This Month--

What’s Inside??  We are so very proud that even in the midst of COVID-19, our faculty and trainees continue making substantive contributions across the spectrum of addiction science. Inside you’ll find examples of our faculty and trainee career successes, our scientific productivity, and recent growth opportunities afforded by NIDA funding supporting innovative drug surveillance and community engagement methods. You’ll also find links to our podcast series where we’ll be highlighting recent graduates of our diverse training programs as well as links to our continuing seminar series.   SO, please have a look- AND if you know of an event, success, or opportunity related to addiction research/training let us know (! All the Best and Stay Safe.  -- SJN


University of Florida Named Coordinating Center for National Drug Abuse Surveillance System

UF will lead nationwide efforts to identify emerging drug abuse trends as the coordinating center for the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS). The surveillance network is critical for monitoring the ongoing opioid crisis and identifying new public health threats, such as the rise in new psychoactive substances.




Ben Berey Podcast Feature Affiliate Episode 1

UF CARE Podcast: Affiliate Episode 1, Benjamin Berey, Department of Health Education & Behavior

  This month we begin to feature past and present UF CARE Affiliate Members.  Our Affiliate host Victor Schneider is joined by Benjamin Berey.  At time of recording Dr. Berey was a graduate student in the Department of Health Education & Behavior.  He has now successfully defended his dissertation and has accepted a T32 post-doctoral fellowship offer from the Center …



Upcoming July Seminar:

Karen Szumlinski

Seminar 3:00 PM, July 22: Karen Szumlinski, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

3:00 PM, Wednesday, July 22, 2020 via Zoom: Zoom Meeting:  Read more about Dr. Szumlinki's work here.



Recently Recorded Seminars Available to Watch Online:

Robert Dvorak July 8 2020 Seminar
Seminar Joy Gabrielli


Robert Cook, M.D., MPH

Professor of Epidemiology, Professor of Medicine

College of Public Health and Health Professions, College of Medicine

Director, Southern HIV & Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC)


Dr. Amanda M. Dossat, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor

Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics 

College of Medicine



Grants Funded:

Dr. Marek Schwendt (PI) and Dr. Lori Knackstedt (Co-I) received new funding from NIDA: “A novel model of oxycodone seeking that considers sex and stress susceptibility.” This project examines whether stress-susceptibility confers increased risk for oxycodone demand and seeking.

Dr. Robert Cook:  The Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research, funded by the state of Florida and based at UF, involves nine public and private universities in Florida.  The consortium was recently renewed for another year, July 2020- June 2021.  We are providing over $600k in grant funding per year to researchers across the state.  Later in 2020, we will be seeking to initiate a new cohort of persons using medical marijuana in Florida. 

Dr. Robert Cook: Co-investigator on a new R01 from the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “Forcasting trajectories of HIV transmission networks with a novel phylodynamic and dep learning framework”, led by PIs Marco Salemi and Mattia Prosperi.  We will be gathering input from the community about how we can practically use public health data indicating HIV risk to intervene in real people and populations. 

Conference Symposia / Speaking Engagements:

In August, 2020, Dr. Robert Cook and Dr. Christa Cook will be giving an online presentation to the Area 3/13 Ryan White HIV Consortium (includes 9 counties in North Central Florida), to discuss current research opportunities related to HIV and substance use. 

Dr. Lori Knackstedt: June 24 @ 12 pm – Symposia: “Advancing Polysubstance Research with Translational Approaches”. (Virtual) Annual Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.

UF CARE Affiliate Member & Trainee News:

Shelby Blaes (B. Setlow, mentor) defended her dissertation on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

Ariana Brice-Tutt (J. McLaughlin, mentor) was awarded an AFPE fellowship to support her graduate thesis work (6-7-2020)

Thomas Cirino (PhD, Pharmacodynamics, March 2020, J. McLaughlin, mentor) started his post-doc with Dr. Elyssa Margolis at UCSF on July 1st.

Yiyang Liu (L.B. Cottler, mentor) graduated with her PhD in Epidemiology in May 2020.

