Ross University Blog

At RUSM Research Day, Renowned Experts Discuss Developing Medications to Treat Addiction

June 09, 2014

Group: Dr. Vicki Coffin, left, Dr. Wm Lynn Weaver, Dr. Kathryn A. Cunningham, Dr. Peter W. Klivas, Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, and Dr. Stanley White, at Research Day.

Group: Dr. Vicki Coffin, left, Dr. Wm Lynn Weaver, Dr. Kathryn A. Cunningham, Dr. Peter W. Klivas, Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, and Dr. Stanley White, at Research Day.

The timely topic of Developing Medications to Treat Addiction: Challenges for Science and Practice, was the focus of the 51st Research Day at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) on May 23, 2014. Some of the questions addressed by the three renowned guest speakers were: Why is addiction so hard to treat? What are the predictors of who will become addicted to a drug? How can pharmacotherapies be combined for the management of alcoholism?

The presenters were Dr. Peter Kalivas, Distinguished Professor and Founding Chair, Department of Neuroscience, Medical University of South Carolina; Dr. Kathryn Cunningham, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology, University of Texas Medical Branch and Director of Center for Addiction Research; and Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Chief of National Institutes of Health Section on Clinical Neuropsychopharmacology.

“Personalized medicine is quite important; the combined pharmacotherapies for management of alcoholism,” said Leggio. Yet, during a panel discussion among the presenters it was agreed that many physicians do not know that there are medications they can prescribe for patients, and so they don’t even ask questions that would identify alcoholics.

Directed by research committee vice-chair Dr. S.J. White, and organized by Dr. Vicki Coffin, the symposium also featured a poster session by students, based on their research activities. Fourth-semester student Matthew Gardy, and a group of his peers, created a poster on a discovery they made in the anatomy lab. “There was a tumor encapsulating the entire heart,” Gardy explained. “Most of these types of cancer are not known until the autopsy. They are extremely rare.”

The winner of the student poster competition for research conducted at RUSM was, "A Clinical Pathologic Study of the Identification, Diagnosis and Treatment of a Lymphangioma" by Afshan Ahmed, Aparna Reddy, Stephanie Riviere, Selvin Jacob, Ankit Bhandari, Amir Asaseh & Richard Hanley. For research conducted prior to coming to RUSM the winner was, "Separation of Mechanisms in Kidney Podocytes: Mechanical Stretch Sensitivity vs Endogeonously Activation in TRPC6 Calcium Currents" by student Justin Khine, M. Anderson, and S.E. Dryers.

In his closing remarks, RUSM’s Dr. Gerald Grell, dean for clinical and community affairs, said, “We want our students to feel that they are in an institution that encourages research activities.”

Tags: Campus , Research

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