Friends—  Welcome to the 18th issue of the UF CARE Newsletter, the last for this academic year.  Although the newsletter will be "on hiatus", rest assured that addiction-related research and training continues en force, guaranteeing we'll have a plethora of updates in August.  In the meantime we are looking forward to the RSA and CPDD meetings in June and anticipating SfN and ACNP next Fall.  We are also in the early stages of planning an invited lecture honoring UF's rich history of substance use research - in short much to look forward to!  Meanwhile we hope you'll check out the podcasts you might have missed, continue to check out the website, and send our URL to someone in your networks!  Thanks for your support and have a great (i.e. productive) summer!  - SJN 


Dr. Jeff Boissoneault was awarded a 2021 Excellence Award for Assistant Professors.  These awards are nominated by UF academic deans - 10 are awarded out of 20 possible nominees.  Dr. Boissoneault will receive a one-time allocation of $5,000 in support of research. Other UF CARE members who have previously received this award are Dr. Natalie Ebner (2016) and Dr. Weihsuan "Jenny" Lo-Ciganic (2020).  Read More.

UF CARE Affiliates Dr. Shelby Blaes (left - graduated under Dr. Setlow, now training with Dr. Boissoneault) and Dr. Ariana Brice-Tutt (right - mentor: Dr. McLaughlin) walked in the Ph.D. graduation on April 29, 2021.  Congratulations! 

Listen to their UF CARE podcast episodes here: Blaes & Brice-Tutt.

List of Affiliates and Alumni has been updated:

Please let us know about any updates or if you would like to join as an Affiliate (trainee) member use this form: Affiliate Nomination


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Feature Episode 13 Liana Hone 450x304

UF CARE Podcast Episode 13: Dr. Liana Hone, Health Education & Behavior

UF CARE Member Liana S.E. Hone, M.S., M.P.A., Ph.D. joins podcast host Dr. Oliver Grundmann for this our 13th installment of the UF CARE Podcast.  WATCH NOW »

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UF CARE Podcast Affiliate Episode 10: Dr. Shelby Blaes, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology

UF CARE Affiliate Member Shelby Blaes, Ph.D. joins Affiliate podcast host Victor Schneider for this our 10th Affiliate installment of the UF CARE Podcast.  LISTEN NOW »


SHARC Translational Research Seminar: SC6935/PHC6937 (All are welcome to attend)

Instructors: Dr. Robert Leeman & Guest Lecturers

Summer A 2021: Thursdays, Class Period 3
(11:00am - 12:15pm*)

Join via Zoom - Meeting ID: 987 4848 4676   l   Passcode: 913088

This Seminar is associated with a T32 Grant: Translational Science Training to Reduce the Impact of HIV on Alcohol Infection. Topics will include alcohol's effects on the brain and cognition, prevention research, longitudinal studies, and e- and m-health-based interventions.


Psychiatry Research Seminar - 12 PM, May 21

“Understanding the Self-Control Mechanism in the Context of Smoking Cessation”

Bachir Kassas, Ph.D. (UF CARE Member)

Assistant Professor, Food and Resource Economics Department (IFAS)

Join via Zoom - Meeting ID: 987 4848 4676   l   Passcode: 913088

View Flyer Here



Dr. Liana S. E. Hone presented an invited talk in April 2021: "Alcohol-related sexual aggression in college and social psychology in NIAAA research." Department of Psychology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA. Read More.

Dr. Erica Levitt organized the session "Understanding and Countering Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression" at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2021 virtual meeting. Dr. Levitt presented "Pontine Mechanisms of Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression" and UF CARE Affiliate Sandy Saunders presented "Inspiratory and Phase-Spanning Dorsolateral Pontine Neurons Are Silent During Fentanyl-Induced Apnea."

Read More.

Dr. Nichole Scaglione (chair), Kan, M., Morgan, J. K., & Tharp, A. (2021, June). "Moving toward a solution for tailored sexual assault prevention: An example in the US military." Symposium accepted for the Society for Prevention Research annual meeting, Virtual Conference. 

