Print this page

Addiction Center Major Research Themes

The Addiction Center's research efforts are focused in six major thematic areas that range from molecular genetics and computational neuroscience. Within these six areas, a number of projects, both full scale, and at the pilot level, are ongoing.

Each of the research themes is briefly described below, and a list of faculty involved is presented.

1. Prevention and Early Intervention: involving the conduct of randomized controlled trials to evaluate the efficacy of screening and early intervention protocols for adolescents and young adults for alcohol, other drugs, and violence, including family based interventions for at-risk children. Faculty: Barry, Blow, Bohnert A., Bohnert K., Bonar, Chermack, Cranford, Jester, Walton, Zucker

2. Developmental Psychopathology and Genetics: including studies on the identification of genetic, neuropsychological, and psychosocial factors that contribute to alcoholism and other drug abuse across different segments of the life span. Other work in this area is focused on characterization of developmental course with a special interest in heterogenity of the addictive risk on phenotype. Faculty: Brower, Burmeister, Heitzeg, Hicks, Jester, Shedden, Zucker

3. Neuroimaging and Neurophysiology: this program of research is carried out in collaboration with investigators from the UM Molecular and Behavioral Neurosciences Institute and the University's Functional MRI Laboratory. Current fMRI and PET studies are looking at the relationships of brain activation patterns to genetic risk and prior behavioral risk, relationships to neurocognitive functioning, and to substance use and abuse outcomes for nicotine, alcohol, and illicit drugs. Faculty: Brower, Heitzeg, Morrow, Zucker

4. Intervention Including Treatment and Recovery: involving course predictors, effectiveness, and medication development studies; these studies target patients with substance use disorders, tracking their course of illness during and following treatment interventions; naturalistic treatment outcome studies are used to identify biological, psychosocial, cultural, spiritual and ethnic factors that influence or protect against subsequent drug use and relapse; Biological factors of particular interest include genetic markers of the GABA and serotonin systems and sleep physiology. Faculty: Barry, Blow, Bonar, Brower, Chermack, Cranford, Ilgen, Walton, Zucker

5. Health Services Research: involving research on the health services outcomes of treatment and documentation of differences in clinical manifestations and course of different population subgroups. Faculty: Barry, Blow, Bohnert A., Bohnert K., Bonar, Chermack, Ilgen, Walton, Zucker

6. Relationship of Sleep Problems and/or Chronic Pain to the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders: involves studies of the 1) effects of sleep problems on course of alcoholism and relapse, 2) role of sleep disturbances in the etiology of substance use disorders, 3) characteristics of chronobiological variation in earlier life as predictors of later substance use and abuse and 4) interrelationships between pain, medications used to treat pain and substance use; 5) use of opioids and the prevention of adverse outcomes, e.g., overdose; and 5) development and testing of novel interventions to address co-occurring chronic pain and substance use disorders. Faculty: Bohnert A., Brower, Conroy, Heitzeg, Ilgen, Zucker