The Newsroom


FiercePharma Podcast featuring Dr. Kathryn A. Cunningham


Narcan Myths festuring Dr. Kathryn A. Cunningham

Narcan Myths

Please join the Center for Addiction Sciences and Therapeutics


Kratom - Dr. Kathryn A. Cunningham Discusses

"It's the Wild West"


Forum and Webinar Saturday, March 11, 2023

New Clinical Trial Needing Pain Patients


Please join us for these crucial talks over Fentanyl Poisoning.


CONGRATULATIONS!!! Drs. Christina R. Merritt, Ashley E. Smith, Kamil Khanipov, George Golovko, Kelly T. Dineley, Noelle C. Anastasio, and Kathryn A. Cunningham for the publication titled:
“Heightened cocaine-seeking in male rats associates with a distinct transcriptomic profile in the medial prefrontal cortex” in Frontiers in Pharmacology.
See link to full article:

“Help keep the holidays safe this year by riding, not driving, when drinking this season. TxDOT is giving out $20 Lyft credits to 6 county areas (Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, and Waller). This is partnership between TxDOT, Governors Highway Safety Association, Lyft and Available while supplies last and good until January 9th. #SoberRideHOU #EndTheStreakTX


This is an exciting opportunity to learn about UT System research and network with Texas scientists, philanthropists, legislators and NIH Directors. There is also an opportunity to fund mentees who would benefit from the experience but may not have the funding to attend!

Congratulations to the following 2022 CAR Endowment Awardees:

  • Fernanda Laezza, M.D., Ph.D. "Sporar Leader in Neurotherapeutics Award"
  • Jun-Ho La, Ph.D. "Sporar Leader in NeuroID Sciences Award"
  • Eliseo Eugenin, Ph.D. "Sporar Leader in NeuroID Sciences Award"
  • Ross Luu "Herin Champion of NeuroID Discovery Award"
  • Ryan Murphy "Herin Champion of Drug Discovery Award"
  • Heidi Spratt, Ph.D. "Herin Champion of Big Data Award"
  • Sierra Miller "Streppa Champion in Functional Neuroanatomy Award"
  • Hubert Lee "Streppa Champion Structural Biology in Drug Discovery Award"
  • Denise Wilkes, M.D. "Lynch Advancing Translational SUD Sciences Award"
  • Ping Wu, M.D., Ph.D. "Lynch Advancing Neurodevelopmental Sciences Award"
  • Shannon Guillot-Wright, Ph.D. "Lynch Advancing Equitable Policies through Research Award"

UTMB Center for Addiction Research and Trauma Services Presents: "Tall Cop Says Stop" Free to the community and it's leaders Wednesday, September 7, 2022 from 9:00 - 1:00 p.m. in Levin Hall on the UTMB Galveston Campus.

UTMB Trauma Services and The Center for Addiction Research Present: A LIVE Production FREE to the Community Sunday, August 28, 2022 from 11:00 - 2:00 p.m. See flyer below for registration.

Is It Worth It? Live Production Video

Congratulations to Dr. Denise Wilkes, Clinical Professor, UTMB Anesthesiology and CAR Member for being appointed to the the Texas Opioid Abatement Fund Council by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick!

Houston Public Media Town Square 12/2021 Featuring Dr. Noelle C. Anastasio:
Houston Public Media Town Square 2021 Link

Galveston Daily News Article 12/10/2021 Featuring Dr. Kathryn A. Cunningham and CAR Members:
Pandemic Isolation, Fentanyl Article

Red Ribbon Week October 2021 Outreach Video:
Is It Worth It?

Congratulations 2021 Endowment Award Recipients
Eric Wold, Ph.D. received the Sporar Drug Discovery Dissertation Award
John Allen, Ph.D. received the Sporar Leader in Medication Development for SUDs Award
Kamil Khanipov, Ph.D., received the Sporar Leader in Big Data for SUD Award
Andrew Routh, Ph.D. received the Sporar Leader in NeuroID in SUD Award
George Golovko, Ph.D. received the Sporar Leader in Next Gen Steps for SUD Award
Catherine Sampson, Ph.D. received the Sporar Translational Dissertation Award
Kehinde Ogunseye, B.S. received the Sporar Champion in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for SUD Sciences Award
Tileena Vasquez, B.S. received the Herin Champion of Creative Behavioral Research Award
Christina Merritt, B.S. received the Streppa Champion in SUD Mentoring and Science Award
Erik Garcia, Ph.D. received the Streppa Advancing Mental Health Therapeutics Award
David Houghton, Ph.D. received the Lynch Advancing Translational SUD Sciences Award

Congratulations T32 Appointees
Congratulations to Ross Luu, Hubert Lee, and Tileena Vasquez on their pre-doc re-appointment to a second year on the T32 Training Grant!!

