Friends—  Well, it’s the end of the 2020-2021 academic calendar year and what a year it’s been!  Anxiety and uncertainty have been constant descriptors—so much so, in fact, that it has sometimes been nearly impossible to note periodic success. So, as we put this year in perspective, I want to take a moment to briefly summarize some of UF CARE’s progress in this year.  First, faculty membership in UF CARE increased by 28%.  UF’s support permitted us to award 4 Dissertation Awards in 2020/2021, 4 awards for professional meeting registration, and even replenishment funds for projects lost to COVID-19.  Compared to 2018, when the current structure was created, the number of addiction related grants from NIDA and NIAAA has increased by 18% and external dollars by 43%.  Our faculty members and trainees (as you’ve seen each month) are being recognized at the local, regional, national and international levels- even in the midst of the pandemic. AND, demonstrating our growing collaborations, 190 unique papers were published in 2020 by UF CARE faculty  each of which had more than one UF CARE co-author!  Finally, as evidenced by the reports below, we just completed a wonderful Annual Symposium, where the planning committee did an exceptional job in managing a diverse and engaging program—relatedly, we had registrants from across the U.S.  We must admit this outreach would not have been possible without Zoom.  Thus, while we look forward to reconnecting in the next monthsit is uplifting that UF CARE members have persevered—and met success! Thanks to all of you!  - SJN 


Recorded Symposium Keynotes

UF CARE Eighth Annual Symposium Recorded Keynotes: Dr. Chavkin & Dr. Childress

Topic: Risk / Resiliency & Recovery Recorded at the 8th Annual UF CARE Symposium, April 20, 2021  


UF CARE website feature dissertation aid grants 2020-2021


Co-Sponsored Seminar with UF Department of Pharmacodynamics

12:00 PM, Wednesday, May 5, 2021

(Date Correction)

"Taurine and glycine receptors as common targets for alcohol and the relapse-preventing drug acamprosate"

Mia Ericson, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry

University of Gothenburg


UF CARE Podcast Episode 12 Bachir Kassas

UF CARE Podcast Episode 12: Dr. Bachir Kassas, Food and Resource Economics Department (IFAS)

UF CARE Member Bachir Kassas, Ph.D. joins podcast host Dr. Oliver Grundmann for this our 12th installment of the UF CARE Podcast. Read more about Dr. Kassas' work here. WATCH NOW »

UF CARE Podcast Affiliate Episode 9 Neo Gebru

UF CARE Podcast Affiliate Episode 9: Neo Gebru, Department of Health Education & Behavior

This month affiliate podcast host Victor Schneider is joined by UF CARE Affiliate Member Neo Gebru, an NIH/NIAAA F31 predoctoral fellow, NIH/NIAAA T32 trainee with the Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC), and graduate student of Dr. Robert Leeman, in the UF Department of Health Education & Behavior. LISTEN NOW »


UF CARE Affiliate Member Erin Ferguson's F31 has been awarded by NIAAA. Title: “Impact of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness on Demand for Alcohol and Marijuana among Co-Users.” Overall goal:  "Advance knowledge about pain as a determinant of substance use, particularly alcohol and marijuana use. The primary study aims are to: 1) determine the effect of experimentally induced musculoskeletal pain on demand for alcohol and marijuana and 2) characterize this association by examining relevant psychosocial variables. Results of this study may improve understanding of the causal relationship between pain and alcohol and marijuana use and inform interventions to reduce risk of substance use disorders, particularly among pain patients." Read More

UF CARE Affiliate Member Dr. Marilyn Horta recently received a fellowship award from the Enhanced Interdisciplinary Research Training Institute on Hispanic Substance Abuse (eIRTI) at the University of Southern California (USC). This fellowship is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) (R25DA050687- 01A1). The overall goal of this fellowship is to "develop the next generation of culturally and scientifically diverse substance abuse researchers whose knowledge and skills will ensure the effective translation, implementation, and dissemination of scientific findings in substance use disorders."


