UF receives NIH grant for substance use and adolescent brain development study

Sara Jo Nixon, PhD Professor
Sara Jo Nixon, PhD
Linda Cottler, PhD, MPH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a multi-year Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, committing approximately $25 million per year across a national consortium. The University of Michigan and University of Florida applied in collaboration and were selected as one of 11 research sites in the nation to create the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study Consortium (ABCD-USA). Lead locally by principal investigators Sara Jo Nixon, Ph.D. (Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology; Co-Vice Chair, Psychiatry) and Linda Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H. (Dean’s Professor and Founding Chair, Epidemiology; Associate Dean of Research and Planning, College of Public Health and Health Professions).

This $4.5 million award to the University of Florida aims to follow 400 adolescents from the North Central Florida area initially over five years and ultimately over ten years to determine the effects of substance use on the adolescent brain and cognitive development using multimodal brain imaging, cognitive and clinical assessments, bioassays, mobile monitoring, and careful assessment of substance use, environment, psychopathological symptoms, and social functioning. The broad nature of this research necessitates a multi-disciplinary effort of researchers and core services across the University of Florida including the College of Medicine, College of Public Health and Health Professions, and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

This research presents an exciting opportunity to identify pathways to substance use and its effects on child and adolescent development, which is critically important as the effects of substance use during these early developmental years will likely have long-lasting effects on brain functioning and behavioral, health and psychological outcomes.

Other research sites associate with this study include:

  1. Betty J. Casey, Ph.D., Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York City
    Rita Z. Goldstein, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City
  2. Duncan B. Clark, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
  3. Ian M. Colrain, Ph.D., SRI International, Arlington, Virginia
  4. Thomas M. Ernst, Ph.D., and Thomas A. Wills, Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa
    George Fein, Ph.D., Neurobehavioral Research, Inc., Wailuku, Hawaii
  5. Raul Gonzalez, Ph.D., Florida International University, Miami
  6. Mary M. Heitzeg, Ph.D., and Robert A. Zucker, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Linda B. Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., Sara Jo Nixon, Ph.D., University of Florida, Gainesville
  7. William G. Iacono, Ph.D., Monica M. Luciana, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
    Marie T. Banich, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder
    Deanna M. Barch, Ph.D., Andrew C. Heath, D.Phil., and Pamela A. Madden, Ph.D., Washington University, St. Louis
    James M. Bjork, Ph.D., and Michael C. Neale Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
  8. Bonnie J. Nagel, Ph.D., Damien A. Fair, Ph.D., and Sarah W. Feldstein Ewing, Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
    Hugh P. Garavan, Ph.D., University of Vermont, Burlington
  9. Elizabeth R. Sowell, Ph.D., Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
    Susan Y. Bookheimer, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
  10. Susan F. Tapert, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
    Martin P. Paulus, M.D., Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Tulsa
  11. Deborah A. Yurgelun-Todd, Ph.D., and Perry F. Renshaw, M.D., Ph.D., University of Utah, Salt Lake City

NIDA has a special section on its website related to the current state of the science on substances and brain health.

You can learn more about Dr. Nixon’s research by visiting her lab’s website at http://psychiatry.ufl.edu/neurocognitive-laboratory/