Office of Research Training, Diversity, and Disparities Newsletter, July/August 2022

What’s New at NIDA

Attention all New and At-Risk Investigators!

We are excited to share a new and groundbreaking funding opportunity, the “NIDA, NIMH, and NINDS Research Opportunities for New and "At-Risk" Investigators to Promote Workforce Diversity (R01 Clinical Trial Optional.” This program is intended to support New and At-Risk Investigators from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in the health-related sciences proposing research within the mission of the participating NIH Institutes. See the FOA, PAR-22-181 and FAQs page to learn more about eligibility, the required Institutional Eligibility Letter, and other important aspects of this new opportunity. NIDA intends to commit up to $5 million per fiscal year. Contact Dr. Albert Avila ( if you have any questions

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Free Imaging Workshop

The University of Washington Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction, Pain, and Emotion (NAPE) will host a free imaging workshop focusing on deep-brain single- and multi-photon function imaging this fall (October 3-7, 2022). This workshop will instruct attendees on the entire pipeline for deep-brain calcium imaging experimentation focusing on calcium imaging study design, behavioral setup and integration with imaging, viral and genetic tools, virus injection and surgery, imaging acquisition with 1- and 2-photon microscopy, data analysis, and more. The deadline to register is August 15, 2022.

For more information and to register, please visit the website or e-mail NAPE Program Manager Dr. Lusine Gomtsian at

NIDA Loan Repayment Program – Applications due November 17th, 2022

NIDAs Loan Repayment Program (LRP) is accepting applications between September 1st – November 17th. NIDA will repay qualified educational debt up to $50,000 per year during a 2-year period. An applicant must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., have a doctoral-level degree (e.g., M.D., Ph.D., Pharm.D., Psy.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., D.C., N.D., O.D., D.V.M.), and have educational debt equal to at least 20% of base salary. Eligible applicants engage 50% effort researching in one of the following areas:

  • Clinical – Patient-oriented research conducted with human subjects including epidemiological, outcomes, and health services research.
  • Pediatric – research that is directly related to diseases, disorders, and other conditions in children, including studies related to substance use and abuse in children and adolescents.
  • Health Disparities Research – research that addresses health disparities among underrepresented populations and supports health equality research across the life span that considers the impact of age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status on substance use and addiction. 
  • LRP REACH – NIDA will be accepting LRP REACH applications for each of the following categories:
    • Forensic Pathologists and Medical Examiners working in the field of drug overdose
    • Addiction scientists working in drug development
    • Data Scientists/Computational Neuroscientists focusing on addiction

If you plan to apply to the LRP, or have eligibility questions, please contact Dr. Lindsey Friend (

Diversity Supplement Program

The NIDA Diversity Supplement Program has some exciting news! Over 20 NIH Institutes and Centers will host the ‘NIH Diversity Supplement Professional Development and Networking Workshop’ that will take place virtually on Tuesday August 30, 2022 – Wednesday August 31, 2022, from 11:00am-5pm ET. This workshop will bring together diversity supplement scholars from over 20 NIH Institutes and Centers for a two-day Diversity Supplement Professional Development and Networking Workshop. The purpose of this workshop is to provide opportunities for scholars to meet NIH Program Staff, demystify the NIH grant and review process, and provide an overview of relevant funding mechanisms. In addition, scholars will have the opportunity to present their research and gain feedback at a poster session, network with other scholars, hear from past diversity supplement scholars about how they secured independent grant support and transitioned to the next career stage, as well as scientists who pursued careers in areas such as technology and industry.

Also, more support (funding) will be available for NIDA Diversity Supplement Recipients! Effective FY 2023 the salary support for early-career investigators will be $85,000/year! Moreover, research and travel support for all four career stages (post-baccalaureates, pre-doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and early-career investigators will increase to be in line with other institutes. For more information see how to apply and frequently asked questions.

Career Development Spotlight: Marisela Morales, Ph.D.