Dr. Robert Leeman is now a Field Editor for the Journal of Studies on Alcohol & Drugs

Dr. Jeff Boissoneault (left) and Dr. Ben Lewis (right) have joined the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs Editorial Board. Dr. Lewis has also joined the Editorial Board of Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience.


UF CARE Affiliate Member John Lee, Ph.D. successfully defended his dissertation, titled "Investigations on developmental trajectories in electronic cigarette use, risk perception and e-cigarette advertisements among US adolescents: Results from US national survey, 2015-2018." He will start a postdoctoral position at Yale School of Medicine on June 1st, 2021, continuing to work on tobacco control policy for youth tobacco use prevention.

UF CARE Affiliate Members Nick Bush (left) and Victor Schneider (right) successfully defended their Master’s theses.

List of Affiliates and Alumni has been updated:

Please let us know about any updates.


UF CARE Affiliate Member Erin Ferguson (mentor: Dr. Jeff Boissoneault) has received the PHHP Graduate Dean's Scholar Award. Graduate students are nominated by their mentors and must have evidence of academic excellence and scholarly activity in PHHP. Erin's contributions to multiple projects, publications, F31 grant, and mentorship of undergraduate students are examples of her efforts.  More info about this award here.

UF CARE Affiliate Member Christian Garcia (mentor: Dr. Sara Jo Nixon) has received the Trish Calvert Ring Dissertation Scholarship award by the UF Department of Psychology / University of Florida Graduate Studies Committee.  This award will cover his stipend and tuition for one year.  Christian also is a recipient of a UF CARE Dissertation Aid Grant, which will cover the costs associated with completing his dissertation project.

UF CARE Affiliate Member Wonn Pyon (mentor: Dr. Barry Setlow) won the first place Robert Levitt Award after a presentation and question/answer session hosted by the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Oak Hammock.  “It was my privilege to bring my lab’s work on how healthy aging affects the way that we make risky decisions. It was an exciting opportunity for me to highlight the work we are doing to figure out how the brain is changing outside of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. By having a better understanding of healthy aging, we are better equipped to notice when things are going wrong.” -Pyon 


UF CARE Symposium Poster Award Winners:


Undergraduate Trainee:

Jesse Schmidt, University of Florida, Psychology

(Mentor: Dr. Marek Schwendt)


Graduate Trainees:

Graham Kaplan, Florida State University, Biological Sciences

(Mentor: Dr. Jian Feng)

Yuma Ortiz, University of Florida, Pharmacodynamics

(Mentor: Dr. Jenny Wilkerson)

Benjelene Sutherland, Florida International University, Psychology

(Mentors: Dr. Matthew Sutherland & Dr. Elisa Trucco)

*Reanne Mathai, University of Central Florida, Medicine &

*Apollonia Lysandrou, University of Florida, Psychiatry

(Mentor: Dr. Ben Lewis)


Postdoctoral Trainee:

Yuxiang Li, Florida State University, Biological Science

(Mentor: Dr. Jian Feng)

*This poster also won 2nd place in the 2021 UF PGSO Undergraduate Research Forum - "Pain and Associated Sleep Disturbance Among Individuals in Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder" by Apollonia E. Lysandrou with co-authors Reanne Mathai, Deborah Morrison, Dr. Lisa Merlo, Dr. Scott Teitelbaum, Dr. Laurie Solomon, & Dr. Ben Lewis


Dr. Robert Cook presented "Assessing the dose, amount, and heavy use patterns among adults with HIV who use marijuana" at the Cannabis Clinical Outcomes Research Conference. "Marijuana flower, commonly used to help manage symptoms and conditions, may be obtained either within or outside of the formal medical marijuana system. There is a desire to identify the optimal dose and frequency for different conditions. As part of an ongoing cohort study of marijuana use in persons with HIV, we sought to identify and quantify the average amount of marijuana flower consumed per dose and per day, and to identify the frequency of heavy daily use. " Read More

