Who would have guessed? 

Last March, many of us anticipated a short-term disruption.  Clearly, “many of us” were wrong.  Consistent with all other activities, research and education efforts have been limited and in many cases are only now being re-instated.   I am delighted that even in the midst of significant challenges, the UF CARE community continues its efforts. As you’ll see inside since the summer, we have welcomed 18 affiliate members as well as 5 faculty members. We are offering trainee awards to sustain on-going research and encourage networking and our seminar series continues with a balance of exceptional external (Note: Oct. 21st) and internal addiction scientists.  Of course, another strength of UF CARE is the opportunity for social engagement.  We concede, zoom really doesn’t hit the mark square on.  HOWEVER, that doesn’t keep us from trying—please stay tuned for updates on our developing HOLIDAY event—and start building your teams NOW!~    

Have look inside!  Don’t hesitate to contact us at care@health.ufl.edu.  Stay Safe. -SJN 


Drs. Lori Knackstedt and Linda Cottler (MPI’s) received a $1.5 million R33 award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, entitled “Identifying patterns of human polysubstance use to guide the development of rodent Models.” Together with co-I’s Dr. Marek Schwendt (Psychology) and Dr. Barry Setlow (Psychiatry), the project aims to build more translational rodent models of cocaine use disorder based on human behavior patterns. More Grant Info

Dr. Jay McLaughlin: “Pharmacological probes based on mitragynine pseudoindoxyl” 9/1/18-8/31/22. NIH-NIDA 1 R21-R33 DA045884-01 (CHEM application; S. Majumdar, PI). Co-Investigator w/Susruta Majumdar. TDC: $87,242 (last 2 years; 9/1/20-8/31/22)  (R33 phase) 

More Grant Info


COVID19 Replenishment Awards for Affiliate Members


These awards will be one time competitive awards for up to $750. The award can be used ONLY to replenish research resources lost directly as a consequence of the research “shut-down”. A partial list of acceptable requests include expired solutions/reagent and re-establishing animal colonies. These funds are not available to initiate new projects, absorb costs already accounted for, or to support new components within a project. They are available to help Affiliate Members recover losses. The total number of awards is yet to be determined. Requests will be reviewed by the UF CARE Executive Committee. If a mentor sits on the committee, he/she will be recused and replaced by another UF CARE faculty member.



Building Networks and Skills Awards for Affiliate Members


The cancellation of professional meetings significantly constrains networking and related learning opportunities. Participating virtually doesn’t provide the same reward- particularly if registration fees are required! Instead of attending a virtual meeting, you and your mentor may feel that a better opportunity resides in participating in a skill-based workshop (statistics, imaging, genetics, etc.). To encourage these essential components of professional development, we are providing one time competitive awards of up to $300 to support registration for a virtual scientific meeting OR professional workshop. In either case, the affiliate awardee need not be a presenter. The number of awards is yet to be determined.



Podcast Episode 9 Dr. Ali Yurasek

UF CARE Podcast Episode 9: Dr. Ali Yurasek, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education & Behavior

UF CARE Member Dr. Ali Yurasek, Assistant Professor, UF Department of Health Education & Behavior, joins podcast host, Dr. Oliver Grundmann, for the ninth episode of the UF CARE Podcast. Read more about Dr. Yurasek's work here. WATCH NOW »

UF CARE Podcast Affiliate Episode 5 - Erin Ferguson

UF CARE Podcast: Affiliate Episode 5, Erin Ferguson, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology

In this episode of our podcast we continue to highlight UF CARE Affiliate Members.  Our Affiliate host Victor Schneider is joined by Erin Ferguson, a graduate student in the UF Department of Clinical and Health Psychology (Departmental Profile) in the UF Center for Pain Research and Behavioral Health, with mentor Dr. Jeff Boissoneault. LISTEN NOW »


Upcoming Seminar:

Seminar Dr. Susan Ferguson, UW

Recent Recorded Seminar:

