It is remarkable that we’ve spent almost a year operating in/adjusting to the anxieties and constraints of COVID19.  Equally remarkable is the fact that despite robust reasons to behave otherwise, the UF CARE investigators and affiliates have maintained an exceptional level of commitment and enthusiasm.  Congrats and THANK you.  Today I want to draw attention to the work our monthly seminar co-chairs are doing.  Leveraging the advantages of ZOOM (rather than complaining about its inadequacies), they developed an exceptional speaker series with lectures delivered by scientists as close as the basement and as distant as CA.  AND, it isn’t over yet- we are excited to welcome Dr. Gilpin on March 17th.  It is also noteworthy, as detailed inside, that our members are sharing their work in local, regional, and national venues, demonstrating their resilience over this year.  Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the 8th Annual UF CARE Symposium on April 20th (yes, we see the humor).  This year we are honored to have collaborators from FIU, FSU, UCF, and USF. [see link below].  In closing, we want to remind our former UF colleagues/collaborators/trainees-please keep us up-to-date regarding your continuing accomplishments--!  It’s exciting and rewarding to share in your successes!

Great to be a part of UF CARE- SJN 


Dr. Jennifer Bizon Appointed Chair of UF Neuroscience

UF CARE member Dr. Bizon, professor in the department of neuroscience and co-director of UF’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research Program (CAM), has served as interim chair of the department since April.

Dr. Bizon’s research program is broadly focused on understanding brain aging and its implications for cognitive function, with the long-term goal of identifying strategies and interventions that promote cognitive resilience at advanced ages.  READ MORE

Feature Symposium Save the Date 2021 Symposium 450x302


March 17, 2021 at 3:00 PM

Dr. Nicholas Gilpin

Professor of Physiology
Vice Chair of Research in Physiology
Associate Director Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence

Louisiana State University, School of Medicine

More Info about Dr. Gilpin's work here.



Society for Addiction Psychology's Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction 2021 (Virtual) Conference, March 17-19:


UF CARE Affiliate Members & Alumni presenting posters:

Ben Berey, "Differences in Characteristics and Reasons for Use Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis Users" (3/18 at 6pm EST)

Shelby Blaes, "Use of Alcohol and Opioids Predicts Pain Severity in Regular Cannabis Users" (3/18 at 1:40pm EST)

Nicholas Bush, "The Effect of Next Day Responsibilities and an Adaptive Purchase Task on Marijuana Demand" (3/18 at 6pm EST)

Hugh Farrior, "Cognitive Training During Early Abstinence Improves Inhibitory Control in an Emotional Stroop Task" (3/19 at 2:50pm EST)

Erin Ferguson, "Convergent Validity of an Adaptive Marijuana Purchase Task" (3/18 at 6pm EST)

Tessa Frohe, "Feasibility, Acceptability, and Usability Testing of Attentional Bias Retraining via Smartphone App" (3/19 at 2:50pm EST)

Christian Garcia, "Preliminary Evidence of Potential Bias in the Emotional Face Expression (EFE) Task: An ERP Study" (3/18 at 6pm EST)

Lauren Hoffman, "Recovery-Related Discrimination Among Adults in Recovery from Opioid Use Problems: A National Survey" (3/19 at 2:50pm EST)

Andrew Moore, "Association of a Delay Discounting and Cash Choice Question with Early Substance Use in ABCD Study" (3/19 at 2:50pm EST)

Julianne Price, "From Cardiac Signaling to Cognitive Recovery: A Randomized Clinical Trial in Treatment-Seeking Women" (3/17 at 5pm EST)

Victor Schneider, "Assessing Drinking Topography in a Virtual Reality Bar Environment" (3/18 at 1:40pm EST)

Full Poster Schedule


 Keynote Address:

"WOW! Still Drinking at Your Age?"

March 19, 12:45 PM EST

Sara Jo Nixon, Ph.D.

Director, UF CARE, Professor Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology

Dr. Sara Jo Nixon is a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Florida. She is Chief of the Division of Addiction Research, Director of the UF Center for Addiction Research & Education (CARE), and Director of UF Neurocognitive Laboratory. Dr. Nixon is a Past President of APA Division 50 and a Founding Chair of the CPA Conference. Dr. Nixon uses neurobehavioral methods and models to examine the acute and chronic effects of alcohol and other drugs. Within her clinical research, her team also explores sex differences, the effects of age, and the import of ethnic/racial minority status. Because of the complex nature of substance abuse, Dr. Nixon’s work uses comprehensive behavioral assessments including neuropsychological testing, brain electrophysiology (electroencephalography and event-related potentials), and clinical research interviews. In addition to neurobehavioral research, Dr. Nixon has sustained a strong interest in community outreach and education. Her continued commitment to community outreach is reflected in her on-going work focusing on the cognitive, psychological and social concomitants of substance use. (from the conference site)



"Mind-Body-Brain: Quantifying Harm to Facilitate Recovery"

March 19, 11:00 AM EST (Zoom C)

Chair: Julianne Price, Ph.D.

Ben Lewis: "Emotion Processing among Treatment Seeking Individuals with AUD"

Julianne Price: "Longitudinal Hair Cortisol Profiles: From Active Drinking to Early Recovery"

Sara Jo Nixon: Discussant

"Emerging Research on Physical Pain and Substance Use: A Multimethod Examination"

March 18, 12:25 PM EST (Zoom A)

Chair: Dezarie Moskal, M.S.

