis of MA addiction.

DISCA Researchers Find Reducing Stress Hormones May Prevent Relapse to Cocaine Use

Preliminary data from experiments conducted by Meera Vaswani, Ph.D., All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and her NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (DISCA) research partner, Nicholas Goeders, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, found that reducing stress hormones may prevent relapse to cocaine use. The researchers administered a combination of metyrapone and oxazepam, which reduced corticosterone compared to vehicle in rats, indicating a trend toward the effectiveness of the drug combination in preventing relapse to cocaine use. The two investigated the biological basis of stress and the subsequent activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in cocaine reinforcement, documenting that the HPA axis is involved in relapse to cocaine seeking. Dr. Vaswani is awaiting approval to conduct clinical trials of the combination drug to treat heroin addiction in India.

Chinese and Thai Researchers Named 2008 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows

Yu Liu, Ph.D., Chinese National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University, and Rasmon Kalayasiri, M.D., a psychiatrist and instructor at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, have been selected as the 2008 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows. The fellowships provide travel support for international researchers to conduct research visits to NIDA grantees and participate in two scientific meetings: the NIDA International Forum and the CPDD Annual Scientific Meeting.

Dr. Liu will work with Tom Kosten, M.D., Baylor College of Medicine, to advance their collaborative research on morphine vaccine development, which is supported jointly by NIDA and the Chinese government. An expert in animal models of neurobehavioral and neurochemical adaptations associated with substance use and abuse, Dr. Liu will be responsible for using various behavioral rodent models to screen and evaluate the candidate vaccines. Dr. Liu earned her doctoral degree from Wake Forest University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the behavioral animal laboratory there in 2007.

Dr. Kalayasiri will work with Robert T. Malison, M.D., and Joel Gelernter, M.D., Yale University School of Medicine, to discuss research projects on gene by environment interaction studies of methamphetamine-induced psychosis (MIP), potential collaborations with psychiatric genetics laboratories in the United States to analyze Thai DNA samples, quality control of the interview data in an ongoing investigation into the genetics of opioid dependence in Northern Thailand, and the possibility of a new, case-control study of opioid dependence. Preliminary data from Dr. Kalayasiri’s current work on MIP show that a history of marijuana use, conduct disorder, exposure to frightening traumatic events, and poor childhood relationship with caregivers predict risk for MIP in dependent individuals. Severity of methamphetamine use (i.e., dependence and greater use, and earlier onset of use) was correlated with MIP. In 2006, Dr. Kalayasiri completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Yale Drug Dependence Genetics Research Training Program.

NIH Launches New Data Reporting Site

The prototype version of the new NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (CRISP) system, which integrates new and existing data sources to allow user-defined queries and reports on NIH grants, intramural projects, contracts, and associated outputs.

Applications Due June 30 for 2008 ISAJE/WHO Young Scholars Award

The ISAJE/WHO Young Scholars Award recognizes contributions to addiction science by young scholars from developing countries and promotes their involvement in the field. The award is given to the lead author of the best paper published on any topic related to addiction during the previous year. Candidates should be less than 35 years old and must hold an academic or research position in a low- or middle-income country. The successful candidate will receive financial support to attend an international scientific or clinical meeting. The award is sponsored by the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors (ISAJE), the World Health Organization, and Virginia Commonwealth University. For more details, contact Mrs. Susan Savva, ISAJE Executive Officer, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom; email: susan@addictionjournal.org.

New Look for International Program Web Site, E-News

The NIDA International Program launched a redesigned Web site in March, www.drugabuse.gov/international, improving the site’s navigation and visual design.

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Funding Opportunities

International Research Collaboration on Drug Addiction

The NIDA International Program solicits collaborative research proposals on drug abuse and addiction that take advantage of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions in other countries; speed scientific discovery; and meet NIDA research priorities. The Program Announcements expire January 3, 2009. Funds are available for research using three grant mechanisms: R01: PA-07-275, R03: PA-07-311, or R21: PA-07-310.

Ongoing NIDA International Program Research and Training Opportunities

NEW! Research Education Grants for Statistical Training in the Genetics of Addiction (R25)
U.S. institutions may propose a research education and training program in statistical models or computational methods in genetics for undergraduate, graduate, and/or postdoctoral students of any nationality.

Upcoming Program Announcement Receipt Dates From Fogarty International Center

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Research Training and Exchange Updates

For current information on NIDA and NIH training and exchange programs, please visit the following Web pages:

Ongoing NIDA International Program Research and Training Exchange Programs

Highlighting NIDA International Program Fellows

  • NIDA Selects Mexican Epidemiologist for DISCA Award
    Octavio Campolo, Ph.D., University of Guadalajara, has been selected as a NIDA Distinguished International Scientist to collaborate with Fernando Wagner, Sc.D., Morgan State University. Drs. Campolo and Wagner will restructure data sets, complete data analysis, and prepare manuscripts for publication for two research projects: (1) risk factors for substance use in high school students in Jalisco, Mexico; and (2) HIV and hepatitis in drug addicts in West Mexico. The two also plan to prepare a grant proposal to further collaborate on projects investigating the prevalence and associated factors for substance use among youths in the Mexican state of Jalisco.
  • Former Humphrey Fellow Wins Medical Research Council of South Africa Support
    Rehana Kader, a 2006–2007 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), has received a scholarship from the Medical Research Council of South Africa (MRC) to complete a Ph.D. while working in the MRC Alcohol and Drug Research Unit. As a doctoral candidate at the University of Stellenbosch, Ms. Kader will investigate the relationship between substance mis(use) and sexual HIV risk behavior among patients attending HIV clinics, developing and evaluating an intervention to improve the way in which substance use or misuse is addressed within HIV and AIDS treatment facilities. Her Humphrey Fellowship mentor, Dr. J. Randy Koch, VCU, is also the cosupervisor for Ms. Kader’s doctoral studies. At MRC, Ms. Kader is working on projects to: (1) monitor the prevalence of methamphetamine-related presentations at psychiatric hospitals in Cape Town; (2) improve substance abuse treatment outcomes in South Africa by developing service quality metrics; and (3) develop an HIV Consumer Survey for South Africa.

International Neuroscience Fellowship
One to 2 years of research training in the United States for junior or mid-career-level foreign neuroscientists; cosponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

Fogarty International Center
The Fogarty International Center, the international component of NIH, addresses global health challenges through innovative and collaborative research and training programs and supports and advances the NIH mission through international partnerships.

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Meetings

Calendar of Major Scientific Meetings in Drug Abuse Research

Calendar of Major Scientific Meetings in Drug Abuse Research

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Press Releases

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Other Items of Interest

NIDA Methadone Research Web Guide

NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

NIH Library Research Tools

NOTE: The following information is being provided for informational purposes only. Reference to any Web site listed below does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by NIDA/NIH/HHS.

The Research Assistant
NIDA-funded online research tool for behavioral scientists.

Publishing Addiction Research Internationally: www.PARINT.org

SciDev.Net

The International Certification in Addiction Medicine for physicians.

Access to Free or Low-Cost Online Publications for Researchers

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Reading Corner

Look here for research articles or other publications that may be of interest to the international drug abuse research community.

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This page was last updated March 2008