Other News:

The SHARC Professional Development Program and associated working groups will be starting up again in the fall semester!  Check out all things SHARC at  People can also sign up for the “Medacamints” newsletter for the Medical Marijuana Consortium at

The SHARC T32 training program in alcohol and HIV will have 3 or 4 new pre-docs and 1 new post-doc starting in fall 2020!   Trainees will be announced in our next newsletter.



(UF CARE Members and Affiliate Members in Bold)

Algarin AB, Sheehan DM, Varas-Diaz N, Fennie K, Zhou Z, Spencer EC, Cook CL, Cook RL, Ibañez GE.  Enacted HIV-related stigma's association with anxiety & depression among people living with HIV (PLWH) in Florida.AIDS Behav. 2020 Jun 20. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32564164.

Bechard AR, Logan CN, Mesa J, Hernandez YP, Blount H, Hodges VL, Knackstedt, L (2020).  Role of prefrontal cortex projections to the nucleus accumbens core in mediating the effects of ceftriaxone on cued cocaine seeking. Addiction BiologyOnline ahead of print. PMID: 32558119

Brice-Tutt AC, Wilson LL, Eans SO, Stacy HM, Simons CA, Simpson GG, Coleman JS, Ferracane MJ, Aldrich JV, McLaughlin JPMultifunctional opioid receptor agonism and antagonism by a novel macrocyclic tetrapeptide prevents reinstatement of morphine-seeking behavior. In press, British Journal of Pharmacology 2020 Jun 19. doi: 10.1111/bph.15165. PMID:32562259.

Canidate S, Cook C, Varma D, Carnaby G, Ennis N, Stetten N, Cook RL.  Recruitment, experience, and retention among women with HIV and hazardous drinking enrolled in the WHAT-IF? study. Accepted, BMC Public Health 2020. 

Domenico, L., DeRemer, C., Nichols, K., Campbell, C., Moreau, J.R., Childs, G.S., & Merlo, L.J.(in press). Combatting The Epidemic Of E-cigarette Use And Vaping Among Students And Transitional-Age Youth. Current Psychopharmacology. [Invited article].

Dyer TV, Turpin RE, Stall R, Khan MR, Nelson L, Brewer R, Friedman MR, Mimiaga M, Cook RL, O’Cleirigh C, Mayer K.  Latent profile analysis of a syndemic of vulnerability factors on incident STI in a cohort of black men who have sex with men only (BMSMO) and black men who have sex with men and women (BMSMW) in the HPTN061 study.  Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2020 Jun 2.  Online ahead of print.  PMID: 32496390. 

Elliott ALLiu Y, Egan KL, Striley CW, Cottler LBExposure to Medicines in the Family Medicine Cabinet: Is It a Harbinger of Later Opioid Dependence? [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 12]. Subst Use Misuse. 2020;1-7. doi:10.1080/10826084.2020.1756856

Gadziola, M.A.*, Stetzik, L.A.*, Wright, K.N., Milton, A.J., Arakawa, K., Salcedo, M.C., Wesson, D.W.A neural system that represents the association of odors with rewarded outcomes and promotes behavioral engagement. In Press. Cell Reports. * = co-first authors.

Garcia, C. C., Lewis, B., Boissoneault, J., & Nixon, S. J. (2020). Effects of age and acute moderate alcohol consumption on electrophysiological indices of attention. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 81(3), 372-383.

Gordon, E.L., Lent, M.L., & Merlo, L.J. (2020). The Effect of Food Composition and Behavior on Neurobiological Response to Food: a Review of Recent Research. Current Nutrition Reports. E-pub ahead of print. [Invited article].

Hámor PU, Edelmann MJ, Gobin C, Schwendt MLong-term changes in the central amygdala proteome in rats with a history of chronic cocaine self-administration. Neuroscience. Online ahead of print. 2020. PMID: 32540363

Hámor PU, Gobin C, Schwendt MThe role of glutamate mGlu5 and adenosine A2a receptor interactions in regulating working memory performance and persistent cocaine seeking in rats. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. Online ahead of print. 2020. PMID: 32470496

Intagliata S, Sharma A, King TI, Mesangeau C, Seminerio M, Chin FT, Wilson LL, Matsumoto RR, McLaughlin JP,Avery BA, McCurdy CM: Discovery of a highly selective sigma-2 receptor ligand, 1-(4-(6,7-dimethoxy-3,4-dihydroisoquinolin-2(1H)-yl)butyl)-3-methyl-1H-benzo[d]imidazole-2(3H)-one (CM398), with drug-like properties and antinociceptive effects in vivo. In press, AAPS Journal, AAPSJ-D-20-0059R1; 6/16/2020

Jake-Schoffman, D. E., Berry, M. S., Donahue, M. L., Christou, D. D., Dallery, J., & Rung, J. M. (2020). Aerobic Exercise Interventions for Patients in Opioid Maintenance Treatment: A Systematic Review. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment.

