Nearly everyone reading this page knows someone that “Drinks a little too much.” Nearly everyone that reads this page knows someone that has “tried to quit smoking”…and tried again…and again…unsuccessfully. Many of these people will become known to the healthcare system as well as they are vulnerable to a host of acute and chronic diseases.
The last 50 years of clinical and preclinical research have demonstrated that addiction is a brain disease, yet we still have no neural circuit–based treatments for substance dependence or cue reactivity at large. Now, for the first time, it appears that a noninvasive brain stimulation technique known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which is Food and Drug Administration approved to treat depression, may be able to fill this critical void in addiction treatment development.
The primary goal of our translational clinical research team, is to identify neural circuit abnormalities that contribute to risky tobacco, drug, and alcohol use and develop non-invasive therapeutics (using electromagnetic approaches) that are able to induce lasting functional changes in these circuits involved in drug craving and cognitive control.
We are pursuing this goal through a series of NIH-funded research studies and clinical trials done here at Wake Forest School of Medicine and in collaboration with investigators across the country. We work closely with physicians and allied providers as well as basic science colleagues in the Center for Substance Use and Addiction – trying to bridge the translational gap from the bench to the bedside of addiction treatment development. In various departments as well as our preclinical colleagues in the basic since departments.
Mentorship and Outreach
As I believe it is a privilege to have a career devoted to learning from other scientists and creating new knowledge, I think it is our obligation to share this knowledge with the next generation of clinicians and scientists as well as the tax-paying community that makes this NIH research possible. Consequently I have always found unique pleasure in training, mentorship, and outreach. In addition to leading a clinical research laboratory devoted to brain imaging and brain stimulation, I also participate in the research training and education community at both a local level (serving as a mentor to over 50 medical, graduate, post-graduate, and fellowship trainees since 2005) as well as leading an annual outreach event at the College of Problems on Drug Dependence (CPDD) meeting, serving on Education and Training Committees at several professional organizations, and participating in over 20 NIH study sections for research and training grants.
I am delighted to be a part of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, to be leading a new Electromagnetic Therapeutics initiative here, and to be a member of the Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point community.