Welcome

Dear Colleagues,

Addiction remains one of the greatest challenges on the public health agenda. The lives lost, families devastated and communities imperiled are a vivid reminder of the immense hold that licit and illicit drugs and alcohol have on our society. Given the rates of lifetime prevalence for alcoholism (20%) and drug abuse/dependence (7%), we will each encounter drug abuse or its consequences (e.g., crime, traffic accident) during our lives. In 2005, the national costs of addiction topped $357.4 billion, exceeding the economic impact of stroke, diabetes and heart disease combined. In Texas alone, the costs associated with drug and alcohol abuse was $26 billion in 2004 and 37% of the state's budget was spent on addressing alcohol and drug abuse related problems. A greater understanding of the biology of chemical abuse is necessary to provide enhanced prevention, diagnostic, and treatment services, which will not only improve health, but save lives and money as well.

The Center for Addiction Research is striving to build effective collaborations among scientists with the varying expertise required to advance our understanding of the science of addiction. The CAR is composed of faculty across the UTMB campus with interests in addiction research and education, including faculty from the School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Institute of Medical Humanities, and has become a coordinating force for translational research in addiction based on a strategy of developing and nurturing opportunities for interdisciplinary investigations and training of new investigators in translational science. Our consortium is unified around creating new diagnostic and treatment approaches, including new target medications, and moving our research from the bench to the bedside with the ultimate goal to improve lives. The Center has two important goals relating to community outreach and education. The CAR disseminates evidence-based knowledge on addiction and related disorders to academic and professional communities and collaborates with community providers to encourage provider and patient involvement in education, prevention and clinical research efforts. The CAR also functions as an advisory resource, promoting the utilization of science in the formulation of policies and the development of consortiums and programs at all levels - national, state and local.

Welcome to our site!

  • Sincerely,
  •  
  • Kathryn A. Cunningham, Ph.D.
  • Director, Center for Addiction Research
  • Chauncey Leake Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology

Mission

Mission & Objectives:

The CAR was established in January 2004 as a UTMB Center of Excellence. The CAR provides the infrastructure for research, education and outreach in addiction and related disorders for >100 faculty, staff and students across the four schools at UTMB. The MISSION of the UTMB CAR is to improve the course of chronic health disorders through new understanding of biological mechanisms and translation of discoveries into molecular therapeutics to improve the well-being of our community, state and world.

The VISION is to define the future of molecular therapeutics for addictions, obesity and related chronic CNS disorders. The CAR has built strengths in target-based discovery, disease-specific knowledge and specialized core technologies to amplify these efforts, and draws from the rich UTMB resources in structural biology, biochemistry, neuroscience and pharmacology. A key goal is to enhance and embed translational, molecular therapeutics efforts in departments and centers across campus through the leveraging of resources already in place at UTMB.

Objectives:

  • Maintain and enhance our existing intellectually dynamic, productive and interactive environment, in which investigators across scientific disciplines can discuss ideas and data, and approach transdisciplinary questions from unique perspectives.
  • Recruit new faculty in complementary scientific pursuits and continue to develop and enhance the capabilities of current facilities to include state-of-the-art facilities and technologies for the study of brain proteins.
  • Support the Rodent In Vivo Assessment Core to provide animal models necessary to investigate the adaptations that occur with chronic drug-seeking behavior and the behavioral ramifications of addiction (e.g., cognition, learning and memory, anxiety, depression).
  • Establish infrastructure and resources to promote target identification and development of novel molecular therapeutics.
  • Fund pilot research projects to advance knowledge and encourage new faculty participation in translational research and molecular therapeutic development in addiction and related disorders.
  • Emphasize cross-disciplinary dialogue and interdisciplinary training in addiction research for students, postdoctoral fellows, residents and junior faculty.
  • Catalyze the across institutional collaborations necessary to respond to new initiatives in research and education in addiction and other neuropsychiatric conditions.
  • Disseminate science-based knowledge on addiction to academic and professional communities and collaborate with community providers and the UTMB Office of Community Outreach to encourage provider and patient involvement in clinical research and prevention efforts.
  • Function as an advisory resource, promoting the utilization of science in the formulation of policies and the development of consortiums and programs at all levels - national, state and local.
  • Maintain a seamless administrative structure to empower CAR functions and catalyze the development of translational projects that cut across basic and clinical science boundaries to create new therapeutically useful knowledge.Maintain a seamless administrative structure to empower CAR functions and catalyze the development of translational projects that cut across basic and clinical science boundaries to create new therapeutically useful knowledge.

