The Central Virginia Center on Drug Abuse Research, funded by a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Core “Center of Excellence” P30 Grant, provides an environment in which investigators can conduct new, significant and innovative basic and clinical research to advance our knowledge of the effects of abused drugs on biological systems.
To achieve this aim, the center provides expertise in four core areas.
1. The Bioanalytical Core Laboratory provides state of the art and innovative bioanalytical expertise for new projects as well as for NIH-sponsored and other researchers studying the mechanism of action of abused substances and addiction. The Bioanalytical Core Laboratory provides reliable, validated mass spectrometric analysis for: (1) the quantification of drugs and their metabolites, endogenous chemicals and other molecules of biological significance, (2) pharmacokinetic analyses including drug disposition, metabolism and clearance, and (3) quality assurance testing to determine the authenticity and/or purity of drugs and determine the amount of active drug in plant material or other dosage forms. The core can perform molecular identification, sample analysis of small and large molecule LC-MS/MS.
Core Director: Dr. Matthew Halquist; LC-MS Manager: Mr. Justin Poklis
Submit a research request to the Bioanalytical Core Laboratory
Note: Priority for the Bioanalytical Core services will be given on a first come, first serve basis. Consideration will be given for grant priority and due dates, sample size, and complexity of analysis.
2. The Mutant Mouse/Viral Vector Core provides expert advice, necessary training, and the infrastructure to utilize molecular biological approaches to create genetically engineered mouse models for new and existing drug abuse research. Specifically, this Core will provide investigators the necessary training, tools, and expertise to: (1) create novel genetically modified mice, (2) maintain mice in a repository for breeding and genotyping, (3) cryogenically preserve mouse lines, (4) develop viral- vectors to over-express, knock-down or deliver dominant negative forms of genes of interest, and (5) deliver viral vectors stereotaxically into specific brain regions of interest and verify the extent of the manipulation.
Core Lead: Dr. Aron Lichtman; Co-Investigator: Dr. Jolene Windle; Co-Investigator: Dr. Michael Miles
Submit a research request to the Mutant Mouse/Viral Vector Core
Note: Prioritization of this request will be decided by the Core Scientific Directors (Lichtman, Windle, Miles) based on a combination of submission date (1st-come/1st-served), feasibility given available resources from the Core and submitter, and intended use (e.g., grant, paper). Special consideration will be given for PIs seeking to create new genetically engineered mice; grant priority and due dates; drug abuse scientists or PIs new to the area of drug abuse who have received minimal or no previous support from the Core; and trainees submitting individual training grants (e.g, F30, F31, F32, K99/R00).
3. The Neuropharmacology Core provides key neurochemical and behavioral methodologies that are fundamental to advancement of preclinical drug abuse research. These methodologies include: (1) assess expression and function of receptors in both tissue homogenates and tissue slices, (2) in vivo microdialysis techniques to assess neurotransmitter levels in target brain areas in awake and behaving animals, and (3) behavioral techniques to assess rewarding/reinforcing effects of drugs under different physiological or environmental conditions.
Core Lead: Dr. S. Stevens Negus; Co-Investigator: Dr. Matthew Banks; Co-Investigator: Dr. Dana Selley; Co-Investigator: Dr. Laura Sim-Selley
Submit a research request to the Neuropharmacology Core
Note: Prioritization of requests for use of the Neuropharmacology Core will be decided by the Core Scientific Directors (Negus, Banks, Selley, Sim-Selley) based on a combination of submission date (1st-come/1st-served), feasibility given available resources from P30 and submitter, and intended use (e.g. grant, paper).
4. The Gastrointestinal Function Core provides the resources and innovative expertise to: (1) evaluate the effects of drugs of abuse on GI function, including in vivo and in vitro assays, and (2) evaluate the role of the microbiome on the central/peripheral effects of drugs of abuse. These resources and techniques, which are not commonly used by drug abuse researchers, will evaluate the gut-brain interaction in studies pertaining to drugs of abuse.
Core Lead: Dr. Hamid Akbarali
Submit a research request to the Gastrointestinal Function Core
Note: Priority for the GI Core services will be given on a first come, first served basis. Consideration will be given for grant priority.