Our mission at the MARC is to understand methamphetamine abuse at many levels: "To characterize the effects of methamphetamine use and withdrawal at the molecular, neurochemical, anatomical, behavioral, and clinical levels, and to identify obstacles to recovery in methamphetamine abusers."
Technically, the MARC is a P-50 research center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an agency of the federal government that sponsors much of the addictions research that happens in the United States. The MARC was founded in 2006 when a group of neuroscience researchers and doctors at OHSU and the Portland VA Medical Center decided they wanted to work together to study the many interacting facets of the disease. At OHSU, the center is jointly housed with the departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience.
"Translational research" involves looking at a single problem from many different directions and at many different levels. For example, we might look at the issue of drug craving by talking with addicts about their experiences, viewing their brains through an MRI scanner, observing mice who have become addicted to drugs, or using cultured cells to look at neurotransmitter receptors affected by drug molecules. Investigating neurobiological questions at these multiple levels makes research more powerful, since each level or technique has different insights to offer.
Janowsky, Aaron, Ph.D.
Role: Director, Methamphetamine Abuse Research Center, Professor
The training includes an NIH-developed manual on media and communications as well as mock-TV interviews to practice speaking skills. "Our goal in developing this program is not only to foster new effectiveness at communicating our own findings, but to create a model training program for use by addictions researchers at NIDA-funded centers and laboratories around the country."