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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > May, 2007 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - May, 2007

International Activities

NIDA Introduces Methadone Research Web Guide
The NIDA International Program has introduced its Methadone Research Web Guide, which reviews methadone maintenance treatment research findings in an easy-to-use question and answer format. The new guide also includes a revised section on the history and evolution of methadone maintenance in the United States, and new information on regulatory requirements in the international community. This online version ( updates and revises a 1995 print version developed through the work of numerous NIDA-supported researchers, including many who voluntarily provided slides and data. David A. Fiellin, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, updated the research portion of the Web guide and developed a new section on methadone treatment effectiveness. Dale S. Weiss, IP Program Analyst, managed the web guide development and implementation through a contract with IQ Solutions, Inc.; Dr. Ivan Montoya, DPMCDA, provided technical guidance and review.

NIDA-Supported Meetings

Italian Delegation Visits NIDA
Representatives of the Federazione Italiana degli Operatori dei Dipartimenti e dei Servizi delle Dipendenze (FeDerSerD), the Italian drug abuse prevention and treatment organization, visited NIDA in December 2006 to discuss opportunities for binational cooperation on drug abuse research and the development of science-based clinical interventions. At NIDA headquarters, the Italian delegation met with NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow as well as directors and staff from DBNBR, DESPR, DPMCDA, and CTN. The group also toured NIDA's Intramural Research Program in Baltimore, Maryland, meeting with staff in the Neuroimaging Branch, Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section, Teen Tobacco Addiction Research Clinic, Nicotine Psychopharmacology Unit, Treatment Research Program, and Molecular Neurobiology Unit. The Italian delegation included: Dr. Alfio Lucchini, Director, Milan Department of Addiction Medicine; Dr. Guido Faillace, Director, Alcamo - Palermo Department of Addiction Medicine; Dr. Pietro Fausto D'Egidio, Director, Pescara Department of Addiction Medicine; Dr. Claudio Leonardi, Director, Rome Department of Addiction Medicine; and Dr. Nava Felice, Castelfranco Veneto - Treviso Department of Addiction Medicine.

NIDA Meeting Focuses on Impact of Drug Abuse and Addiction on HIV/AIDS
Researchers discussed the successes, research challenges, and opportunities for addressing the evolving HIV/AIDS pandemic during the NIDA-sponsored meeting, Drug Abuse and Risky Behaviors, held May 8-9, 2007, on the NIH campus. Presenters provided a broad understanding of the multiple ways that drug abuse and addiction affect HIV/AIDS and how research can inform public health policy. The IP supported the participation of current Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows Mr. Duc Nguyen, Vietnam; Dr. Kevin Goulbourne, Jamaica; Ms. Rehana Kader, South Africa; Ms. Desiree Molina, Venezuela; Dr. Peter Ndege, Kenya; Dr. Yasantha Ariyaratne, Sri Lanka; Mr. Amani Msami Kisanga, Tanzania; Mr. Md Alamgir, Bangladesh; Dr. Joseph E. Navarro, Philippines; Dr. Violet C. A. Okech, Kenya; and Dr. Mehboob Singh, India.

Research Training and Exchange Programs

Three Researchers Named Distinguished International Scientists
NIDA selected researchers from Finland, India, and South Korea as 2007 Distinguished International Scientists:

Petri Hyytiae, Ph.D., Finland National Public Health Institute, and his research partner, Gregory Mark, Ph.D., Oregon Health and Science Institute, will investigate the role of prefrontal cortex cholinergic neurotransmission in methamphetamine (MA) seeking. Using microdialysis techniques and inbred mice, the researchers will examine how passive vs. self-administered exposure to MA affects the release of acetylcholine (ACh) in the prefrontal cortex. Dr. Hyytiae's previous research has focused on alcohol and cocaine behavioral pharmacology in rats and neuronal circuits involved in stress and drug self-administration; Dr. Mark's, on rat and mouse drug self-administration models and microdialysis methods to study modulation of ACh levels in rats and mice.

Meera Vaswani, Ph.D., All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and her research partner, Nicholas Goeders, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, will investigate combinations of therapeutic drugs that affect the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis through divergent mechanisms on the cue-induced reinstatement of extinguished cocaine-seeking in rats. By examining the role of environmental stress and the subsequent activation of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and the HPA axis on intravenous cocaine self-administration in rats, the researchers hope to identify potential pharmacotherapies to treat cocaine addiction in humans. Dr. Vaswani has extensive research experience in the neurogenetics and treatment of alcohol and heroin dependence; Dr. Goeders, in the interactions between stress and cocaine addiction.

