Addiction Neurogenetics: New approaches to modeling an old disease

In this TED-style talk, learn how JAX has taken a different approach to understanding and treating addiction with Assistant Professor, Vivek Kumar, Ph.D.

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Today: Addiction is a deadly public health crisis. It’s also a chronic illness, with genetic, environmental and social aspects that are similar in scope to those found in diabetes or hypertension. Yet unlike these illnesses, addiction is often treated as moral failure.

In the future: Imagine a world in which we can uncover how the brain responds to drugs in order to explain and treat drug-seeking behavior – so that ultimately, people can live free of addiction and its stigmas.

JAXtaposition: Very few pharmaceutical treatments exist to help people overcome brain changes associated with addiction and reduce drug cravings, and a lack of understanding of the biology of addiction keeps people from accessing the treatment and other support they desperately need. JAX is trying to bridge this gap by researching the powerful genetic factors influencing the biological mechanisms of addiction.

This is the future of medicine. This is JAXtaposition.


Vivek Kumar 

Vivek Kumar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Vivek Kumar received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego and conducted postdoctoral research at Northwestern University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He has a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Chicago.