Dr. Yan Wang presented "Health outcomes among adults initiating medical marijuana for chronic pain: Preliminary findings from a 12-month prospective study" at the at the Cannabis Clinical Outcomes Research Conference. "In response to the need of more rigorous data on marijuana use and chronic pain, we conducted a 12-month prospective study to examine the effects of medical marijuana on pain, opioid use, anxiety/depression, and quality of life." Read More

Dr. Jenny Wilkerson participated in a panel discussion titled "Research and Regulatory Barriers in Cannabis Research discussion panel" and presented a poster titled "Cannabis-derived terpenes as novel neuropathic pain therapeutics: preclinical mouse studies and possible cannabinoid receptor involvement" at the Cannabis Clinical Outcomes Research Conference, hosted by the Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research (CCORC).

Dr. Robert Leeman presented "Technology-based interventions to reduce alcohol use and prevent HIV among young people." St. Jude Children's Research Hospital HIV Lecture Series, held virtually, March 3, 2021.  He will also be presenting with the same title Sept 16, 2021 at Pediatric Grand Rounds at USF Health.


UF CARE Official Logos Available for your Posters & Presentations

UF CARE Official Logo, PNG

UF CARE Official Logos

Please remember us when preparing your posters and presentations!


Yan Wang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Epidemiology

"With an interdisciplinary perspective, her research interests focus on leveraging advanced technologies and methods (e.g., wearable sensors, ecological momentary assessment/EMA) to improve the understanding of etiology and consequences of substance use (e.g., alcohol, medical marijuana). Dr. Wang is also a core faculty member of the Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC, U24 AA022002), which focuses on improving health among persons living with HIV in Florida. She also serves as the clinical core lead of the Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research, which is a new consortium established in 2019 by the Florida Statute to provide infrastructural support for statewide research on medical marijuana and its clinical outcomes." (Faculty Profile)



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

Bryant VE, Britton MK, Gullett JM, Porges EC, Woods AJ, Cook RL, Williamson J, Ennis N, Bryant KJ, Bradley C, Cohen RA. (2021). Reduced Working Memory is Associated with Heavier Alcohol Consumption History, Role Impairment and Executive Function Difficulties. AIDS Behav. 2021 Feb 7. PMID: 33550519

Chen X, Kassas B, & Gao Z. (2021). "Impulsive purchasing in grocery shopping: Do the shopping companions matter?." Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 60: 102495. via ScienceDirect

Fernandez, A.C., Lin, A., Boissoneault, J., Borsari, B., & Blow, F. (in press). Opioid and Alcohol Use for Pain Management among Elective Surgical Patients: A Qualitative Study. Pain Medicine.

Fisk RJ, Richards VL, Leeman RF, Brumback B, Cook C, Cook RL. (2021). Negative Consequences of Alcohol Use among People Living with HIV. Subst Use Misuse. 2021;56(6):871-878. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2021.1899232. Epub 2021 Mar 26. PMID: 33769201

Hahn JA, Murnane PM, Vittinghoff E, Muyindike WR, Emenyonu NI, Fatch R, Chamie G, Haberer JE, Francis JM, Kapiga S, Jacobson K, Myers B, Couture MC, DiClemente RJ, Brown JL, So-Armah K, Sulkowski M, Marcus GM, Woolf-King S, Cook RL, Richards VL, Molina P, Ferguson T, Welsh D, Piano MR, Phillips SA, Stewart S, Afshar M, Page K, McGinnis K, Fiellin DA, Justice AC, Bryant K, Saitz R. (2021). Factors associated with phosphatidylethanol (PEth) sensitivity for detecting unhealthy alcohol use: An individual patient data meta-analysis. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. PMID: 33837975

