August 24, 2011

Recently, two INVEST/Clinical Trials Network (CTN) Drug Abuse Research Fellows completed their 12-month postdoctoral fellowships, having acquired significant experience in conducting clinical trials and genotyping, respectively:

  • Suzanne Nielsen, Ph.D., Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Australia, spent her INVEST/CTN Fellowship with Walter L. Ling, M.D., University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), conducting secondary data analysis examining differences between prescription opioid and heroin users in two buprenorphine treatment studies, and supporting the multisite clinical trial “Cocaine Use Reduction With Buprenorphine” (CURB) study (CTN-0048). CURB is a complex protocol involving multiple medications designed to reduce cocaine use in cocaine-dependent individuals with a history of opioid abuse or dependence. Dr. Nielsen wrote the operations manual for the study, developed training materials, and helped run the national training for the study. She has completed two papers, presented her work at several scientific meetings, and served as guest editor of a special issue of Drug and Alcohol Review on pharmaceuticals. She will spend a second year at UCLA before returning to Australia to develop a network of clinical treatment providers in Australia, where multisite studies examining treatments for substance dependence do not currently exist. Dr. Nielsen also was featured in the ISAP News (July 2011, Volume 9, Issue 2), published by the University of California, Los Angeles Integrated Substance Abuse Programs.
  • Meera Vaswani, Ph.D., All India Institute of Medical Sciences, spent her INVEST/CTN Fellowship with Wade Berrettini, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, identifying variants in known and novel mu-opioid receptor interacting proteins, genotyping eight genes for both opioid and cocaine addiction. Dr. Vaswani presented the work at several scientific meetings and completed two papers.