In This Issue
Division 28 Award Winners
By Chana K. Akins, PhD
Division 28 is pleased to announce this year’s distinguished group of award winners. As usual, this year’s nominations resulted in a very close race in all categories due to the stellar group of candidates. As such, all nominees should be congratulated. Division 28 traditionally presents three separate awards to honor individuals who have displayed excellence and achievement at different stages of their academic and scientific careers.
The first award, the Outstanding Dissertation Award, is based on a completed dissertation in psychopharmacology or substance abuse. This award (sponsored by Friends Research Institute) honors the best doctoral dissertation in psychopharmacology and substance abuse of the past year. The winner of this award receives a $250 cash prize, an engraved plaque and travel support to attend and present an address at the annual APA convention. This year, we had two winners, Cassandra Gipson and Kevin Murnane. Cassandra’s dissertation was entitled, "A translational model of mood-based impulsivity related to drug abuse." The focus of her dissertation is on a facet of impulsivity termed ”negative urgency,” an important clinical topic for understanding the control of health-related behaviors related to ADHD and addiction. Kevin’s dissertation was entitled, “Neuropharmacology of 3, 4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”) and its stereoisomers.” For his studies, he used behavioral approaches including drug discrimination and sleep analysis to further elucidate the complex psychopharmacology of MDMA and its stereoisomers. The studies represent a significant and detailed expansion of our understanding of the psychopharmacology of MDMA.
The second award, the Wyeth Young Psychopharmacologist Award, encourages excellence in research at the interface between the disciplines of pharmacology and psychology, by honoring a young scientist who is conducting meritorious work in psychopharmacology. The winner of this award receives a cash prize of $500, an engraved plaque and travel support to attend and present an address at the annual convention. This year’s recipient is Matthew Johnson, PhD. Dr. Johnson’s research is focused on behavioral economics/impulsivity, the human effects of atypical drugs of abuse, and assessing the pharmacological profile of sedative-hypnotics. He has an excellent publication record with 21 peer-publications, 10 of which are first author publications. He is currently PI of two NIDA grants. Dr. Johnson’s address at this year’s convention is entitled "From microeconomics to mystical experience: Expanding the frame of human psychopharmacology."
Finally, the MED Associates - Brady-Schuster Award, is designed to honor a senior scientist who has conducted outstanding research underscoring the fundamental importance of behavioral science to psychopharmacology or substance abuse. The winner of the award receives a cash award of $500, and engraved plaque and travel support to attend and present an address at the annual convention. This year, Division 28 proudly honors Stephen Higgins, PhD. Dr. Higgins has transformed the field of drug abuse application, research, and theory with his findings. He developed a therapy referred to as “community reinforcement approach with incentive motivation” in which treatment involved reinforcing abstinence and developing alternative sources of pro-social reinforcement. This incentive treatment became the centerpiece of a large multi-site clinical trial conducted through the Clinical Trials Network of NIDA. The work revolutionized the field of drug abuse research. Dr. Higgins’ address to be delivered at this year’s meeting is entitled "Applying the behavioral sciences to reducing cigarette smoking among pregnant women."
Division 28 would like to thank George Bigelow, PhD for his generous contribution to support Division 28 awards.