Marisela Morales

Dr. Marisela Morales is a senior investigator at NIDA IRP. Prior to coming to NIDA IRP, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.  Dr. Morales received her M.S. and Ph.D. in biochemistry and cell biology at Universidad de Guanajuato Institute of Experimental Biology.  At NIDA IRP, Dr. Morales’ research focuses on molecules, cells, and neuronal pathways central to the neurobiology of drug addiction.  Through her research, her laboratory has found evidence indicating synaptic connectivity between the reward and the stress systems at the level of the VTA.  In 2004 Dr. Morales received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers.  We are so proud that Dr. Morales career journey has brought her to NIDA IRP.  I had the opportunity to ask her some questions in hopes to inspire our research community that no matter what background you come from with some patience and hard work you can achieve your goals.  Below are a few questions I asked.

  • At what point in your life did you know you wanted to become a scientist? What drew you to the STEM field and particularly substance use/addiction research? 
    After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and microbiology, I worked in several research projects as a technician, and at that time, I decided to become a scientist. During high school, I developed a strong interest in the field of Biology inspirated by dedicated teachers. As a junior independent investigator in Mexico, I decided to switch fields, and moved to USA to start training in Neuroscience as a postdoctoral fellow. I became interested in the field of drug addiction when I was a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in la Jolla, under the mentoring of Dr. Floyd Bloom. At TSRI, I was awarded a NIH minority fellowship sponsored by the Alcohol Research Center (ARC), which allowed me to have an active participation at ARC and exposure to discussions on theories of mechanisms underlying drug addiction.
  • Were there any events or individuals who inspired you throughout your professional journey? 
    As a trainee at TSRI, I read the paper entitled “Cellular and molecular mechanisms of drug dependence” by Drs. Bloom and George Koob (both members of the ARC), this paper was published in Science in 1988, and became very influential in my thinking. I began to develop the hypothesis of the existence of different types of neurons within the reward system that by molecular changes and different synaptic interactions would mediate different aspects of behaviors associated with the use of addictive drugs. A hypothesis that I have been testing for more than 20 years at NIDA-IRP as an independent scientist.
  • What advice would you give to Early-Stage Investigators (ESIs) and/or scholars at earlier career stages who working towards the goal of being independently funded? 
    My advice is based on obtaining funding before becoming an investigator at NIDA and by serving for many years at NIH study sections. I think that is important to formulate a project built on your strengths and give room for intellectual growth (formulating evolving questions). In my view, it is helpful to develop a project around the scientific questions that you feel passion about, but at the same time to be practical (i.e., likelihood of obtaining funding). During the formulation of a project, it is important to reach out to colleagues who are experts in areas in which you do not have the expertise, and to assemble a strong group of collaborators (experts in the field). I encourage junior investigators to share their grant applications with colleagues and career mentors to get valuable feedback.  
  • What was the best and worst career advice you have received during your journey of becoming a scientist? 
    My best career advice was to fight for the recognition of my scientific contributions and the worst advice was to resign to become an independent scientist.
  • What has been the most challenging obstacle you have had to face throughout your journey to becoming a scientist and what have you done to push through? 
    The most challenging obstacle has been the attitude of some individuals in minimizing (or ignoring) the scientific contributions of our research group. To overcome this obstacle, I had written reviews, organized scientific panels, actively participated in scientific conferences, and gave talks in neuroscience departments at universities.
  • Is there anything else that you would like to share with the NIDA community about your inspiring journey? 
    While it is well recognized that individuals from underrepresented groups face specific challenges in science, in my experience, it is essential that we continue changing the culture around us. It is essential to continue mentoring more underrepresented individuals and advocate for them. For instance, the diversity of speakers in conferences has been changing due the commitment of conference and panel organizers. This is one example on how we are changing the culture, but I recognize that there is still a lot work that has to been done to foster equity and reach diversity and inclusion.

ORTDD is proud to share some information from Dr. James Swain, Stony Brook University, regarding two interns, Sarah Soliman and Mikaela Rollins, from last year, who contributed to a commentary paper entitled, Compassion within conflict: Toward a computational theory of social groups informed by maternal brain physiology.  The interns assisted Dr. Swain with editing, communication between co-authors, discussions, and research.  Here is an overview of the article:  Benevolent intersubjectivity developed in parent-infant interactions and compassion toward friend and foe alike are non-violent interventions to group behavior in conflict. Based on a dyadic active inference framework rooted in specific parental brain mechanisms, we suggest that interventions promoting compassion and intersubjectivity can reduce stress, and that compassionate mediation may resolve conflicts.

