About the Awards
NIDA’s Avenir Awards provide grants to early-stage investigators who propose highly innovative studies. “Avenir” is the French word for “future”, and these awards represent NIDA’s commitment to supporting researchers who represent the future of addiction science. Awardees receive up to $300,000 per year for five years to support their projects. NIDA has two Avenir award programs, one for HIV/AIDS and another on the genetics and epigenetics of substance abuse.
2019 Genetics or Epigenetics Research Awardees
Erin S. Calipari, Ph.D.
Shuo Chen, Ph.D.
University of Maryland, Baltimore
- 2018 Genetics or Epigenetics Research Awardees
Mathieu Wimmer, Ph.D.Image
Temple University of the Commonwealth
Kathryn D. Meyer, Ph.D.Image
Andreas Robert Pfenning, Ph.D.Image
Christina Woo, Ph.D.Image
Jian Feng, Ph.D.Image
Florida State University
- 2017 Genetics or Epigenetics Research Awardees
Rohan Hugh Craig Palmer, Ph.D.Image
Michael A. Crickmore, Ph.D.Image
Boston Children’s Hospital
Jason Ernst, Ph.D.Image
University of California, Los Angeles
Elizabeth A. Heller, Ph.D.Image
University of Pennsylvania
Albert Keung, Ph.D.Image
North Carolina State University, Raleigh
Olivia Gabrielle Corradin, Ph.D.Image
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- 2016 Genetics or Epigenetics Research Awardees
Ian S. MazeImage
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Ian Maze, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Pharmacological Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) in New York City. Dr. Maze received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from ISMMS in 2010, conducted postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics at the Rockefeller University, and joined the ISMMS faculty in 2014. He has garnered international recognition for his work on neuroepigenetic mechanisms of drug abuse and depression, including the discovery that drug- and stress-mediated disruptions of repressive chromatin states in ventral striatum result in increased susceptibilities to both addiction and depression related phenotypes. His lab continues to investigate chromatin regulatory phenomena contributing to drug abuse, with an emphasis on relationships between a novel set of histone modifications recently discovered in the Maze laboratory and aberrant neuronal plasticity contributing to addictive-like behaviors.
University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
Francesca Telese, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Telese received her Ph.D. at the University of Naples “Federico II,” conducted her postdoctoral research at the Department of Medicine at UCSD, and joined the faculty of the School of Medicine at UCSD in 2016. She has garnered international recognition for her work on the epigenetic signatures linked to learning and memory, including those regulated by the Reelin signaling pathway. Her current program of research focuses on the relationship between epigenetic signatures in specific neuronal subtypes and different brain behaviors, with an emphasis on the molecular effects of cannabis abuse.
- 2015 Genetics or Epigenetics Research Awardees
Jeremy J. Day, Ph.D.Image
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Jeremy Day, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Day received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, conducted postdoctoral training at UAB, and joined the faculty at UAB in 2014. He has garnered recognition for his work in the epigenetic basis of memory formation, including the discovery that the formation of reward-related memories requires epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation. His lab continues to explore the relationship between epigenetic states and neuronal function, with an emphasis on the brain circuits that regulate motivated behavior.
Christie D. Fowler, Ph.D.Image
University of California, Irvine
Christie D. Fowler, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Fowler received her PhD from Florida State University, conducted postdoctoral research at The Scripps Research Institute, and joined the faculty at UC Irvine in 2014. She has garnered international recognition based on her findings that nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the medial habenula-interpeduncular pathway control the aversive properties of nicotine and thereby limit consumption of the drug. Her current research seeks to elucidate the extracellular epigenetic signaling mechanisms mediating nicotine aversion and reinforcement, with an underlying goal of identifying novel targets for therapeutic development.