Funding for the Nash Family Department of Neuroscience’s Training Program in Substance Use Disorders at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is supported by grant number T32DA053558 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

This training program provides rigorous training in basic and translational research in substance use disorders for a highly talented diverse group of predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers through an integrated program of coursework, mentoring, training activities, teaching opportunities, and career development to prepare talented trainees for independent research careers in substance use disorders at all levels – from preclinical genetics, cellular and molecular mechanisms of the disorders, to clinical research and interventions.

This program encourages participation of faculty mentors across different Mount Sinai departments, institutes and centers whose research specifically target substance use disorders, as well as those whose research is critically important for the multidisciplinary training we seek to impart on our trainees, thus offering the flexibility in developing truly collaborative research projects between laboratories. The multidisciplinary training areas include, but are not limited to, Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, and Pharmacological Sciences; and the Graduate School of Biological Sciences. The training will have a didactic component to foster quantitative reasoning skills as well as training to understand and maintain awareness of the ethical issues in research. The trainees will be provided with guidance and support to develop their own independent research projects that can serve as the basis to launch successful independent careers in substance use research.

Training, Activities and Skills

Training Course: BSR3700 – “Drug Addiction: Mechanisms and Therapeutic Approaches” (Paul Kenny)
This course will be available in the Fall 2023 and will be a requirement for all T32 predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees to participate. This Graduate School course, started in the Fall 2022, aims to highlight neuroanatomical and molecular mechanisms of drug addiction, with emphasis on clinical applications and novel therapeutic approaches. Clinicians and Basic scientists discuss fundamental mechanisms of drug dependence and addiction, along with clinical cases and reports from physicians or patients. The class is also highlighting current therapeutic treatments, as well as experimental treatments and clinical trials. The class will cover a range of addiction disorders, including opioid and psychostimulant addiction, alcoholism, nicotine addiction. Contact Nora McLaughlin ( for more details and to register.

Monthly AIMS Addiction Club: Journal Club (Yasmin Hurd, Addiction Institute)
The Addiction Club is a great forum where clinicians and basic scientists get together to discuss an addiction clinical case complemented by neuroscience-related discussions relevant to the case. Addiction Club, meets monthly, that is translational and based on patient cases, with an opportunity for the T32 trainee to present at the Club in partnership with one of the clinicians. The Addiction Club occurs the third Thursday of every month at 6pm in Hess 9-101 and via Zoom starting in September 21, 2023. Please email Lisa Daitch (  to make a request to be placed on the Addiction Club Listserv to receive all notifications that are sent including any updates to any Addiction Club meetings.

Weekly FBI Neuroscience Department WIPs
Trainees are strongly encouraged to join and participate in the FBI / Neuroscience Department weekly Epigenetics WIPs. The Epigenetics WIP includes 9 laboratories whose work focuses on transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms by which environmental stimuli (e.g., a drug of abuse, stress) over a lifetime change cell and circuit function to mediate lasting behavioral abnormalities. These are recurring live in-person-only meetings every week as follows. Breakfast will be provided. Contact Vena Persaud ( for more details.
Epigenetics WIP – Wednesdays from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in Anbg. 19-79.

Upcoming Events

Past Events

Ongoing events throughout Mount Sinai and support T32 training include:

Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai
Diverse Brains Events
Friedman Brain Institute Translational Seminar Series
Genetics and Genomic Sciences Seminar Series
MSN postdoc seminar series
Molecular & Cellular Signaling WIP
Pharmacological Sciences Seminar Series
Psychiatry Seminar Series
Trainee-organized panels
T32-Retreat: Trainee presentations and networking, Seminars by Alumni and Invited Speakers.
Annual event that will showcase our T32 trainees.

Current T32 Trainees

Adriana Mendez
Degree working towards: PhD
Mentor: Jessica Ables MD, PhD
Research project: Adriana is investigating how nitric oxide produced from the interpeduncular nucleus may influence the development of tolerance to drugs like oxycodone.

Kion Winston
Degree working towards: PhD
Mentors: Yasmin Hurd, PhD
Research Project: Kion’s translational research uses cutting edge molecular techniques to investigate the metabolic contributors underlying opioid use disorder.  

Greg Zilberg
Degree working towards: PhD
Mentors: Daniel Wacker, PhD
Research Project: Greg is working towards the structural and functional characterization of the Trace Amine Receptor 1, a modulator of dopaminergic neurotransmission that mediates some of the key mechanistic actions of amphetamines.

Ahmet Ceceli, PhD
Mentor: Rita Goldstein, PhD
Research Project: Ahmet studies the neurobiology of cognitive control in individuals with drug addiction using functional and structural neuroimaging tools.

Alberto Corona, PhD
Mentor: Paul Kenny, PhD
Research Project: Alberto’s research aims to understand the role of norepinephrine signaling in microglia during stress-related behaviors and how dysregulated stress systems contribute to substance use disorders.

Leanne Holt, PhD
Mentor: Eric Nestler, MD, PhD
Research Project: Leanne’s research aims to elucidate the astrocyte transcriptional response to cocaine, as well as the upstream mediators governing such changes, and to uncover the role of astrocytes in addiction-related behaviors.

Lailun Nahar, PhD
Mentor: Paul Slesinger, PhD
Research Project: Lailun’s research aims to investigate the spatiotemporal release of the neuropeptide oxytocin and its role in social behavior and drug reward.

Alumni T32 Trainees

Angelica Minier-Toribio
Degree working towards: PhD
Mentor: Eric Nestler, MD, PhD

Research project:
Angelica is studying the neurobehavioral profile of depression and addiction-related phenotypes.

Audrey Warren
Degree working towards: PhD
Mentor: Daniel Wacker, PhD
Research Project: Audrey’s project aims to use basic science to shed light on psychedelic activity by examining the interaction of G-protein coupled receptors and transporters with psychedelics in structural and functional studies.

Emma Hays
Degree working towards: PhD
Mentor: Anne Schaefer MD, PhD
Research project: Emma is studying striatal microglia and how they may mediate neuronal adaptation to changing dopamine levels.

Kaustubh Kulkarni
Degree working towards: PhD
Mentors: Daniela Schiller, PhD and Xiaosi Gu, PhD
Research Project: Kaustubh’s primary research focus is to discover the cognitive/affective computations and neural signatures underlying craving, learning, and decision-making in populations with substance use and behavioral addictions.

Janna Moen, PhD
Mentor: Paul J. Kenny, PhD

Research Project:
Janna’s primary research project is investigating the role of α5-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in cocaine reward, with a particular emphasis on cholinergic control of dopamine signaling in the nucleus accumbens.

Eligibility and Application Process

Predoctoral and Postdoctoral fellows who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents with suitable research interests.  Predoctoral candidates should be enrolled in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai graduate programs and they must have completed their first year. Postdoctoral candidates should have PhD degree in neuroscience, neurology, pharmacology, psychology or related field and a strong interest in substance use research.  Members from under-represented minority groups or persons with a disability are encouraged to apply.

Period of appointment: 

A trainee is guaranteed two years of support (with an additional year based on need and availability) to ensure that sufficient time is available for significant research training and accomplishment.

Apply to: 

Please submit with your application as a single PDF file that includes:

  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. Statement of research interests
  3. Letter of Support by the Participating Faculty Mentor

There is a rolling application process. The Steering Committee evaluates the requests and selects trainees. The first summer on the training program is spent developing an Individual Development Plan that is tailored to the trainee.