NIDA Diversity Scholars Travel Award Program (deadline August 12th

In person conferences have started back up!  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Office of Diversity and Health Disparities (ODHD) travel award program has been on a two-year pandemic hiatus but, with the resumption of in-person national meetings, has begun accepting applications for the NIDA Diversity Scholars Travel Award Program to help defray the costs of attending national scientific conferences. We have awarded travel awards for the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD); the American Psychological Association (APA) and National Hispanic Science Network International Conference (NHSN) conferences and would like to congratulate those awardees. But there is still time to apply for a 2022 Travel Award to the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Meeting. Please see the application for more information and consider sharing with anyone who may be interested. Scientists from underrepresented backgrounds are encouraged to apply, though individuals from all backgrounds are eligible to participate.

Apply for a travel award to any of the below scientific conferences:

  • The Annual Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Meeting on November 12th – 16th, 2022 in San Diego, CA. – Deadline to apply: August 12th, 2022.

Please reach out to Julie Huffman ( if you have any questions.

Summer Seminar Series

This is the second year that NIDA’s Office of Diversity and Health Disparities (ODHD) led a NIDA Summer Research Internship Program Seminar Series for this year’s interns. Over six weeks, Drs. Evan Herrmann, Albert Avila, and Isabela Lopes coordinated seminars featuring NIDA Program Officers and other guest speakers covering a variety of research topics. Curious about what was presented?

  • Evan Hermann and Minnjuan Flournoy Floy - “Natural History and Epidemiology of SUDs
  • Evan Hermann and Sunila Nair - “Behavioral Pharmacology and Neurobiology of SUDs”
  • Evan Hermann and Katrina Foster – “Experimental Therapeutics in SUD Treatment Development”
  • Albert Avila and Ms. Isabela Lopes – “Using the NIH RePORTER Tool Identify NIH-Funded Graduate Programs and Research Labs”

The final seminar which took place July 20 included a Q&A panel discussion on career paths with NIDA.  The panel were:  Nicholas Correia – Senior Research Assistant at Brown University, ’21 NIDA Summer Intern who is now supervising an intern at Brown University, Lester Rodriguez – Post-baccalaureate Fellow at the NIDA Intramural Research Program, ’19 NIDA Summer Intern, Cynthia Ortiz – NIDA Diversity Supplement Scholar, Monica Faulkner – Postdoc Fellow at the NIDA IRP, John Fedota – NIDA Program Officer.

NIDA Summer Research Internship Program Project Showcase

On August 3rd and 4th, 55 interns presented their internship experiences during the “NIDA Summer Research Internship Program Project Showcase” via zoom! Below is the list of presenters with their mentors and title of their presentations.

