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Neuroscience Research on Substance Abuse

Samir Haj-Dahmane, PhD and

RIA's Samir Haj-Dahmane, PhD, (left) listens to comments from Martin Kaczocha, PhD, of Stony Brook University, following his presentation during the "Neuroscience Research on Substance Abuse" conference hosted by RIA in September 2013.

September 27 and 28, 2013

Cocaine and brain function. Susceptibility to alcoholism. Smoking and schizophrenia. Marijuana and stress. Dozens of research scientists from across New York State discussed these issues and more at a neuroscience conference on September 27 and 28, 2013 at the UB Research Institute on Addictions.

“Neuroscience Research on Substance Abuse” brought together scientists from the academic medical centers and science departments across SUNY to share their research interests on substance abuse and discuss ways to facilitate intercampus collaborations.

The conference was co-sponsored by SUNY, UB, the Buffalo Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and SUNY REACH (Research Excellence in Academic Health), a program to unify and advance the research vision of New York State’s public academic health centers and their integrated medical schools.

Events included presentations by scientists from various SUNY institutions, including Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, SUNY Upstate and Downstate Medical Centers and UB. In addition, there were poster presentations, workshops and an evening gala with members of the Buffalo Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.

Speakers included:

  • Caroline Bass, PhD, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • Dale Deutch, PhD, Dept. of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Stony Brook University
  • Diana Dow-Edwards, PhD, Dept. of Pharmacology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • David Dietz, PhD, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • Samir Haj-Dahmane, PhD, UB Research Institute on Addictions
  • Brian Johnson, PhD, Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Martin Kaczocha, PhD, Dept. of Anesthesiology, Stony Brook University
  • Zsuzsa Szombathyne Meszaros, PhD, Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Frank Middleton, PhD, Dept. of Neuroscience and Physiology, SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Linda Spear, PhD, Department of Psychology, Binghamton University (Keynote Speaker)
  • Christopher Pierce, PhD, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania (Buffalo Society for Neuroscience Chapter Keynote Speaker)

“Neuroscience research on substance abuse is a recognized area of excellence in New York State, and UB has a strong contingent of researchers focused on this issue,” said Alexis Thompson, PhD, senior research scientist at RIA and conference organizer. “Furthermore, this conference was timely and relevant in light of the Obama administration’s recent announcement of a new research initiative on brain activity.”

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative was announced in April 2013 and has been designated a ‘grand challenge of the 21 century,’ comparable to the Human Genome Project, by senior Obama administration scientists.