T32 Translational Explorations in Substance Use Disorders

Education and Training

Drug overdose deaths, misuse, and substance use disorders (SUDs) constitute a major, high-impact health problem in the U.S. Drug overdose deaths claimed a reported 88,990 people in the United States in the 12-month period ending in October 2020; up by ~21% vs. the previous year (provisional data). The Covid-19 pandemic erupted into the midst of the drug overdose crisis with 20% of respondents diagnosed with SUDs reporting a consequent increase in substance use, a likely contributor to the increasing drug overdose deaths. The drug overdose crisis emphasizes that drug misuse and SUDs persist as great challenges on the public health agenda, and that we must continue to invest innovative thought, intellectual prowess, and disruptive strategies to address this crisis. There is no question that SUDs constitute a major, high-impact worldwide health problem. The loss of human potential is tremendous; drug misuse and SUDs radically alters the course of lives. Our field benefits from the engagement of multidisciplinary teams. We provide nascent scientists with the knowledge base, technical expertise, and professional skills needed to advance mechanistic knowledge in SUDs and related medical disorders and to move these advances toward new therapeutic approaches for treatment.  CARs NIDA T32 Training program helps to support these objectives.

The Overarching goal of the Training Program is to provide nascent scientists with the knowledge base, technical expertise and professional skills needed to advance mechanistic knowledge in SUDs and related medical disorders and to move these advances toward new therapeutic approaches for treatment.

Our objectives include:

  • Integrate a diverse group of mentees into funded, SUD-related programs across translational research arenas
  • Instill a rich depth of knowledge of SUD sciences from 27 mentors with demonstrated commitment to students
  • Expose trainees to key concepts in scientific ethics and increase diversity across the full spectrum of possibilities
  • Provide first-rate preparation for independent careers with the commitment to address the grand challenge
  • Disseminate learning's to improve societal health, productivity, and life fulfillment through high-impact publications and active community outreach programs

Program Interests

In our training program's 25th year, we are focused on the following:

  • Establish new SUD mechanisms, geno/phenotypes, biobehavioral markers
  • Discover new therapeutics (e.g., chemical biology, target medications, drug discovery)
  • Ascertain biosignatures by harnessing bioinformatics (e.g., computation, modeling toolbox, machine learning)
  • Investigate intersection of SUD with other disorders such as neuroinflammation, neuroinfectious diseases (e.g.,HIV, COVID-19, Zika), and pain

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

Thematic Interests

Internal Nomination Package Requirements

  1. LETTER OF NOMINATION from the Faculty Mentors that address the nominee's: educational background, productivity, progress in graduate program to date, proposed NIDA related research project, potential for project success, and commitment to a career that advances our understanding or treatment of substance use disorders (one page maximum)
  2. Nominee’s Current CURRICULUM VITAE 
  3. Mentor and Co-mentor's Current CURRICULUM VITAE

To apply, please send a single PDF in the above order to: car@utmb.edu; 409-772-3093

External Applicants Requirements

  • Send an email of interest
  • Current curriculum vita

For more information or to apply, please send an email to: car@utmb.edu; 409-772-3093

Current Pre and Postdoctoral Mentees
  • Ross Luu
  • Hubert Lee
  • Tileena Vasquez


Former Pre and Postdoctoral Mentees
  • Debra Cooper, Ph.D.
  • Latham Fink
  • Rachel Hartley, Ph.D.
  • Jason Herring, Ph.D.
  • James Kasper, Ph.D.
  • 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, Ph.D.
  • Erik Garcia, Ph.D.
  • Irma Cisneros, Ph.D.
  • Dennis Sholler
  • Michelle Land
  • Ashley Smith
  • Victoria Brehm
  • Ibdanelo Cortez, Ph.D.
  • Erica Holliday, Ph.D.
  • Dan Felsing, Ph.D.
  • Brionna Davis-Reyes
  • Caitlin Schalgal
  • Jasmine Mitchell, M.D.
  • David Parker, M.D.
  • Erik Garcia, Ph.D.
  • Christina Merritt
  • Andrew Bolinger, Ph.D.


Quick Links
Employee Resources [Travel Forms | Reimbursement Form - Steps for form | Instructions for Leave Requests - Cancel Requests ]
Business Resources [RIVA Core Quote Request | Lab Order Form | CAR Contact List ]