Project Leaders

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Ken Wakabayashi

Dr. Ken WakabayashiPANN: Psychostimulant Addiction and Nutrient-Sensing Neurons: Genetic Targeting to Parse Neuro Pathways

Cocaine and methamphetamine (meth) use disorders may involve nutrient-sensing circuits including melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons in brain areas such as the lateral hypothalamus (LH). The PANN project determines how cocaine or meth experience affects MCH neuronal activity and LH glucose levels, highlighting a possible mechanism, and verify the role of MCH neurons in regulating addiction-like behavior.

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Nicholas Hubbard

Dr. Nicholas HubbardCAMP: Connectomes-Related to Active Methamphetamine-Dependence Project

This project aims to provide objective methods that can be used to aid in identifying future substance use patterns and consequences for individuals who are dependent upon methamphetamine.

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Trey Andrews

Dr. Arthur (Trey) Andrews III MoVES: Mediators of Violence Exposure and Substance Use

The MoVES Project aims to provide data on craving in understudied substances (cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids) in the overlooked rural setting.

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Jeffrey Smith

Dr. Jeffrey Smith RISC: Capturing Rural Injection Risk Network Structures from Continuous-time Interaction Data

The RISC project aims to understand the unique networks and structural risk factors associated with rural drug use in order to understand and lessen the potential for epidemics, even if current infection rates are low.

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Matthew Johnson

Dr. Matthew Johnson CLASS: Cognitive, Large - And Small - Scale

The long-term goals of this project are to predict outcomes for people who use drugs (PWUD) and, in subsequent projects, to apply these techniques to the development of new interventions and the study of other conditions.

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Gurudutt Pendyala

Dr. Gurudutt PendyalaTEAMS: Testing the Efficacy of Ibudilast to Attenuate Meth-Seeking and Associated Synaptic Inflammation at the Synapse

The TEAMS Project advances a critical need for additional research to investigate the value of ibudilast as a possible treatment drug for methamphetamine use.

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Pilot Projects

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Roberto Abadie

Dr. Roberto Abadie An Ethnographic Exploration of Opioid Agonist Treatment Barriers and Facilitators Among Opioid Users in Rural Nebraska

This project aims to collect ethnographic data on opioid users living in two rural communities in Nebraska to document behavioral and structural factors affecting barriers and facilitators to Opioid Agonist Treatment enrollment.

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Robin Gauthier

Dr. Robin GauthierInterpersonal Conflict and Drug Use in the Great Plains

This project aims to create a dynamic multi-level network model that utilizes relationship characteristics and contextual factors to better understand the interpersonal context of rural drug use.

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Tierney Lorenz

Dr. Tierney Lorenz Predictors of Sex-Linked Marijuana and Alcohol Use in Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Women

This project aims to research how individual differences in sexual response may contribute to sexual minority women’s risk for substance use and misuse.

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Palsamy Periyasamy

Dr. Palsamy PeriyasamyCocaine-Mediated Microglial Activation Involves Epigenetic Dysregulation of DNMT1/INCRNA XIST/PPARG Signaling Axis

This project aims to research whether cocaine activates the microglia via lncRNA Xist-DNMT1-mediated epigenetic promoter DNA hypermethylation of PPARG, thereby resulting in elevated secretion of proinflammatory cytokines.

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Sowmya Yelamanchili

Dr. Sowmya YelamanchiliSex specific brain derived extracellular vesicle markers associated with chronic methamphetamine use

Though often perceived to be a problem of the inner city, substance abuse has long been prevalent in rural areas. Rural adults have higher rates of alcohol abuse, tobacco use, and methamphetamine use, while prescription drug abuse and heroin use has grown in towns of every size. Factors contributing to substance abuse in rural America include- low education attainment, poverty, unemployment, high risk behaviors and isolation. The current proposal focuses on the potent psychostimulant methamphetamine (MA) that continues to pose a significant threat globally but importantly here in rural Nebraska.

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