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Memories of UAMS Training

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ NIDA T32 program has been working to find a solution to the growing problem of addiction since 2009. During that time, several young research scientists have received training and mentorship from the faculty and staff of the program. These enthusiastic professionals have gone on to make names for themselves in the medical field. Below are some of their recollections of their time at UAMS and the experience they gained here.

James Scott Steele, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh

The T32 supported me during a critical period in my training in addictions research and was also a vehicle through which I learned a great deal about work outside my own area. I was a member of the T32 for two years while I completed the doctoral portion of my M.D./Ph.D. training. My work was among adolescent victims of physical and sexual assault, who are at a higher risk for addictions, and using computational models of neural activity to try to understand how these traumatic experiences affect them throughout the remainder of their lives. In addition to supporting my own research, the T32 broadened my appreciation for the full scope of addictions research.  The biweekly didactics, taught in a small setting by active addictions researchers across the full translational spectrum, offered a regular opportunity to learn about topics ranging from drug discovery to behavioral pharmacology to implementation science. Additionally, the yearly retreat was an opportunity to learn about our fellow trainees’ work as well as share our own.

Tonisha Kearney-Ramos, Ph.D.
Medical University of South Carolina

My doctoral training under Dr. Andrew James of the Brain Imaging Research Center involved investigating the neural encoding of cognitive variability in healthy individuals. I was a T32 trainee for the final two years of my doctoral training, and it changed the trajectory of my scientific career. The T32 provided me with the opportunity to translate my interest in cognitive neuroscience to addressing the problem of addiction, a disorder characterized by significant cognitive deficits. While on the T32, I had access to experts and other trainees across addiction disciplines who not only provided professional advice but also access to the novel research and practices of a broader scientific community. I am now a post-doctoral trainee on the Addiction T32 at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where I have continued to translate my addiction training into the investigation of innovative brain stimulation techniques for treatment of addiction disorders.