CARE Seminar Lopez-Quintero 09162020

Recorded Seminar: Dr. Catalina Lopez-Quintero, UF Department of Epidemiology

UF CARE Seminar: Dr. Catalina Lopez-Quintero, UF Department of Epidemiology; Recorded 3:00 PM, Sep 16, 2020  WATCH NOW »


Preclinical Addiction Journal Club

Contact Dr. Brandon Warren to be added to the list to receive the paper and updates directly: brandon.warren@cop.ufl.edu

1st Wednesday of each month from 3:00 - 4:00 PM via Zoom:

Next Meeting: UF CARE Affiliate Member Lisa Wilson will be presenting a paper

Join Zoom Meeting


Natalie Ebner, Ph.D.


UF Department of Psychology

"I am a Professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at University of Florida (UF). I also hold an adjunct faculty position in the Department of Aging & Geriatric Research in the College of Medicine at UF and I am affiliated with the Institute on Aging, the McKnight Brain Institute, and the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research on campus. I hold a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Free University of Berlin. I completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, and at Yale University, where I also worked as Associate Research Scientist before joining the faculty at UF." - Faculty Profile - CV

Bachir Kassas, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Food and Resource Economics Department

"Bachir Kassas is an Assistant Professor at the Food and Resource Economics Department. His research is focused on applying experimental methods to study individual and consumer preferences. His research interests include consumer preferences and willingness-to-pay for credence attributes and healthy food products, preference elicitation mechanisms, individual health-related decision making, and prosocial preferences. He also works on utilizing biometric equipment including eye-tracking, facial expression analysis technology to assess emotions, and brain activity, to develop more refined behavioral models that can better explain individual preferences and consumer choice." - Faculty Profile - CV


Hebaala Agha, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Christopher McCurdy

Mallory Burns, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Christopher McCurdy

Dr. Ranjithkumar Chellian, Postdoctoral Associate, Mentor: Dr. Adriaan Bruijnzeel

Morgan Crowley, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Christopher McCurdy

Hugh Farrior, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Ben Lewis

Nicole Fitzgerald, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Linda Cottler

John Fortner, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Christopher McCurdy

Christina Gilmour, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Jeff Boissoneault

Carolin Hoeflich, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Catherine Striley

Dr. Marilyn Horta, Postdoctoral Associate, Mentor: Dr. Natalie Ebner

Andrew Moore, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Sara Jo Nixon

Avi Patel, Undergraduate Assistant, Mentor: Dr. Lance McMahon

Wonn Pyon, Graduate Student, Mentors: Dr. Barry Setlow & Dr. Jen Bizon

Morgan Reeves, Undergraduate Assistant, Mentor: Dr. Takato Hiranita

Dr. Vinita Sharma, Postdoctoral Associate, Mentor: Dr. Catalina Lopez-Quintero

Morgan Williamson, Pharm.D. Student, Mentor: Dr. Lance McMahon

Sabrina Zequeira, Graduate Student, Mentors: Dr. Barry Setlow & Dr. Jen Bizon

Julio Zuarth Gonzalez, Graduate Student, Mentor: Dr. Lance McMahon


Conference / Speaking Engagements:

Dr. Jay McLaughlin: Evaluating contributions of HIV-1 Tat protein to neurodysfunction and psychiatric deficits associated with neuroAIDS. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; September 22, 2020.

Dr. Sara Jo Nixon: Invited symposium speaker at the Latin American Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism (LASBRA), December 4, 2020 at 10:00 AM EST. The symposium is titled "Age and sex determinants for ethanol drinking".

