Interdisciplinary NIH grant will train next generation of addiction researchers

Kenneth E. Leonard and R. Lorraine Collins are co-directors on a training grant to provide postdoctoral associates with specialized, interdisciplinary training on addictive behaviors.

By Cathy Wilde

Release Date: May 17, 2016

“There is a need, therefore, to train a new generation of researchers to continue to study causes and effective treatments for alcohol use disorders.”
Kenneth Leonard, director, Research Institute on Addictions
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo will continue its critical research training and professional development of addiction researchers with the support of another five-year, $2 million grant for training postdoctoral associates.  

Funded since 2000 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health, the Research Training on Alcohol Etiology and Treatment program is jointly administered by RIA and the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions. It provides specialized, interdisciplinary postdoctoral training in preparation for conducting research on the etiology, prevention and treatment of addictive behaviors.

“Alcohol remains the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States, and the negative social, health and economic consequences of alcohol misuse continue to be profound,” RIA Director Kenneth E. Leonard says. “There is a need, therefore, to train a new generation of researchers to continue to study causes and effective treatments for alcohol use disorders.”

Nearly 90,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes, making it the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Alcohol misuse contributes to multiple health problems, including cancer, stroke and heart disease, and is a leading cause of premature death and disability.

Leonard is co-director of the training grant, along with R. Lorraine Collins, PhD, professor, Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, and associate dean for research in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions. The program offers the guidance of senior mentors, including RIA scientists and UB faculty members from a number of diverse yet complementary disciplines, including psychology, public health, sociology, pharmacology and toxicology, neuroscience and social work.

“The postdoctoral training program is a wonderful interdisciplinary success story,” Collins says. “With the cooperation of four UB schools and RIA, we have provided more than two dozen scientists with the opportunities to become more proficient and productive in their research activities and advance their own careers in addiction studies.”

Scientists who participated in the postdoctoral associate program now hold teaching and research positions at several top U.S. universities, including Arizona State University, University of Michigan, University of South Florida, University of Houston and Ohio State University.

RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo and a national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues. RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a key contributor to UB’s reputation for research excellence. To learn more, visit buffalo.edu/ria

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