February 28, 2010

Senior drug abuse researchers from Taiwan and the United States have been named Distinguished International Scientists, receiving support from the NIDA International Program to advance their collaborations with colleagues in the United States and Russia, respectively:

  • Hwei-Hsien Chen, Ph.D., a pharmacologist and toxicologist at Tzu Chi University, Taiwan, will work with Athina Markou, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, to investigate the reward-enhancing effects of toluene, an abused inhalant. Demonstrating that these reward-enhancing effects of toluene occur in mice would permit future research to use the multiple strains of transgenic and knockout mice that are available. Drs. Chen and Markou also will investigate how glutamatergic pharmacological manipulations available to treat humans may affect toluene-induced facilitation of brain reward function, which could suggest eventual pharmacotherapies to prevent toluene abuse. Dr. Chen visited Dr. Markou’s laboratory in fall 2008 to develop the DISCA application and will concentrate on mastering the mouse intracranial self-stimulation procedure, which is currently unavailable in Taiwan.
  • Kenneth W. Griffin, Ph.D., M.P.H., Cornell University, will prepare a grant application with Irina Pervova, Ph.D., St. Petersburg State University, Russia, proposing a systematic program of National Institutes of Health-funded research projects designed to export and adapt evidence-based U.S. prevention programs for Russian youth. Drs. Griffin and Pervova will propose to examine the etiology of substance abuse and HIV risk behavior among Russian youth, identify a U.S. prevention program for implementation in Russia, and implement and evaluate the adapted program in efficacy and effectiveness trials in St. Petersburg. Their collaboration grew out of a 2006 NIDA-funded conference where Dr. Pervova chaired the local organizing committee and Dr. Griffin both helped plan the meeting and participated in it.