NamePrincipal InvestigatorTitle of Presentation
Fatema AlamTamara Sussaman, Ph.D.Adverse Childhood Experiences, Cognitive Control and Substance Use Risk in Minoritized Youth: Pilot Results
Dora AmbroiseNicole Petersen, Ph.D.How repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation effects risk taking in people who smoke cigarettes
Dani BengoaMoriah Thomason, Ph.D.Healthy Brain and Child Developments: An Introduction to using EEG in infant population
Rachel BerenshteynAdam CarricoGuilt, Substance Use, and Spiritual Awakening
Edoardo Nicholas BianchiJulie McCarthyCRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training), for Early Psychosis and Substance Use Disorder
Jude Baffoe BonnieRong ChenThe Effects of Cannabis Use on the Functional Brain Architecture of Individuals with Childhood ADHD
Dani ChaputMartin H TeicherEcophenotypes of Substance Use Disorders Related to Childhood Maltreatment
Janiya CherryOluwaseun Falade-NwuliaNavigating Clinical Research as a NIDA Intern
Dhruvi DesaiDavid BarkerPredicting Individual Differences in Opioid Abuse Susceptibility Following Stress Exposure
Reshika Sai DevarajanR. Kathryn McHughUnderstanding The Role of Stress in Treating Opioid Use Disorder
Emily ErnstBrian FeinsteinWhat Do Bi+ Young Men Wish They Had Learned About Alcohol and Drug Use When They Were Younger? A Qualitative Study
Bethany FletcherTamara RichardsUse of Two-Bottle Preference to Measure Avoidance of a Selective Trace Amine-Associated Receptor 1 Agonist
Morgan FrederickHansel TookesHarm Reduction and Compassionate Care
Sara GebeyehuRicky BluthenthalMaternal Cannabis Use and Opioid Misuse
Caroline GeorgeDebra BangasserStudying the Effect of Early-Life Stress on Rats' Craving for Stimulant Drugs
Elizabeth GilsonZhicheng (Carl) LinExamining Transcription Factors on the SLC6A3 Gene Potentially Associated with Cocaine Addiction
Jessica GirardSean M. MurphyUpdated Crime Rate Estimates for Calculating the Cost of Crime to Society
Sofia GularDavid LydonCigarette Smoking: How Stressor Exposure Can Increase Craving and Facilitate Relapse
Sri GuttikondaMorgan JamesThe Impact of Chronic Pain on Fentanyl Self Administration and the Role of Orexin Neuron Expression
Peter JamesAna Clara BobadillaPsilocybin's Effect on Conditioned Place Preference
Valentina JiminianYasmin HurdContributions of Sex to Adolescent THC Induced Anxiety and Risk Assessment
Hannah JoeckelL. Cinnamon BidwellAn Overview of Cannabis Use in Research
Assiata KamagateBarbara HowardPublic Health Research on Substance Use at CHADIS and Boston Children's Hospital
Ida KazeraniCamron BryantThe Role of Zhx2 in Oxycodone Metabolic Processes and Addiction Model Behaviors
Logan LehmanEmily DauriaPublic Health Interventions at the Intersection of Incarceration and Drug Use
Matthew LemanskySabrina AssoumouResearch Compensation for Persons Who Use Drugs: Is it Time for a Reset
Keaton MackeyPaul GlimcherQuantifying the Risk of Transitioning from Occasional Opioid Use to Opioid Use Disorder
Iman ManzoorChristopher M. OlsenWhole Brain Analysis of Ensemble Reactivation Via iDisco
Rachel MarchantMustafa al'AbsiResearch on Stress and Tobacco use at Minnesota Medical School Stress and Resilience Research Laboratories (SRRL)
Lili MassacHelena RutherfordSubstance Use and Maternal Neural Responses to Infant Faces
Troy MaxwellJulia FeltonPractical Intervention
Ashley McDonaldStephanie PuigInvolvement of PDGF-BB and PDGFR-B Signaling Pathways with Opioid Induced Behaviors
Bridget O'KellyBabak TofighiThe Prevalence and Scope of Opioid Use Disorder in New York City Communities and Beyond
Michael OnuCara MurphyA Multiple Health Behavior Intervention for Overweight and Obese Smokers
Daijanise Ortiz-MalpicaNicole TuittA form of Youth Advisory Council in Multilevel Intervention research
Virginia OsuekeHelena RutherfordSex Differences of  Cannabinoids Use
Domenica Bedon PazminoJennifer L StewartCollege Students & Stimulant Drugs Misuse: Negative Overall Health & Psychological Impacts
Megan PoseyJennifer L StewartInstant Gratification and Impulsivity Within Opioid Addicts
Diego RenteriaCharles NeighborsThe STAR Project: Studying Therapeutic Alliance and Retention in Substance Use Treatment Centers
Hailey RinellaKelli ScottThe MBC2OTP Project at Brown University: Enhancing Measurement-Based Care Implementation in Opioid Treatment Programs
Alexandra RiveraSara BeckerProject MIMIC- Summer 2022
Mia RubmanCamron BryantInvestigating the Effect of Morphine Withdrawal on Mouse Ultrasonic Vocalizations (USVs) Using a Rodent Model of Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS)
Maggie SeereyDavide DulcisNeonatal Nicotine Research
Anirudh SharmaChristin SanderImaging D1R Function in Stimulant-Induced Dopamine Release
Jacqueline SifuentesRachel SmithTraining Rats to Self-Administer Cocaine As A Model of Drug Use
Faith StidhamAaron HogueImpact of Allegiance and Implementation Barriers on the Utilization of Family Therapy Interventions in Usual Care
Ming Tate & Sydney SauerLinda B. CottlerExpanding Access to Epidemiology: NDEWS Dissemination and New Discoveries
Trang TranChristie FowlerEffects of Nicotine on Extracellular Vesicle Release in Dopaminergic Neurons
Nico ValenciaRenato PolimantiUsing Computational Genetic Data to Understand Psychiatric Disorders
Allison WilsonLynn E. FiellinTaking ACTION to COMMIT to Enhancing Lives
Nicolle Gudiel WinterLori KnackstedtThe Neurobiology of Drug Addiction and PTSD