UF CARE Affiliate Amy Alleyne (Mentor: Dr. Jay McLaughlin) won best student abstract for the North Central Florida SfN meeting, best graduate presentation in the UF Graduate Diversity Day in April, and best oral graduate presentation for the UF Drug Discovery Symposium (April 22-23 - Title: "Peripherally restricted kappa agonists demonstrate long-lasting antinociception with decreased liabilities in models of acute and chronic pain" Read More. )

UF CARE Affiliate Ariana Brice-Tutt (Mentor: Dr. Jay McLaughlin) won for best graduate poster (pain and addiction category) for the COP Research Symposium in April (Title: "Development of a kappa opioid receptor antagonist to treat opioid use disorder" Read More.)

UF CARE Affiliate Yuma Ortiz (Mentor: Dr. Jenny Wilkerson) won second place (graduate students in EB 2021 Poster Awardees from the Division for Drug Discovery and Development) for his poster “Evaluation of the Terpenes β-caryophyllene, α-terpineol, and γ-terpinene in the Mouse Chronic Constriction Injury Model of Neuropathic Pain: Possible Cannabinoid Receptor Involvement” at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) annual meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) 2021.  Read More.

UF CARE Affiliate Lisa Wilson (Mentor: Dr. Jay McLaughlin) placed in the graduate oral presentation for the COP Research Symposium in April.  She also won a best graduate poster award for the UF Drug Discovery Symposium (April 22-23). Title: "Kratom alkaloid extract, mitragynine, and mitragynine pseudoindoxyl as treatment for pain and OUD" in the category Natural products-based drug discovery and pharmacology. Read More.


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!


Nikhil Urs, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics

"The goal of the Urs Lab is to study the role of genetic and environmental factors on dopamine neurotransmission and to learn more about the dopamine system by deciphering, a) signaling pathways involved in DA neurotransmission, b) functional dopamine neuronal circuits, and c) how these integrate and manifest behaviorally in an organism (mouse). Using these integrated approaches—in parallel—will allow us to fine-tune dopamine neurotransmission and devise novel drug- and gene-based therapeutic approaches to treat dopamine-related disorders such as PD and schizophrenia." (Faculty Profile)


The Sexual Assault & Substance Abuse Prevention Research (SAPR) Lab - Postdoctoral Position

The Sexual Assault & Substance Abuse Prevention Research (SAPR) Lab, based in the College of Health & Human Performance at the University of Florida, is accepting applications for a postdoctoral fellowship to begin in Summer/Fall 2021 (exact start date negotiable). Our research spans the continuum of prevention science from etiological work to intervention development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination. Our etiological work on risk and protective factors is grounded in event-level behavioral decision making and used to inform interventions to reduce sexual violence and/or substance use in high school, college, military, and community populations. The initial appointment is for one year with the possibility for renewal for up to three years. Competitive salary and benefits, as well as funds for relocation, career development, and pilot studies initiated by the fellow are provided. Interested candidates should submit their CV and a cover letter describing their research experience and research interests to Dr. Nichole Scaglione (

More information can be found here.


Brown School of Public Health - Postdoctoral Research Associate in Childhood and Adolescent Obesity

Dr. Alison Field, Professor of Epidemiology, and her team are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate (100% FTE for at least 2 years) interested in investigating the causes and consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity. Start Date: September 1, 2021. See the recruitment letter and advertisement for more details or Apply Online

Recruitment Letter & Advertisement



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

Chear NJ, León F, Sharma A, Kanumuri SRR, Zwolinski G, Abboud KA, Singh D, Restrepo LF, Patel A, Hiranita T, Ramanathan S, Hampson AJ, McMahon LR, McCurdy CR. Exploring the Chemistry of Alkaloids from Malaysian Mitragyna speciosa (Kratom) and the Role of Oxindoles on Human Opioid Receptors. J Nat Prod. 2021 Apr 23;84(4):1034-1043. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.0c01055. Epub 2021 Feb 26. PMID: 33635670

Cirino TJ, McLaughlin JP: Mini review: Promotion of substance abuse in HIV patients: Biological mediation by HIV-1 Tat protein. Neuroscience Letters (special issue: “NeuroAIDS: CNS function and dysfunction when HIV is a chronic disease;” Pam Knapp, editor), 2021 Apr 7; PMID: 33838257

