U-M Addiction Center Research Catalyst Innovation Awards

The University of Michigan Addiction Center Research Catalyst Innovation Award is a pilot grant program focusing on increasing and improving addiction research. Applications from early career investigators are encouraged and prioritized. These are important projects that could not be possible without the contributions and support from loyal donors to the the University of Michigan Addiction Center Innovation Fund

2022 Awards

Principal Investigator: Lora Cope, Ph.D.

The new EyeLink 1000 Plus will be used for research being conducted by Lora Cope, Ph.D., and Jonathan Morrow, M.D., Ph.D. for a future research project that proposes to collect high-quality eye-tracking data during a novel sign-/goal-tracking task. The co-investigators on this research project are Jonathan Morrow, M.D., Ph.D.Mary Heitzeg, Ph.D.Chandra Sripada, M.D., Ph.D., and Kerby Shedden, Ph.D. This project leverages recent advancements in translational neuroscience and represents a critical step in the effort to further the understanding of individual differences in addiction liability. The overall objectives are to validate a human sign- and goal-tracking paradigm and identify neurobehavioral signatures of sign- and goal-tracking. This is the first of several projects being planned in this line of research that will rely on a high-quality eye-tracking system. The EyeLink 1000 Plus is the best fMRI eye-tracker on the market today. Highly precise and accurate eye tracking during fMRI scanning is critical to the line of research currently being pursued by Drs. Cope and Morrow and their colleagues. 

2021 Awards

Principal Investigator: Lara N. Coughlin, Ph.D.; Co-Investigator: Erin E. Bonar, Ph.D.

The overarching purpose of this work is to inform cannabis policy aiming to reduce harm related to cannabis use through state or federal regulation of the legal cannabis market. Outcomes from this line of research will indicate how use of product messaging (e.g., warning labels, standardizing THC potency labels, and dosing information) and pricing (unit price, tax rates, sales) can serve to nudge consumer behavior toward more informed and potentially safer product choices and cannabis use patterns. If successful, this line of work will be shared with policy-makers at state and/or federal levels (depending on how cannabis legalization progresses) to facilitate and direct empirically informed regulatory policies.

The pilot acceptability and feasibility study funded through the Catalyst fund will provide preliminary data to support an NIH application to look at the potential public policy impacts of marketplace manipulations on cannabis purchasing and health-related behaviors associated with cannabis use. Planned marketplace manipulations include experimentally modifying product labeling to include warnings about potential harms of cannabis use (e.g., driving while under the influence), providing clear, standardized doses/product, and providing clear, standardized THC and CBD potency information. Other manipulations to unit pricing, taxes, and sales will also be evaluated to understand the substitutability of various cannabis products. 

Principal Investigator: Meghan E. Martz, Ph.D.Co-Investigator: Lara N. Coughlin, Ph.D.

This project uses real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging neurofeedback (rtfMRI-nf) to target and bolster self-regulation in young adults to prevent escalation to substance use disorders and concomitant consequences of excessive use. The data from this study will be used as the foundation for a larger grant proposal (R01), which will provide important information on the utility of neuromodulation in combination with EMI fluency training as a clinical tool to bolster self-regulatory processes in substance using young adults.

Essential to establishing the clinical utility of rtfMRI-nf is the evaluation of potential persisting effects on cognition and behavior that result from these in-scanner training sessions. Limited work has looked at the transfer of in-scanner strategies to real-world contexts, which could have high impact on extending neural training to reduce substance misuse.

Principal Investigator: Alexander S. Weigard, Ph.D.; Co-Investigator: Adriene Beltz, Ph.D.

The overarching goal of this work is to better understand how people’s daily drinking behavior is impacted by day-to-day changes in their cognitive abilities (such as memory and attention) and changes in contextual factors that may impact these abilities, including sleep quality and daily stress. If these relations can be better understood at the level of individual people, we may ultimately be able to use this knowledge to develop personalized treatments that address specific factors that lead to people’s problematic drinking behavior.