Congratulations to all Fellowship Grants (F31) Awardees in Fiscal Year 2022!

We would like to congratulate the awardees of NIDA Research Grants (R01) awards in Fiscal Year 2022! The goal of these programs is to provide individual research training opportunities (including international) to trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels. See below for a full list of active NIDA R01 award recipients from NIH RePORTER.

For more information on NIDA Funding Opportunities, visit the Funding Opportunities at NIDA webpage. For a full list of NIH training, fellowship, career development, and research education funding opportunities including parent announcements, please visit and subscribe to the NIH Guide to Grants and Funding

Program Updates

Below are a just a few notices that NIDA participates in.

NIDA, NIMH, and NINDS Research Opportunities for New and "At-Risk" Investigators to Promote Workforce Diversity (R01 Clinical Trial Optional) (PAR-22-181) 
NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences workforce. NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from minority and other health disparity populations into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities. For more information, see Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity, NOT-OD- 20-031(

Expanding Collaborative Implementation Science to Address Social and Structural Determinants of Health and Improve HIV Outcomes (R01 Clinical Trial Required) RFA-MH-22-190 
Application Receipt Date(s): November 19, 2022

Through this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the National Institute of Mental Health, in partnership with other NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, aims to support implementation science research to strengthen the evidence for effective interventions and implementation strategies that target Social and Structural Determinants of Health (SSDoH) and ultimately improve HIV outcomes and reduce inequities. This initiative will support applications that propose hybrid implementation-effectiveness studies that simultaneously test the effectiveness of interventions addressing SSDoH and implementation strategies to facilitate their uptake or adaptation. This initiative is closely aligned with the goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) in the U.S. initiative, coordinated by the Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health

Expanding Collaborative Implementation Science to Address Social and Structural Determinants of Health and Improve HIV Outcomes (R24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) RFA-MH-22-191 
Application Receipt Date(s): November 19, 2022

Through this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the National Institute of Mental Health in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Office of Research on Women's Health aims to support implementation science research to strengthen the evidence for effective interventions and implementation strategies that target Social and Structural Determinants of Health (SSDoH) and ultimately improve HIV outcomes and reduce inequities. This R24 will support the activities of a Data Coordination and Consultative Hub to provide scientific leadership across a set of funded R01 project teams supported by its companion RFA (RFA-MH-22-190). The companion R01 RFA will support applications that propose hybrid implementation-effectiveness studies that simultaneously test the effectiveness of interventions addressing SSDoH and implementation strategies to facilitate their uptake or adaptation. This initiative is closely aligned with the goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) in the U.S. initiative, coordinated by the Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health.

Did You Know?  

July was Disability Awareness Month, which commemorates the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Each July, several mental health organizations across the country shed light on the multitude of mental health experiences within communities of color, including Black and Indigenous people, and others that face disproportionate inequities due to systemic barriers and historical adversity.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability just as other civil rights laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services, and participate in state and local government programs.  Remember not everyone who is disabled looks disabled.

Stay Up to Date!  

Are you subscribed to the NIDA ODHD listserv? 

We encourage you to subscribe to the NIDA ODHD listserv. Please spread the word about this listserv! Emails from Dr. Albert Avila, Director of the Office of Diversity and Health Disparities (ODHD) are sent out to subscribers a few times a month containing announcements about training and career development.