UF CARE Affiliate Member & Trainee News:

Amy Alleyne passed her qualifying exam and thesis proposal (July 14)

Robyn Pescatore, Ph.D. (defended June 29, 2020)


(UF CARE Members and Affiliate Members in Bold)

Behnood-Rod A, Chellian R, Wilson R, Hiranita T, Sharma A, Leon F, McCurdy CR, McMahon LR, Bruijnzeel AW. Evaluation of the rewarding effects of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine in an intracranial self-stimulation procedure in male and female rats. Drug Alcohol Depend 215, 1 October 2020, 108235. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108235. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32889450

Ariana C. Brice-Tutt, Sanjeewa N. Senadheera, Michelle L. Ganno, Shainnel O. Eans, Tanvir Khaliq, Thomas F. Murray, Jay P. McLaughlin, and Jane V. Aldrich, “Phenylalanine stereoisomers of CJ-15,208 and [D-Trp]CJ-15,208 exhibit distinctly different opioid activity profiles,” Molecules 2020, 25, 3999; doi: 10.3390/molecules25173999.

Ariana C. Brice-Tutt, Lisa L. Wilson, Shainnel O. Eans, Heather M. Stacy, Chloe A. Simons, Grant Simpson, Jeremy S. Coleman, Michael J. Ferracane, Jane V. Aldrich, and Jay P. McLaughlin, “Multifunctional Opioid Receptor Agonism and Antagonism by a Novel Macrocyclic Tetrapeptide Prevents Reinstatement of Morphine Seeking Behavior,” Br. J. Pharmacol. 2020, 177, 4209-4222; doi: 10.1111/bph.15165.

Cottler LB, Goldberger BA, Nixon SJ, Striley CW, Barenholtz E, Fitzgerald ND, Taylor SM, Palamar JJ (2020). Introducing NIDA’s New National Drug Early Warning System (Letter to the Editor).  Drug and Alcohol Dependence 217, 1 December 2020, 108286. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108286

de Moura FB, Hiranita T, McMahon LR. The discriminative stimulus effects of epibatidine in C57BL/6J mice. Behav Pharmacol. 2020 Sep;31(6):565-573. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000555. PMID: 32209809

Hernandez, C. M., Orsini, C. A., Wheeler, A-R., Ten Eyck, T. W., Betzhold, S. M., Labiste, C. C., Wright N. G., Setlow, B., & Bizon, J. L. (2020). Testicular hormones mediate robust sex differences in intertemporal choice in rats. eLife 9: e58604. PMCID: PMC7521924

Lee, J., Cheong, J., Markham, M. J., Lam, J., Warren, G. & Salloum, R. G. (2020). Negative affect and the utilization of tobacco treatment among adult smokers with cancer. Psycho-oncology doi: 10.1002/pon.5543

Orsini, C. A., Blaes, S. L., Hernandez, C. M., Betzhold, S. M., Perera, H., Wheeler, A-R., Ten Eyck, T. W., Garman, T. S., Bizon, J. L., & Setlow, B. (in press). Regulation of risky decision making by gonadal hormones in males and females. Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 32919406 doi: 10.1038/s41386-020-00827-0

Osborne V, Serdarevic M, Striley CW, Nixon SJ, Winterstein AG & Cottler LB (2020). Age of First Use of Prescription Opioids and Prescription Opioid Non-Medical Use among Older Adolescents. Substance Use & Misuse. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10826084.2020.1823420

Rath M, Guergues JG, Pinho JPC, Zhang P, Nguyen TG, MacFadyen KA, Peris J, McLaughlin JP, Stevens SM Jr, Liu B: Chronic voluntary binge ethanol consumption causes sex-specific differences in microglial signaling pathways and withdrawal-associated behaviors in mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2020 Aug 7, online ahead of print. doi:10.1111/acer.14420. PMID: 32767774.

Sivalingam K, Cirino TJ, McLaughlin JP, Thangavel S: HIV-Tat and cocaine impact brain energy metabolism: Redox modification and mitochondrial biogenesis influence NRF-transcriptional mediated neurodegeneration. Mol Neurobiol (2020). PMID: 32978730. doi: 10.1007/s12035-020-02131-w


We are saddened by the death of Dr. Linda Spear, a keynote speaker at our Annual Symposium in 2015. 

Her impact on science and as a mentor will be sorely missed.

Read the Research Society on Alcoholism's Statement here.