In Kyoon Lyoo, M.D., Ph.D., M.M.S., Seoul National University Hospital, and his research partner, Perry F. Renshaw, M.D., Ph.D., McLean Hospital Brain Imaging Center and Harvard Medical School, will investigate the impact of methamphetamine (MA) abuse on the developing brain and develop models to test the safety and efficacy of Cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine (CDP-choline) to repair aspects of neurobiological function damaged by MA dependence in adolescence. The researchers have published seven peer-reviewed papers that describe multimodal brain imaging studies involving a cohort of about 40 MA dependent subjects in South Korea, and their research collaborations have been supported by NIDA and matching funds from South Korea.

NIDA Selects INVEST Fellow
Sung Jin Cho, Ph.D., Korean Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, has been selected as 2006-2007 NIDA INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellow. Dr. Cho will spend his Fellowship working with Dr. Alan P. Kozikowski, University of Illinois at Chicago, investigating novel serotonin receptor agonists to treat cocaine abuse and addiction and learning Dr. Kosikowski's methods for computer modeling in drug development. A chemist, Dr. Cho will focus on developing new analogues of the MAO inhibitor tranylcypromine, which has been identified as a candidate target for drug development, evaluating the in vitro pharmacological properties of the new analogues and the in vivo activity of the analogues in behavioral studies using rats. Dr. Cho received his doctoral degree from Yonsei University and published his research in the Journal of Organic Chemistry and Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Iranian and South African Named 2007 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows
Dr. Azarakhsh Mokri, Iranian National Center for Addiction Studies (INCAS), and Dr. M.N. (Nancy) Phaswana-Mafuya, South African Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), have been selected as the 2007 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows. The Fellowships provide travel support for international researchers to conduct research visits to NIDA grantees and participate in two scientific meetings: the NIDA International Forum and the CPDD Annual Scientific Meeting. Dr. Mokri will work with Dr. Richard Schottenfeld, Yale University, to complete analyses on their NIDA-supported clinical trial comparing buprenorphine with naltrexone maintenance treatment for opium- or heroin-dependent patients and plan further collaborative research. Dr. Mokri directs the INCAS drug abuse clinical research and training program, where the Institute has been selected as a WHO Middle East and Central Asia Knowledge Hub, and is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Tehran University of Medical Sciences. He has also served as the Iranian principal investigator for a WHO multi-site study of methadone maintenance. Dr. Phaswana-Mafuya will work with Dr. Bruce Johnson, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), to plan and implement their institutions' memorandum of understanding for collaborative research on drug abuse and HIV/AIDS issues in South Africa and much of Sub-Saharan Africa and to develop scientific articles based on their current epidemiological studies of drug abuse treatment and illicit drug markets in South Africa. NIDA, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) cosponsor the International Traveling Fellowships.

NIDA Hosts INVEST and HHH Fellows
NIDA introduced the 2006-2007 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows and NIDA INVEST Fellows to NIDA staff during an orientation program held January 18-19, 2007. The Fellows met with representatives from the IP and DESPR, and toured the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, National Library of Medicine, and the IRP in Baltimore. INVEST Fellows also met individually with NIDA staff: Dr. Doug Han and Dr. Young Hoon Sung, South Korea, met with Dr. Thomas Aigner, DBNBR; Dr. Judice Wagner, Brazil, met with Dr. Rao Rapaka, DBNBR; Dr. Paula Mayock, Ireland, met with Dr. Elizabeth Lambert, DESPR; and Dr. Paulo Telles, Brazil, met with Dr. J.C. Comolli, DPMCDA. NIDA Visiting Scientist Dr. Michiel B. de Ruiter, Netherlands, met with Dr. Steve Grant, DCNBR. In Baltimore, the Fellows met with Drs. Yihong Yang and Thomas Ross, Neuroimaging Branch; Dr. Ron Herning, Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section; and Dr. Stephen Heishman, Nicotine Psychopharmacology Unit. The coordinator of the Humphrey Program at Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Robert Balster, and the Assistant Coordinator, Ms. Susan Webb, accompanied the Humphrey Fellows from Richmond: Kevin Goulbourne, Jamaica; Rehana Kader, South Africa; Desiree Molina, Venezuela; Peter Kenneth Ndege, Kenya; and Duc Cuu Nguyen, Vietnam. Humphrey Fellows from Johns Hopkins University who participated included: Fairuz Afram, Iraq; Md Alamgir, Bangladesh; Dr. Yasantha Ariyaratne, Sri Lanka; Amani Kisanga, Tanzania; Michelle Moore, Trinidad and Tobago; Dr. Joseph Navarro, Philippines; Dr. Violet Okech, Kenya; and Dr. Mehboob Singh, India.