Calendar

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Seminars
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Seminars

Seminar Content:

Event Date/Time:
Friday, 07/31/2015 Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Ches'Nique Phillips Student Seminar

Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Program

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Present a Seminar by Ches'Nique Phillips

"The Role of Acute hypoxia as a Stimulus of Cystathionine Beta Synthase Expression in Colorectal Cancer"

Friday, July 31, 2015

Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Research Building 6, 1.206 Auditorium



Event Date/Time:
Monday, 08/10/2015 12:00 pm

David McCue, Student Seminar

The Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology and Neuroscience Graduate Program present a Student Seminar by

David McCue

"Neuromedin U: A Novel Regulator of Motivation for Obesogenic Food"

Monday, August 10, 2015

12:00 p.m.

Basic Science Auditorium

Room 2.212, BSB



Outreach

Outreach:

Upcoming Outreach Events:

Upcoming events coming soon…

Past Outreach Events:

Safe Spring Break

Safe Spring Break was held at Texas A & M Galveston (TAMUG) on March 11th. Volunteers from CAR assisted TAMUG students with utilization of the impaired driving simulator and also provided literature on addiction the week before their Spring Break. Approximately 1250 students attended.

Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan (BCMAR) Annual Science Fair Festival (January 9, 2015)

Baylor Fair Harshini Neelakantan, Center for Addiction Research Postdoctoral Fellow volunteered at the BCMAR Annual Science Fair Festival. An activity table titled “Drug Effects on the Brain” was set up with a display of educational materials (brochures and booklets). Materials were distributed to students and their accompanying family members. Students were engaged in the “drunk busters impairment goggle” activity that simulated the effects on vision while intoxicated.

Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan (BCMAR) Educational Outreach, Houston (October, 2014)

Harshini Neelakantan, Erica McGrath, and Maria Garcia, representatives from the Center for Addiction Research, UTMB Galveston participated in the BCMAR educational outreach during the Drug Free Week of America (Red Ribbon week). In a classroom setting, 6th and 7th grade students were educated on substance abuse/addiction and introduced to several substances that are known to produce deleterious effects on brain functions. Students were enthusiastic, interactive, and asked several questions on the topic that were addressed during the session. Students also experienced the drunken driving simulator and participated in the drunk busters impairment goggle activity.

Baylor Fair Baylor Fair Baylor Fair Baylor Fair

Cruisin’ to Recovery: September 20, 2014

Baylor Fair Cruisin’ to Recovery: September 20, 2014 marked our 9th year of supporting this community-wide initiative. It was started by the Center for Addiction Research (CAR) and the Gulf Coast Center. In 2014, it was held at Kempner Park and Garten Verein on Galveston Island. Volunteers from CAR assisted guests with utilization of the impaired driving simulator and also provided literature on addiction. Approximately 2,000 people attended.

Brain Fair for Kids: March & October 2014

The Society for Neuroscience Galveston Chapter, comprised of graduate students, medical students, and faculty of UTMB and students from Texas A&M Galveston, and Galveston College hosted a Brain Fair for high school students from Ball High School. Students rotated between six different stations in order to learn about different aspects of Neuroscience. At the Drug Addiction station, students drove the driving simulator to learn about driving impaired and learned facts about drug addiction from members of the Center for Addiction Research. Other stations included Human Brain Anatomy, Animal Brain Anatomy, Brain Injury, Perception, and Neurological Diseases.

Baylor Fair Baylor Fair Baylor Fair Baylor Fair