Ibañez GE, Zhou Z, Cook CL, Slade TA, Somboonwit C, Morano J, Harman J, Bryant K, Whitehead NE, Brumback B, Algarin AB, Spencer EC, Cook RL. (2021). The Florida Cohort study: methodology, initial findings and lessons learned from a multisite cohort of people living with HIV in Florida. AIDS Care. 2021 Apr;33(4):516-524. PMID: 32242455

Kassas B & Nayga RM. (2021). "Understanding the Importance and Timing of Panic Buying Among US Households During the COVID-19 Pandemic." Food Quality and Preference 104240. via ScienceDirect

Lai J, Morgan S, Kassas B, Kropp J, & Gao Z. (2020). "Spending of Economic Stimulus Payments and Changes in Food Purchasing During the COVID-19 Pandemic." Choices 35, no. 316-2020-1814. PDF

Park H, Jiang X, Song HJ, Lo Re V 3rd, Childs-Kean LM, Lo-Ciganic WH, Cook RL, Nelson DR. (2021). The Impact of Direct-acting Antiviral Therapy on End Stage Liver Disease Among Individuals with Chronic Hepatitis C and Substance Use Disorders. Hepatology. 2021 Feb 5.  PMID: 33544904

Richards VL, Sajdeya R, Villalba K, Wang Y, Bryant V, Brumback B, Bryant K, Hahn JA, Cook RL. (2021). Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial of Naltrexone Among Women Living With HIV: Correlations Between Reductions in Self-Reported Alcohol Use and Changes in Phosphatidylethanol. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2021 Jan;45(1):174-180. PMID: 33190242

Richards VL, Zhou Z, Wang Y, Vaddiparti K, Brumback B, Cook RL. (2021). Impact of Reduction in Drinking vs. complete Cessation on the Severity and Type of Alcohol-Related Problems in Women Living with HIV. Subst Use Misuse. 2021;56(5):704-710. PMID: 33682614.

Roos, C. R., Bold, K. W., Witkiewitz, K., Leeman, R. F., DeMartini, K. S., Fucito, L. M., Corbin, W. R., Mann, K., Kranzler, H. R., & O’Malley, S. S. (in press). Reward drinking and naltrexone treatment response among young adult heavy drinkers. Addiction. PMID: 33620746

Villalba K, Jean-Gilles M, Rosenberg R, Cook RL, Ichite A, Martin P, Dévieux JG. Understanding the Impact of Intimate Partner Violence Type and Timing on Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Knowledge, Acceptability, Sexual Behavior, and Gender Roles Among Women of Color. J Interpers Violence. 2021 Mar 22:8862605211001468. PMID: 33752483

Wang Y, Fridberg DJ, Shortell DD, Leeman RF, Barnett NP, Cook RL, Porges EC. (2021). Wrist-worn alcohol biosensors: Applications and usability in behavioral research. Alcohol. 2021 May;92:25-34. PMID: 33609635

Yau, Y.H.C., Leeman, R.F., & Potenza, M. N. (2021). Biological underpinning of behavioral addictions & management implications.  In N. el-Guebaly, G. Carra, & M. Galanter (Eds.), Textbook of Addiction Treatment, 2nd edition (pp.889-910). Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-36391-8_63


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

Now open for Abstracts and Registration.

The Program committee is excited to announce that Drs. Nora Volkow, Julie Kauer, and Yasmin Hurd will be the Plenary Speakers for INRC 2021. 

The virtual meeting will be held from July 12-14, 2021, from 11 am to 2pm (US EDT, i.e. New York Time). Plenary lectures are 30 min and all other talks will be 15 min (10 min talks with 5 min for questions). Talks will be selected from submitted abstracts. PIs and trainees are welcome to submit abstracts this year. There will also be poster sessions. 

If you’re interested in presenting, please send the following details to

Author list and affiliations: name of presenting author *, and please indicate at what level you are (grad student, postdoc, staff scientist, PI etc).

Title and a brief description (2-3 sentences)

Presenter contact information and presentation preference (oral or poster)

The submission deadline is May 3, 2021 (Monday) at 11:59 PM CDT (Chicago time).

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