Please join me in congratulating our 2021 Div. 28 award winners. We had excellent candidates nominated in all categories, and I would like to thank all the nominees and those who nominated them for their participation this year. Div. 28 has an outstanding roster of early career and senior scientists doing excellent work. Now, for our winners:
MED Associates Brady-Schuster Award
Klaus A. Miczek, PhD
Tufts University School of Medicine
This award honors a mid-career or senior scientist (at least 15 years after doctoral degree) who conducts outstanding research underscoring the fundamental importance of behavioral science to psychopharmacology or substance use. This year’s winner is Klaus A. Miczek, PhD
Miczek is the Moses Hunt Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, and serves as one of the directors of the Neuroscience Research Center at Tufts University. Currently, the work in Miczek's laboratory investigates two problems in the areas of (1) stress and drug use, and (2) behavioral neurobiology of aggression. Beginning in graduate school, he introduced, validated and refined animal models of aggression and social stress, specifically, resident-intruder aggression in rats, mice and monkeys. These methods were useful for the study of psychomotor stimulants and anxiolytic drugs as they translated readily to clinical observations in human and veterinary medicine. By focusing on the victim of aggression, he discovered that social defeat stress in intruder mice activated endogenous opioid peptides acting on MOR leading to antinociceptive effects, so-called stress-induced analgesia. Subsequently, we discovered that social defeat stress engendered a phasic increase in the activity in the mesocorticolimbic dopamine projections, but not in the nigrostriatal pathway. This social stress-induced increase in dopamine impulse flow was synchronized with persistently escalated cocaine selfadministration and excessive alcohol consumption. We have identified molecules in the neural network of GABAergic, dopaminergic, serotonergic and glucocorticoid systems as critical for escalated aggression after alcohol consumption.
Miczek has published some 340 research journal articles and reviews, and edited 30 volumes on psychopharmacological research concerning brain mechanisms of aggression, anxiety, social stress and use of alcohol and other drugs. He was a member of the National Academy of Science panel on "Understanding and Preventing Violence" as well as its panel on the "Psychological Well-being of Primates." He served as Coordinating, Principal and Advisory Editor of Psychopharmacology since 1975. He was the president of the APA's Division of Psychopharmacology, and of the Behavioral Pharmacology Society, and chaired the Committee on Animals in Research and Ethics of the American Psychology Association. He has won numerous prizes highlighting his work: the Solvay Duphar Award of the Division of Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse of the American Psychological Association, a MERIT award (NIAAA), Silver Medals (Charles University, Czech Republic), Boerhaave professor (Leiden University, Netherlands), Japan International Science & Technology Fellow (Universities of Tokyo and Tsukuba), Distinguished Scholar Award (Tufts University), fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Distinguished Achievement Award (European Behavioural Pharmacology Society), Faculty of 1000 Prime Behavioral Neuroscience, and Scientists without Borders (CNPq, Brazil). He was visiting professor at La Sapienza University (Rome), the Charles University (Prague) and at the University of Tübingen (Germany). In 1997, the president of the Federal Republic of Germany bestowed the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit on him. He was originally educated in Berlin (Germany) and received his PhD in Biopsychology from the University of Chicago.
Early Career Psychopharmacologist Award
Jessica Weafer, PhD
Assistant professor, University of Kentucky
This award honors an early career scientist conducting original, meritorious work in psychopharmacology and encourages excellence in research at the interface between the disciplines of pharmacology and psychology. This year’s winner is Jessica Weafer, PhD. Weafer's research focuses broadly on identifying neurobiological factors underlying sex differences in risk for unhealthy alcohol and substance use. Given the alarming increase in drinking among young women over the past twenty years, it is critical to identify risk factors that are specific to women. Weafer’s current research combines behavioral, hormonal, and neuroimaging techniques to investigate sex differences in both causes and consequences of alcohol and other drug consumption. Ultimately, it is her hope that this line of research will allow for the identification of sex-specific risk factors, and the development of sex-specific prevention and treatment efforts, for alcohol and drug addiction.
Outstanding Dissertation Award
Dissertation award co-winners are presented in alphabetical order. These awards honor the best doctoral dissertations in psychopharmacology and substance use research.
Alba González-Roz, PhD
PhD in Psychology at the University of Oviedo (Spain)
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, at the University of the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Spain)
This year’s co-winner is Alba González-Roz, PhD. Alba González-Roz completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2019 at the University of Oviedo under the supervision of Dr. Roberto Secades-Villa. She complemented her predoctoral studies with two research stays at the University of McMaster (Canada) and the University of Vermont (US). Her dissertation was aimed at examining the efficacy of behavioral treatments for people who smoke and have depression: cognitive-behavioral based therapies, behavioral activation and contingency management. Dr. González-Roz has recently accepted an Assistant Professor position at the University of the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Spain). There, she is developing a research line related to the behavioral economic determinants of substance use, with a particular focus on emotional regulation, impulsivity, and drug demand. She is the PI of a two-year longitudinal project entitled: Determinants of Addictive Behaviors in Young Adults, funded by the Spanish National Plan on Drugs. Her research focuses on examining the cost-effectiveness of substance use treatments and the identification of psychosocial determinants of addictive behaviors in young adults. She is particularly interested in the prevention and treatment fields.
Courtney Motschman, PhD
PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Buffalo, The State University of New York
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychological Sciences
University of Missouri
This year’s co-winner is Courtney Motschman, PhD. Motschman completed her PhD in clinical psychology in 2019 at the University at Buffalo, SUNY under the mentorship of Stephen Tiffany. Her dissertation study was a laboratory investigation disentangling the separate and joint motivational impact of alcohol and cigarette cues on craving, drug-seeking, and consumption. Findings indicated that combined alcohol and cigarette cues provoked more powerful craving and drug-seeking responses than single-substance cues, and therefore, polysubstance cues may be more motivationally potent among individuals who use multiple substances. Motschman is currently an NIAAA T32 postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri working with Denis McCarthy. Her research focuses on two broad areas: 1) motivational processes contributing to the etiology, maintenance, and consequences of addiction, and 2) the role of substance-induced effects (intoxication, disinhibition) in risk-taking behaviors and excessive use. She uses a combination of laboratory methods (substance administration) and assessment in individuals’ natural environments (ecological momentary assessment) to understand how the dynamics of motivational processes unfold and subsequently predict substance-related harms.