Radical Solutions to the Opioid Misuse Epidemic

The theme of Innovation Lab Buffalo is Radical Solutions to the Opioid Misuse Epidemic. The number of deaths from opioids in the United States has quadrupled in the past 15 years. Opioid mortality parallels an increase in the quantity of legal prescription opioids dispensed. The abundance of prescription opioids paves the path to nonmedical use.

Curbing opioid misuse is a major public health challenge, one that will require solutions involving diverse disciplines and perspectives. The goal of this project is to facilitate the development of novel transdiciplinary collaborative grant proposals among early-career scholars. The NIH will be committing significant new funds to support grants to study the opioid epidemic in an effort to attract researchers new to this field to apply novel approaches from many disciplines to study this critical problem. 

Enhancing collaboration is central to the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, but it faces many barriers. This may be particularly true for early-career investigators who may be disadvantaged in pursuing and obtaining collaborative funding (e.g., Daniels 2015) without a substantive "nudge."

To provide that nudge, this project will implement Innovation Labs to drive early-career grants designed to foster new transdisciplinary, multi-CTSA teams that will pursue innovative translational science. 


Mentors are content experts who guide participants through the early stages of proposal development. Scholars need not bring “canned” research ideas to the Lab. Rather, teams and ideas are developed through real-time peer review. Ideas rapidly iterate, in public, with the benefit of constant commentary. Mentors play the dual role of coach and reviewer, reinforcing novel ideas while balancing them with the realities of funding and scientific politics.



David Dietz, PhD

Associate Professor, Interim Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

University at Buffalo



Katherine Hartmann, MD, PhD

Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Scientist Development

Director of Education, Training and Career Development for Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research

Vanderbilt University


Jeffrey M. Lackner, PsyD

Professor, Department of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

University at Buffalo



Paul Meyer, PhD

Assistant Professor, Deprtment of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences

University at Buffalo 




Thomas Nochajski, PhD

Research Professor and Co-director of Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care, School of Social Work

University at Buffalo 



Ekaterina (Katia) Noyes, PhD, MPH

Director, Division of Health Services Policy and Practice

Director, MPH Concentration in Health Services Administration

Research Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo


Gregory Wilding, Phd

Chair and professor Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Health Professions

University at Buffalo




Derek Gee, Buffalo News

Supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health

Research reported here was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1TR001412 to the University at Buffalo. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.