T32 Training Program entitled "Translational Explorations in Substance Use Disorders"
(T32 DA 007287 )

Substance use disorders (SUDs) constitute a major, high-impact health problem in the United States. Our T32 Training Program proposes to address the large gap between the problem of addiction and efficacious solutions by mentoring the next generation of scientists prepared and committed to the search for answers.  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 the addictions and to move these advances toward new therapeutics. 

Our faculty mentors/co-mentors have a wealth of training and career development successes, extensive collaborative networks, and expertise in translational addiction research conducted with modern technologies.  Our goals are to 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.  Strategies to achieve these goals include providing well-funded, state-of-the-art research opportunities and facilities, effective mentoring and monitoring plans, challenging curricula and supportive interactive programs (e.g., short-term clinical rotations, journal clubs, workgroups, seminars), and first-rate program activities that develop the professional skills needed for advancement towards an independent career.  The culmination of our efforts is the success of our trainees as complete, contemporary scientists equipped with the tools to advance the mechanistic understanding of addiction and move these advances toward new therapeutic approaches to its treatment.

We take great pride in the ongoing success of our T32 Training Program (now in its 26th year), and strive to continue the rich history of producing competitive scientists in the SUDs field.

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 65th 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: cast@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: cast@utmb.edu; 409-772-3093

Current Pre and Postdoctoral Mentees

  • Ross Luu
  • Hubert Lee
  • Tileena Vasquez
  • Kehinde Ogunseye
  • Andrew Bolinger, Ph.D.
  • Juliana Giacomini, Ph.D.

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, Ph.D.
  • 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, Ph.D.
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