research_build17The Center for Addiction Sciences and Therapeutics (CAST) was established in January 2004 as an institutional center of excellence at UTMB and provides the infrastructure for research and education in substance use disorders (SUDs), emphasizing preclinical target discovery in the addictions. The CAR currently includes 91 faculty, 23 postdoctoral fellows, 42 predoctoral mentees, 19 scientists, and four administrative staff members and is supported institutionally to advance SUDs research, mentoring/education, and community outreach.

The MISSION of the CAST is to improve the course of chronic health disorders through new understanding of biological mechanisms and translation of these discoveries into novel therapeutics to improve the lives of people in our community, state, and world.

The VISION is to define the future of molecular therapeutics for SUDs, obesity, and related chronic CNS disorders. The CAST has built strengths in target-based discovery, disease-specific knowledge, and specialized core technologies to amplify these efforts. We have partnerships with scientists, centers, and departments centrally engaged in the translational research areas of interest at UTMB and we continue to build bridges for new translational research initiatives. Ongoing studies focus on the neurobiology of dopamine, serotonin and amino acid systems, mechanisms of action of psychostimulants and analgesics, fetal exposure to medications during pregnancy, HIV/AIDS-associated neuropathology, and target and drug discovery.

To achieve our mission and vision, the CAR places an important emphasis on training young mentees to ensure their development into independent scientists capable of tackling this enormous health problem. In particular, the CAST strives to:

  1. Integrate a diverse group of mentees into well-funded, SUDs-related programs across translational research arenas.
  2. Instill a rich depth of knowledge of SUD sciences from mentors with demonstrated commitment to students.
  3. Expose trainees to key concepts in scientific ethics and increase diversity across the full spectrum of possibilities.
  4. Provide first-rate preparation of mentees ready for independent careers with the commitment to address the grand challenge.
  5. Coach our young trainees on the importance of disseminating their findings and discoveries to improve societal health, productivity, and life fulfillment through not only high-impact publications, but also through active community outreach programs.
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