ARTT Center of Excellence UT Health San Antonio

NIDA T32 Training Program:
Postdoctoral Training in Drug Abuse Research
Behavior & Neurobiology

Current Trainees

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Sabrina Blackledge, Ph.D.
Dept. of Psychiatry
Dougherty Lab

I work in the Dougherty lab where my efforts are focused on an ongoing longitudinal study of children who are considered “at-risk” due to having a family history of substance use disorders. While the primary focus of the study examines how factors such as risk-taking/impulsivity and sensation-seeking interact to predict substance use and substance use disorders throughout adolescence and early adulthood, other factors such as stressful life events, peer influence, quality of family relationships, resilience, and physical maturation are also examined. My specific areas of focus are on stress as predictor of substance use, as well as the quantitative/analytical strategies used for longitudinal data.

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Brenda Gannon, Ph.D.
Dept. of Pharmacology
Collins Lab

As a member of the Collins laboratory, my research is aimed at understanding factors that mediate drug-taking and drug-seeking behaviors.
My current research uses behavioral and pharmacological assays such as intravenous self-administration, drug discrimination, and locomotor activity to investigate vulnerability to stimulant abuse and to evaluate potential treatments for drug abuse. This includes quantitative assessments of the abuse-related and toxic effects of common “bath salt” constituents (e.g., alpha-PVP, MDPV, and methylone) and comparisons to other well-known stimulant drugs of abuse (e.g., methamphetamine and cocaine).

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T. Lee Gilman, Ph.D.
Dept. of Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Daws Lab

In the Daws Lab, I am using a mouse model to investigate how constitutive loss of serotonin transporter, a high-affinity/low-capacity transporter, promotes upregulation of the low-affinity/high-capacity transporter organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3) and how this may moderate ethanol consumption. Additional experiments involve investigating how lifelong loss of OCT3 or the plasma membrane monoamine transporter might alter astrocyte morphology in the mouse brain, and how dopamine transporter function is dysregulated in eating disorders using a rat activity-based anorexia model.

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Kelly McGlothen-Bell, PhD, RN
School of Nursing
Cleveland Lab

As a member of the Cleveland laboratory, my research is focused on the interplay between biology and the social context of addiction and its impact on maternal mental health and infant neuro-developmental outcomes. My current research aims to explore the factors that impact maternal sensitivity, maternal-infant responsivity, and early brain and neonatal developmental trajectories in populations diagnosed with an opioid use disorder. My concentration is on three targeted areas: (a) behavioral research methods, (b) utilization of human stress biomarkers in behavioral research, and (c) high-level statistical modeling for data analysis; specifically, Actor Partner Interdependence Modeling (APIM).

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Tae Joon Moon
Dept. of Psychiatry
Dougherty Lab

Tae Joon is a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Neurobehavioral Research within the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). He completed his graduate training in Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His research focuses on the role of communication technologies in healthcare, which includes monitoring biomarkers with remote sensors, therapeutic benefits of computer-mediated social support groups, Ecological Momentary Assessment/Intervention via smartphones, usability and feasibility of mHealth/eHealth-intervention for people with chronic disease, and developing computer-assisted detection and prevention of risky behaviors (e.g., relapse, suicide, DWI). His research interest also includes communication patterns between patients and physicians and/or communications between peer patients. By using computer-assisted linguistic analysis and interaction sequence analysis, he identifies which types of communication patterns are more beneficial for patients in terms of their psychosocial well-being and recovery in the context of addiction treatment and cancer care.

The project described is supported by Award Number T32DA031115 from the National Institute On Drug Abuse. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute On Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.