Clinical Research Grants Branch (CRGB)

What We Do:

The CRGB plans and supports extramural research grants to test medications for the treatment of drug abuse and dependence disorders in several key areas: controlled compound assessment clinical pharmacology studies, controlled clinical trials for new treatment agents or new indications for marketed medications and clinical studies of the pharmacological effects and interactions among experimental addiction medications and medications for associated medical conditions and psychotherapeutic agents. The Branch also supports experimental pharmacotherapy studies to enhance the efficacy of approved marketed medications, and experimental pharmacotherapy studies of psychotropic or other medications used in the treatment of mental disorders in drug dependent individuals including drug-induced or drug-related mental disorders. CRGB staff members provide technical assistance to grantees, contractors, and applicants. The CRGB provides guidance is given to investigators and manages the administrative aspects of DTMC's research and development contract portfolio.

Staff Biographies and Research Interests:

  • Will M. Aklin, Ph.D., - Branch Chief
    Lead, develop, and execute all parameters of the Clinical Research Grants branch. Director, Behavioral Therapy Development Program, including Stage I (treatment generation, refinement), II (efficacy) and III (efficacy in real-world settings) treatment research. Areas of research include development of theory-derived targeted treatments; behavioral/pharmacological treatment, and clinical validation of digital therapeutic and device-based treatments for substance use disorders. Received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland—College Park. Joined NIDA in 2008.
  • Katrina Foster, Ph.D. - Health Science Administrator
    Trained as a behavioral neuroscientist focused on identifying the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the positive reinforcing and neurobehavioral properties associated with ethanol. Subsequently, spent 10 years at NIH/NIAAA serving as an Scientific Review Officer.  For the past 2 and ½ years, served as the Scientific Portfolio Manager at the Department of Veterans Affairs, managing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health portfolios for the Clinical Service Research Division and the Biomedical Laboratory Research Division. Currently, serves as the Program Officer for grants and cooperative agreements in the areas of cocaine and methamphetamine treatment research.  Joined DTMC in 2018
  • Aidan Hampson, Ph.D., - Health Science Administrator
    Program Official and Scientific Officer for clinical trial grants evaluating new therapies for Opiate, Methamphetamine and Cannabis use disorders. Interested in improving tools available to clinical trial researchers. Previously was Scientific Review Officer for SBIR/STTR awards. Prior to that spent eight years in industrial preclinical drug development, six years as an academic cannabinoid researcher and four years in pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism and distribution. Joined NIDA in 2011.
  • Evan Herrmann, Ph.D., - Health Scientist Administrator
    A behavioral pharmacologist with advanced training in experimental therapeutics research on Substance Use Disorders, including laboratory human drug administration and clinical outpatient studies testing pharmacological and behavioral treatments. Program Officer for nicotine and tobacco-related clinical research studies. Scientific interests include tobacco cessation, addiction medications development, innovation in experimental design and clinical research methodology, and use of remote data collection methods in outpatient treatment research. He completed his PhD at the University of Vermont and postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins and Columbia. Joined NIDA DTMC in 2020.
  • Carmela M. Reichel, Ph.D.  - Health Science Administrator
    Trained in Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, her laboratory studied the intersection between cognitive and motivated behaviors relating to drug taking and seeking. She served as Principal Investigator of several health-related research projects focusing on changes in cognitive processes resulting from methamphetamine use disorders; stress and sex interactions on heroin taking and seeking; age and sex related issues of THC/CBD use, abuse, relapse, and cognitive function; and the neurobiology of addiction research. She transitioned to NIH after 15 years in academia. Joined NIDA in 2024.
  • Jia Bei Wang, MD, Ph.D. - Health Science Administrator
    Program Official and Scientific Officer for clinical research grants focusing on treatments of Substance use disorders (SUD), including pharmacological, behavioral, device-based, and integrative interventions. Her areas of expertise are Pharmacology, translational research, and therapeutic development. Previous experience as a professor at the School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland, consists of the studies of opioid receptors and other drug targets related to SUD, preclinical translational research, and clinical trials.  Dr. Wang received her MD from Tongji Medical University, Ph.D. from the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the School of Medicine, University of Maryland, and postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins/NIDA intramural research program. She joined NIDA in 2022.
  • Tatiana (Tanya) Ramey, M.D., Ph.D. - Medical Officer
    A psychiatrist and a physician-scientist coming to NIDA after 15-year career in the pharmaceutical industry at Eli Lilly and Pfizer. Before joining NIDA in 2014, she was an executive director and psychiatry leader at Pfizer’s neuroscience research unit (NSRU) in Cambridge, MA.  Dr. Ramey received her U.S. training in psychiatry at Vanderbilt University. She was also an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry (MSUMD). Her PhD is in psychiatric genetics. Her areas of expertise are addictions, depression, anxiety disorders, cognition  and psychoses. She has an extensive experience in all phases of drug development. At NIDA she provides medical and safety monitoring for clinical trials, design and development of clinical trials, scientific reviews,  and is involved in other pertinent aspects of drug development.