Congratulations 2021 Mentee Award Winners
Erik Garcia, Ph.D. named ASPET Early Career Psychologist Representative
Christina Merritt, B.S. received an  ASPET General Travel Award
Ashley Smith, Ph.D. received a CPDD Early Career Investigators Award
Jacqueline Smith, B.S. received 1st Place Poster Award ASPET Division for Drug Discovery & Development

Special Congratulations                                                                                                                    
Dr. Jia Zhou has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors for 2020!  This is the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors.  Dr. Zhou is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, member of the Center for Addiction Research, member of the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, member of the Sealy Center for Molecular Medicine, and the Director of the Chemical Biology Program.  Congratulations to Dr. Zhou on this outstanding achievement!

2020 Awards
Amanda Price - George Sealy Research Award in Neurology
Erik Garcia, PhD - CPDD Early Career Travel Award
Dennis Sholler - CPDD Early Career Investigators Travel Award
Christina Merritt - CPDD Travel Award
Ashley Nilson - ASPET General Travel Award
Eric Wold - Innovations to Impact at Yale Awardee

Select Recent Publications

Smith, A.E., and Hommel, J.D.  Neuroanatomical integration of homeostatic and hedonic brain regions to regulate consummatory behavior.  Neuropsychopharmacology, Jan 2022, 47(1):417.

Kasper, J.M., Smith, A.E., Miller, S.N., Ara, R.W.K., Cunningham, K.A., and Hommel, J.D.  Role of neuropeptide neuromedin U in the nucleus accumbens shell in cocaine self-administration in male ratsNeuropsychopharmacology, Dec 2021,

Cisneros, I.E., and Cunningham, K.A.  Covid-19 interface with drug misuse and substance use disorders. Neuropharmacology, Oct 2021, 198:108776. 

Davis-Reyes, B.D., Smith, Ashley, E., Xu, J., Cunningham, K.A., Zhou, J., and Anastasio, N.C.  Subanesthetic ketamine with an AMPAkine attenuates motor impulsivity in rats Behav Pharmacology, Jun 2021, 32(4):335-344.

Cisneros, I.E., and Cunningham, K.A.  Self-administered fentanyl profoundly impacts rat brain innate targets.  Neuropsychopharmacology, Jan 2021, 46(1):247.

Wang, P., Felsing, D.E., Chen, H., Stutz, S.J., Murphy, R.E., Cunningham, K.A., Allen, J.A.*, and Zhou, J*.  Discovery of potent and brain-penetrant GPR52 agonist that suppresses psychostimulant behavior.  J Med Chem, Nov 2020, 63(22):13951-13972.

Ezeomah, C., Cunningham, K.A., Stutz, S.J., Fox, R.G., Bukreyeva, N., Dineley, K.T., Paessler, S. and Cisneros, I.E.  Fentanyl self-administration impacts brain immune responses in male Sprague-Dawley ratsBrain Behav Immun, Jul 2020, 87:725-738.

Wold, E.A., Garcia, E.J., Wild, C.T., Miszkiel, J.M., Soto, C.A., Chen, J., Pazdrak, K., Fox, R.G., Anastasio, N.C., Cunningham, K.A., and Zhou, J.  Discovery of 4-Phenylpiperidine-2-Carboxamide Analogues as Serotonin 5-HT2C Receptor Positive Allosteric Modulators with Enhanced Drug-Like Properties.  J Med Chem, Jul 2020, 63(14):7529-7544.

Liu, Z., Chen, H., Wang, P., Li, Y., Wold, E.A., Leonard, P.G., Joseph, S., Brasier, A.R., Tian, B., and Zhou, J.  Discovery of orally bioavailable chromone derivatives as potent and selective BRD4 inhibitors: Scaffolding hopping, optimization and pharmacological evaluationJ Med Chem, May 2020, 63(10):5242-5256.

Wang, P., Luchowska-Stańska, U., Chen, H., Liu, Z., Wiejak, J., Whelan, P., Morgan, D., Lochhead, E., Barker, G., Rehmann, H., Yarwood, S.J., and Zhou, J.  Synthesis and biochemical evaluation of non-cyclic nucleotide exchange protein directly activated by cAMP1 (EPAC1) regulatorsJ Med Chem, May 2020, 63(10):5159-5184.


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