Shackman Lab Awarded Campus Seed Grant to Understand the Neurobiology of Addiction and Withdrawal

Drs. Alex Shackman (co-PI), Laura MacPherson (co-PI), Luiz Pessoa, John Curtin (Wisconsin), and Megan Piper (Wisconsin) were awarded a Level II Dean’s Research Initiative grant from the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences. Tobacco smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disability in the U.S. and many other countries around the world. This award will support collaborative research aimed at understanding the large-scale neural systems underlying the persistently elevated distress and anxiety characteristic of acute withdrawal from nicotine. Mechanistic work in rodents suggests that enduring alterations in these systems help to maintain chronic tobacco use and dependence, but the relevance of this circuitry to humans is unknown.  This innovative study, which combines advanced brain imaging techniques with intensive assessments of daily mood and addiction-relevant behavior, promises to address this key question and guide the development of improved interventions for nicotine dependence and other addictions.