Training the next generation of addiction researchers

JAX Professor and Ann Watson Symington Chair in Addiction Research Elissa Chesler, Ph.D. Photo by Tiffany Laufer.

New JAX education program introduces underrepresented minority researchers to advanced genomic approaches in addiction research.

New, cutting-edge genetic and genomic approaches to understanding the biology of addiction hold promise for addressing the nation’s addiction crisis, which each year takes a terrible health, social and economic toll, especially among minority populations. A new five-year grant totaling $1,030,586 to Jackson Laboratory Professor and Ann Watson Symington Chair in Addiction Research Elissa Chesler, Ph.D.Develops software tools and resources for multi-species data integration in the study of health and disease and researches the genetic and biological basis for relationships among behavioral traits including addiction and other behaviors.Elissa Chesler, Ph.D. , will fund a unique research and training experience that is designed to increase the diversity of next-generation scientists to study addiction.

Participating researchers from underrepresented minorities will first complete a customized, virtual mentored course designed to deliver foundational skills and knowledge in mammalian and systems genetics of addiction. Then, a subset of course participants will be invited to return to JAX with two trainees (post-doctoral, graduate or undergraduate students) for an extended summer research experience mentored by hosting JAX faculty.

“The participants will return to their home institutions with knowledge, skills, data and resources to support follow-on research, presentations, publications and grant applications,” Chesler says. “By bringing faculty and their trainees from underrepresented minorities to JAX, the whole team leaves ready to embark on research in this area using advanced tools and approaches.”

Growing the Genetics of Addiction Workforce with URM Faculty-Student Research Experiences, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Grant Number 1 R25 DA051342-01A1