Kamble SH, Berthold EC, King TI, Raju Kanumuri SR, Popa R, Herting JR, León F, Sharma A, McMahon LR, Avery BA, McCurdy CR. Pharmacokinetics of Eleven Kratom Alkaloids Following an Oral Dose of Either Traditional or Commercial Kratom Products in Rats. J Nat Prod. 2021 Apr 23;84(4):1104-1112. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.0c01163. Epub 2021 Feb 23. PMID: 33620222

Kandasamy R, Hillhouse TM, Livingston KE, Kochen KE, Meurice C, Eans SO, Li M-H, White A, Roques BP, McLaughlin JP, Ingram SL, Burford NT, Alt A, Traynor JR: Positive allosteric modulation of the mu-opioid receptor produces analgesia with reduced side-effects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 2021 Apr 20; 118(16): e2000017118. PMID: 33846240

Maxwell EA, King TI, Kamble SH, Raju KSR, Berthold EC, León F, Hampson A, McMahon LR, McCurdy CR, Sharma A. Oral Pharmacokinetics in Beagle Dogs of the Mitragynine Metabolite, 7-Hydroxymitragynine. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2021 May;46(3):459-463. doi: 10.1007/s13318-021-00684-2. Epub 2021 Apr 13. PMID: 33847897 

Midroit M, Chalençon L, Renier N, Milton A, Thevenet M, Sacquet J, Breton M, Forest J, Noury N, Richard M, Raineteau O, Ferdenzi C, Fournel A, Wesson DW, Bensafi M, Didier A, Mandairon N. Neural processing of the reward value of pleasant odorants. Curr Biol. 2021 Apr 26;31(8):1592-1605.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.01.066. Epub 2021 Feb 18. PMID: 33607032 *featured with a Correspondence article

Obeng S, Hiranita T, León F, McMahon LR, McCurdy CR. Novel Approaches, Drug Candidates, and Targets in Pain Drug Discovery. J Med Chem. 2021 May 6. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c00028. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33956427

Paris JJ, Chen X, Anderson J, Qrareya AN, Mahdi F, Du F, McLaughlin JP, Kaufman MJ: In vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy detection of metabolite abnormalities in aged Tat-transgenic mouse brain. Geroscience, 2021 Apr 5; PMID: 33818687

Ramirez JM, Burgraff NJ, Wei AD, Baertsch NA, Varga AG, Baghdoyan HA, Lydic R, Morris KF, Bolser DC, Levitt ES. Neuronal mechanisms underlying opioid-induced respiratory depression: our current understanding. J Neurophysiol. 2021 May 1;125(5):1899-1919. doi: 10.1152/jn.00017.2021. Epub 2021 Apr 7. PMID: 33826874

Rung JM, Horta M, Tammi EM, Perez E, Ojeda MC, Lin T, Harris G, Somerville J, Salmeron D, Beltz SE, Sandesara B, Feifel D, Ebner NC. Safety and tolerability of chronic intranasal oxytocin in older men: results from a randomized controlled trial. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2021 May 12:1–14. doi: 10.1007/s00213-021-05862-3. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33982141; PMCID: PMC8115997

Scaglione NM, Buben A, Williams J, Cance JD, Elek E, Clarke T, Graham PW. A Latent Class Analysis of Prevention Approaches Used to Reduce Community-Level Prescription Drug Misuse in Adolescents and Young Adults. J Prim Prev. 2021 Apr 3. doi: 10.1007/s10935-021-00631-6. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33811569

Scaglione NM, Turrisi R, Sell NM, Mallett KA, Cleveland MJ. An Ecological Momentary Assessment of College Women's Decisions to Use Protective Behavioral Strategies. J Interpers Violence. 2021 Apr 7:8862605211005143. doi: 10.1177/08862605211005143. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33823710

Wilkerson JL, Felix JS, Bilbrey JA, McCurdy CR, McMahon LR. Characterization of a mouse neuropathic pain model caused by the highly active antiviral therapy (HAART) Stavudine. Pharmacol Rep. 2021 Apr 16. doi: 10.1007/s43440-021-00262-y. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33860918


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


Now open for Registration - Just $20 for cutting-edge opioid and drug abuse research!

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