T32 Neural and Pharmacological
Mechanisms of Abused Drugs

Education and Training

Substance use disorders constitute a major, high-impact worldwide health problem. This is an exciting time for addiction research. New opportunities for research and treatment have emerged in the last decade and continue to grow. In the focus to help adults live longer, and with the prediction that chronic diseases, such as addictive disorders, will be the leading causes of disability by 2020, new approaches to the prevention, management and/or treatment of addiction will greatly reduce disease burden into the next century. To meet this challenge, we must train and mentor future scientists to pursue careers in addiction research. NIH-supported research training and career development initiatives at UTMB include our NIDA T32 Training Grant.

The Overarching goal of the Training Program is to provide nascent scientists with the knowledge base, technical expertise and professional skills needed to advance knowledge in addiction biology and to move these advances toward new therapeutic approaches to its treatment.

Our objectives include:

  • Provide exemplary training in translational research in the neural bases for drug abuse and addiction, drug discovery and medications development, and the medical consequences of drug abuse and addiction;
  • Craft effective mentoring plans, offer an attractive challenging curriculum and monitor milestones of progress to ensure that mentees receive first-rat preparation for independent careers;
  • Raise awareness about careers in addiction science to attract highly-qualified mentees;
  • Instill a comprehensive knowledge for addictions science through coursework, mentorship, short-term rotations, journal clubs, workgroups, seminars, and interactions with experts in the field;
  • Augment laboratory and didactic training by program activities that develop the professional skills needed for advancement towards an independent career;
  • Assure career development by providing individualized and structured mentoring in a rich intellectual environment conducive for investigations in translational addiction sciences;
  • Encourage, guide and support mentee submissions of NIH [Fs, Ks, K99/R00] and other applications.

For further information on this program, please refer to the following pages:

Thematic Interests

Nomination Package Requirements

Nominee (Mentee) specific:

  1. Nominee’s ONE PAGE LETTER OF INTEREST/RESEARCH STATEMENT addressing background. Research interests, proposed research project, and the projects, relevance to the science of drug abuse and addiction. Also include long-term career objectives and any experience in translational projects.
  2. Nominee’s CURRICULUM VITAE 
  3. Nominee’s TRANSCRIPTS (legible, scanned, copies)
  4. LETTER OF NOMINATION from the Faculty Mentors addressing the nominee’s: educational background, productivity, progress in graduate program to date, potential for success of proposed research project and commitment to career in addiction sciences
  5. A LETTER OF SUPPORT from scientist/teacher familiar with nominee’s accomplishments and future potential.

Mentor / Co-Mentor specific

  1. Mentor/Co-Mentor’s CURRENT CURRICULUM VITAE (please include all NIDA and other NIH funding and mentoring history)
  2. Mentor/Co-Mentor’s ONE PAGE LETTER OF INTEREST: stating research interests in relation to the T32 Training Program Objectives, any experiences in translational projects, PhD students mentored (past and present); readiness to support nominee efforts to publish and submit an NRSA and other fellowship grants.

Questions? Please contact: Kirsty Foss UTMB-CAR, klfoss@utmb.edu; 409-772-3093

Current Pre and Postdoctoral Mentees
  • Erik Garcia, PhD
  • Ross Luu
  • Hubert Lee
  • Christina Merritt
  • Tileena Vasquez


Former Pre and Postdoctoral Mentees
  • Debra Cooper, PhD
  • Latham Fink
  • Rachel Hartley, PhD
  • Jason Herring, PhD
  • James Kasper, PhD
  • Christopher Krebbs, PhD
  • David McCue
  • W. Ryan Miller
  • Amanda Price
  • Claudia Soto
  • Sarah Swinford-Jackson
  • Jay Truitt, PharmD. 
  • Christopher Wild
  • Elizabeth Crofton
  • Erica McGrath
  • Eric Wold
  • Erica Holliday, PhD
  • Erik Garcia, PhD
  • Irma Cisneros, PhD
  • Dennis Sholler
  • Michelle Land
  • Ashley Smith
  • Victoria Brehm
  • Ibdanelo Cortez, PhD
  • Erica Holliday, PhD
  • Dan Felsing, PhD
  • Brionna Davis-Reyes
  • Caitlin Schalgal
  • Jasmine Mitchell, MD
  • David Parker, MD


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