Jeff Boissoneault: "Novel Mechanistic Insights into the Acute Analgesic Effects of Alcohol. Organizer"

(Note: only UF CARE members & alumni are listed)

Full Symposia Schedule



Christian C. Garcia is a recipient of the CPA2021 Diversity Registration Award

"The CPA2021 Program Committee is committed to increasing inclusion and opportunities for trainees from underrepresented minority groups to attend the conference and present their research. Following a recommendation from the CPA Diversity Committee, the Diversity Travel Awards program was established for CPA2020. We are excited to continue to offer Diversity Travel Awards for CPA2021 sponsored by the Society for Addiction Psychology. Two awards will be given for the 2021 conference, one to a graduate student and one to a postdoctoral fellow."

More info about the CPA Diversity Awards


International Narcotics Research Conference (INRC), July 12-14

Watch for upcoming announcements with more details.  Cost-effective speaking opportunities for students, postdocs and faculty to present research to the community are available!

Dr. Jay McLaughlin is on the planning committee of this meeting. Please contact him with any interest or questions.

Also follow INRC on Twitter for updates.


UF Drug Discovery Symposium, April 22-23

Dr. Jay McLaughlin is on the planning committee of this meeting. Please contact him with any interest or questions.



Christian Garcia honored with UF Diversity Affirmation and Awareness Committee (DAAC) Spotlight: "Christian is committed to studying health disparities in substance use and related conditions among traditionally underrepresented groups utilizing behavioral and neurophysiological methodologies."



Lisa Wilson will be featured in the next GatorRX as the first recipient of the Avery “Advancing women in Pharmaceutical Sciences” award, honoring the life and achievements of UF CARE Member Dr. Bonnie Avery.


Sabrina Zequeira accepted an offer of admission to the UF Psychology BMS PhD program and will be continuing research in the labs of Dr. Bizon and Dr. Setlow.



Dr. Lisa Merlo is looking for a postdoc mentee with interest in substance use disorders and other potentially-impairing conditions among physicians and other healthcare professionals to start by June 30, 2021. Please email her at for more info!

T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship in HIV and Alcohol Research (SHARC): There are available spots on the NIAAA T32 on HIV/Alcohol translational research. A background in substance and/or HIV research is preferred but are open to candidates who have good skills and a willingness to move their research in this direction for postdoc. Dr. Robert Leeman is happy to answer any questions -  - The description is available on the SHARC website: Current Opportunities

Postdoctoral fellowship available on NIDA-funded T32, UF Substance Abuse Training Center in Public Health. Director Dr. Linda Cottler is seeking a postdoc available to start around May 1, 2021, with background in substance use research. Opportunity to work on the National Drug Early Warning System. Contact Tamara Millay ( with questions. More information is available on the website.


(UF CARE Members, Affiliate Members, and Alumni in Bold)

Berthold EC, Kamble SH, Raju KS, King TI, Popa R, Sharma A, León F, Avery BA, McMahon LR, McCurdy CR. Preclinical pharmacokinetic study of speciociliatine, a kratom alkaloid, in rats using an UPLC-MS/MS method. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2021 Feb 5;194:113778. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2020.113778. Epub 2020 Nov 21. PMID: 33277117

Blanton HL, Barnes RC, McHann MC, Bilbrey JA, Wilkerson JL, Guindon J. Sex differences and the endocannabinoid system in pain. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2021 Jan 12;202:173107. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2021.173107. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33444598

Cirino TJ, Alleyne AR, Duarte V, Figueroa A, Simons CA, Anceaume EM, Kendrick J, Wallman O, Eans SO, Stacy HM, Medina JM, McLaughlin JP: Expression of human immunodeficiency virus transactivator of transcription (HIV-Tat1-86) protein alters nociceptive processing that is sensitive to anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory interventions. (In press, Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology; 1-22-2021).

Cottler LB, Goldberger BA, Nixon SJ, Striley CW, Barenholtz E, Fitzgerald ND, Taylor SM, Palamar JJ. Introducing NIDA's New National Drug Early Warning System. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Dec 1;217:108286. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108286. Epub 2020 Sep 14. PMID: 32979739; PMCID: PMC7489265.

Lewis, B., Garcia, C. C., Bohan, R., & Nixon, S. J. (2020). Impact of polysubstance use on social and non-affective cognitive performance among treatment-seeking individuals with alcohol use disorders. Addictive Behaviors, 106, 106359. Featured in special issue "New directions in the evaluation and rehabilitation of neurocognitive processes in addictive disorders" PMCID: PMC7400962

Liu Y, Cheong J, Setlow B, Cottler LB. Cocaine and Marijuana Polysubstance Use and Cocaine Use Disorder: Investigating Mediated Effects through Patterns of Cocaine Use. J Dual Diagn. 2020 Dec 10:1-14. doi: 10.1080/15504263.2020.1849887. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33300839.

Polles, A.G., Bundy, C., Jacobs, W.M., & Merlo, L.J. (2021). Adaptations to substance use disorder monitoring by physician health programs in response to COVID-19. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 125. E-pub ahead of print. doi:

Wilson LL, Eans SO, Cirino TJ, Stacy HM, Simons CA, Uprety R, Majumdar S, McLaughlin JP: Kratom alkaloids, natural and semi-synthetic, show less physical dependence and ameliorate opioid withdrawal. In press;Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology; (special issue: “Understanding opioid actions, pain and analgesia: a tribute to Dr. Gavril Pasternak”). 2021 Jan 12.  PMID: 33433723.


Dr. Barry Setlow presented research on rat models of risky decision making on January 21 at Konkuk University in South Korea