Dr. Chang is a research scientist of substance abuse and neuroHIV who has held an academic position for close to 25 years. She has dedicated her time and effort to carrying out productive research projects in a responsible manner, and to mentoring new science investigators. The goal of her research is to identify and define the interaction between various addictive substances and the nervous and immune systems.
Recently, she has focused on the association between neuroimmune disorders, such as neuroHIV, and behavioral disorders caused by substance abuse including methamphetamine, alcohol, nicotine and morphine. Currently, Dr. Chang is testing the central hypothesis that neuroinflammation promotes substance abuse using both cell culture and an HIV-1 transgenic (HIV-1Tg) rat model to (1) comprehensively investigate the bidirectional relationship between CNS inflammation and substance abuse at both the molecular and behavioral levels; (2) determine if targeting brain inflammation could potentially be a new strategy to treat substance abuse-related behavioral disorders; (3) train and mentor new investigators in the field of substance abuse and neuroimmune disorders; and (4) focus on training my research personnel and the new investigators in the responsible conduct of research. She has been continuously funded by NIH (NIDA and NIAAA) since 1989. Currently, Dr. Chang is the Principal Investigator (PI) on two R01 grants, one R21 grant, and a K02-Independent Scientist Research Award.