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

Course:

BSR3700 – “Drug Addiction: Mechanisms and Therapeutic Approaches” (V Zachariou, P Kenny)

This new course will be available starting in the Fall 2022 (September 07, 2022 – December 14, 2022) and will be a requirement for T32 trainees to participate.

 

Lecturer

Topic

P Kenny-V Zachariou/Addiction Clinique

Introduction-Clinical presentations. Current Rehab approaches

Paul Kenny

Nicotine Addiction

Vanna Zachariou

Opioid Addiction-Clinical problems and New treatments

Paul Slesinger  

Alcohol Disorders

Eric Nestler

Psychostimulant use disorders

Yasmin Hurd  

Cannabinoids

Trainee presentations

Addiction Disorders: Prevention and Criminalization around the Globe

Rita Goldstein

Neuroimaging in Addiction

Muhammad Parvaz                               

Addiction in Adolescents

Veerle Bergink

Exposure to psychotropics during pregnancy

Trainee presentations

Addiction Disorders during the Covid19 pandemic

Kanaka Rajan

Recurrent neural network models for mechanism discovery in health and disease.

Towfique Raj

Computational methods in Addiction Research

Ian Maze

Neuroepigenetics

Trainee Presentations

Socioeconomic aspects of Drug addiction

 

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 starting in September 2022.

 

Research Presentation, Seminars and 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: Nora.McLaughlin@mssm.edu and Venetia.Zachariou@mssm.edu

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.