JAX Center for Addiction Biology

Addiction is a chronic illness, with genetic, environmental and social aspects. JAX researchers are at the forefront of understanding the genetic factors involved in individuals' vulnerability to addiction.

The JAX Center for Addiction Biology is an integrated research center designed to bring together an interdisciplinary community of researchers into the study of addiction, making extensive use of the laboratory mouse and cross-cutting bioinformatics methods for the understanding of the biology of substance use disorders. Substance use disorders encompass alcohol, prescription drugs, nicotine and tobacco products, and a variety of illicit substances. They impact a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life.

There is substantial evidence of a biological predisposition to addiction, which interacts with life history such that some individuals are extremely likely to develop substance use disorders given exposure to drugs, whereas others are not. Genetics plays a significant role in substance use disorders, and in laboratory animals, genetics also provide a powerful tool for discovering the biological mechanisms of addiction and potential biological and pharmaceutical treatments for addiction. It is estimated that thousands of genes are involved in various aspects of substance use disorders, and each may have different influences in the various stages of the disorder.

Discovering and utilizing this information requires a broad range of capabilities and technologies including advances in behavioral phenotyping, systems genetics, mouse resources, bioinformatics, genomics and epigenetics, neuroimaging and machine vision. Our team of investigators is dedicated to the development and application of leading approaches to the challenge of Substance Use Disorder (SUDs). The JAX Center for Addiction Biology includes the NIDA P50 Center of Excellence Center for Systems Neurogenetics of Addiction, the Short Course on Genetics of Addiction, and a large portfolio of addiction research grants. A variety of training opportunities foster interdisciplinary skill development and collaborative research within and outside The Jackson Laboratory.