Behavior, Biology, and Chemistry:
Translational Research in Addiction

ARTT Center of Excellence

2017 BBC



Invited Speakers

Jack Bergman, PhD


Associate Professor of Psychobiology
Harvard Medical School

Contextual Factors in the Reinforcing Effects of Drugs

Dr. Bergman is the Director of the Preclinical Pharmacology laboratory at McLean Hospital and an associate professor of psychobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. His research interests include understanding pharmacological mechanisms that mediate the behavioral effects of drugs and the development of sophisticated behavioral methodologies, especially for evaluating drug dependence and addiction-relating endpoints. He currently is North American editor of Behavioural Pharmacology, a member of the Board of Directors of the CPDD, and a member of the Board of Publication Trustees of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Christopher R McCurdy, PhD


Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Director - Translational Drug Development Core
University of Florida
College of Pharmacy

​Development and Clinical Translation of Sigma Receptor Ligands as Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Pain

Dr. McCurdy is a broadly trained medicinal chemist, behavioral pharmacologist and pharmacist whose research focuses on the design, synthesis and development of drugs to treat pain and drug abuse. For over 20 years, much of his research has focused on opioid, Neuropeptide FF and sigma receptor ligand/probe design, synthesis, pharmacological evaluation and development. He has been successful in discovering unique and selective tools for sigma receptors, NPFF receptors and opioid receptors. A significant portion of his career has been dedicated to the development of novel sigma receptor ligands, in collaboration with a variety of interdisciplinary groups, to generate and optimize selective ligands which could serve as critical experimental tools, and more recently, as potential medication development leads to attenuate the effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and pain. Most notably, he has developed a PET/MR imaging diagnostic agent for visualizing the origins of chronic, neuropathic pain by interacting with sigma receptors at the site of nerve damage. In May of 2015, the USFDA approved an eIND filing to proceed with first-in-human studies that are currently underway in a Phase 0 trial. In addition to his discovery chemistry roles, Dr. McCurdy directed the in vivo behavioral pharmacology core of the University of Mississippi's NIGMH Center of Biological Research Excellence in Natural Products Neuroscience.

Sam Quinones


Author, Dreamland, Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream, and True Tales From Another Mexico

Dreamland: America's opiate-addiction epidemic and how we got where we are today

Sam Quinones is a journalist, storyteller, former LA Times reporter, and author of three acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction. His career as a journalist has spanned almost 30 years. His most recent book is Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Bloomsbury Press.



Funding for this conference is made possible [in part] by R13 DA029347 from The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.