Johnson ME, Cottler LBOptimism and opioid misuse among justice-involved children. Addict Behav. 2020;103:106226. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106226

Lewis, B., Merlo, L.J.,Greene, W.M., Welch, E. & Nixon, S.J. (2020). Randomized trial to assess safety/feasibility of memantine administration during residential treatment for alcohol use disorder: A pilot study. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 38, 91-99.

Liu Y, Cheong J, Vaddiparti K, Cottler LBThe association between quantity, frequency and duration of cocaine use during the heaviest use period and DSM-5 cocaine use disorder [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 11]. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020;213:108114. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108114

Mannes ZL, Ferguson EG, Perlstein WM, Waxenberg LB, Cottler LB, Ennis N. Negative health consequences of pain catastrophizing among retired National Football League athletes. Health Psychol. 2020;39(5):452-462. doi:10.1037/hea0000847

Milani SA, Lloyd SL, Serdarevic M, Cottler LB, Striley CWGender differences in diversion among non-medical users of prescription opioids and sedatives. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2020;46(3):340-347. doi:10.1080/00952990.2019.1708086

Osborne V, Striley CW, Nixon SJ, Winterstein AG, Cottler LBSex differences in peer and parental risk factors for non-medical use of prescription opioids in youth. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2020;46(2):203-215. doi:10.1080/00952990.2019.1671436

Otufowora ALiu Y, Young H, II, Egan, K.L., Varma, D.S., Striley, C.W., Cottler, L.B.Sex Differences in Willingness to Participate in Research Based on Study Risk Level Among a Community Sample of African Americans in North Central Florida [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 23]. J Immigr Minor Health. 2020;10.1007/s10903-020-01015-4. doi:10.1007/s10903-020-01015-4

Polles, A.G., Williams, M.K., Phalin, B.R., Teitelbaum, S., & Merlo, L.J. (2020). Neuropsychological impairment associated with substance use by physicians. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 411. E-pub ahead of print. [Invited article]

Sevel, L., Stennett, B., Schneider, V., Bush, N., Nixon, S. J., Robinson, M., Boissoneault, J. (2020). Acute Alcohol Intake Produces Widespread Decreases in Cortical Resting Signal Variability in Healthy Social Drinkers. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 44(7), 1410-1419.

Smaga I, Fierro D, Mesa J, Filip M, Knackstedt LA. (2020).Molecular changes evoked by the beta-lactam antibiotic ceftriaxone across rodent models of substance use disorder and neurological disease.Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32485268 

Salloum R. G., Lee, J., Lee, J-H., Boeckmann, M., Xing, C., & Warren, G. W. (2020). Smoking-cessation methods and outcomes among cancer survivors. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In press. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.03.016

Strauss M, O’Donovan B, Ma Y, Xiao Z, Lin S, Bardo MT, Ortinski PI, McLaughlin JP, Zhu J: [3H]Dopamine uptake through the dopamine and norepinephrine transporters is decreased in the prefrontal cortex of transgenic mice expressing HIV-1 Tat protein. In press, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2020 May. doi: 10.1124/jpet.120.266023. PMID:32461322.

Williams, M.K., Greene, W.M., Leitner, S., & Merlo, L.J. (2020). Medical student spirituality and substance use. Journal of Addiction Medicine. [E-pub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000686 

Williams R, Cook RL, Brumback B, Cook C, Ezenwa M, Spencer E, Lucero R.  The relationship between individual characteristics and HIV-related stigma in adults living with HIV: medical monitoring project, Florida, 2015- 2016.  BMC Public Health 2020 May 19;20(1):723