Travel Support

NIDA-Supported Researcher Participates in Drug Abuse Epidemiology Course
NIDA supported Dr. Jorge Delva, University of Michigan, who served as an instructor in drug abuse epidemiology at the University of Chile International Summer School, January 15-19, 2007, in Santiago.

Chinese Researchers Present at Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology (SNIP) Conference
NIDA supported three Chinese scientists who presented their research findings in a session on opportunities and challenges in HIV/HCV research at the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology (SNIP) 13th Conference, held April 11-14, 2007, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dr. Deyin Guo, Wuhan University, reported on host cell proteins, discussing their involvement in HIV replication and potential as targets for RNAi-based genetic therapies for AIDS. Dr. Hongkui Deng, Peking University, reviewed the development of novel mouse models to investigate HIV and HCV infection. Dr. Jianguo Wu, Wuhan University, described a potential animal model to replicate HCV infection using the tree shrew.

Two Researchers Participate in Iberoamerican College of Addictive Disorders
NIDA supported the participation of two U.S. researchers at the third congress of the Iberoamerican College of Addictive Disorders (CITA), April 12-14, 2007, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dr. Robert P Schwartz, Friends Research Institute, Inc., and Dr. Ronald Cowan, Vanderbilt University, attended the meeting.

International Visitors

Dr. Ruri Kikura-Hanajiri from the National Institute of Health Sciences, Japan visited NIDA on February 28, 2007. Dr. Kikura-Hanajiri met with Moira O'Brien, DESPR to discuss trends in drug abuse in the United States.

A delegation from Taiwan visited NIDA on April 25, 2007. The visitors included the U.S. liaison Dr. Shihlung Huang from Fayetteville State University, Dr. Shi-lung Yang, National Chung Cheng University, Dr. Su-Chuag Chiang, Taoyuan Institute of Mental Health and Tsung Hsien, National Chung Cheng University. NIDA participants in the meeting included Moira O'Brien, DESPR, Dr. Cecelia Spitznas, DPMCDA, and Dale Weiss, IP.

Dr. Wilson Compton, Director, DESPR, met with Dr. Maria Elena Medina Mora and colleagues in Mexico City to assist in developing prevention activities in Mexico. Dr. Compton then participated in the Joint NIH/American Psychiatric Assoction Meeting on Externalizing Disorders of Childhood, also in Mexico City, where he presented a paper on the links of externalizing disorders with substance use disorders.

Drs. Elizabeth Robertson and Augusto Diana of DESPR met with representatives of the Italian Federation of Operators of Departments and Services of Addictions to discuss implementation of effective prevention and best approaches for conducting prevention research.

Other International Activities

In early May 2007, Dr. Wilson Compton chaired a panel and presented at the International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology (IFPE), Goteburg, Sweden.

Dr. Peter Hartsock co-chaired a special international meeting sponsored by UNAIDS and the U.S. Department of Defense on AIDS in the military. The meeting had representatives from around the world and was held at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, March 5 and 6, 2007. Dr. Hartsock presented on NIDA's AIDS modeling research, including those studies which have lead to recent major changes in U.S. HIV testing policy.

Dr. Augusto Diana, PRB, DESPR served as a Task Force member for the International Task Force on Prevention Evaluation Measures, part of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS). Dr. Diana presented the results of the Task Force, a compendium of prevention measures called the CICAD Toolkit for the Evaluation of Universal Substance Abuse Prevention Programs for Youth, to the VIII meeting of the Expert Group on Demand Reduction, held in Bogota, Columbia, February 13 - 15, 2007. Dr. Diana served as a technical expert on a number of panels to refine the measures while at the meeting. The Expert Group meeting included state representatives from 20 OAS member nations, including Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States. There was additional representation of experts from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The purpose of the meeting was to establish agreement on the use of a common set of measures for prevention programs across the participating member states. The Expert Group did support use of the measures and developed an implementation and training and technical assistance plan to facilitate their use.

Dr. Jonathan D. Pollock, DBNBR, is a scientific officer on the Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP) and participated in the steering committee meeting, March 14, 2007 at the Sanger Center, Hinxton, UK.

Dr. Jonathan D. Pollock participated in the founding meeting of the International Knockout Mouse Consortium in Brussels, Belgium, March 15-16, 2007.


Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

Planned Meetings


Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

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