Administered in: College of the Liberal Arts
In recent years there have been notable advances in the biomedical sciences in identifying the biological pathways that confer risk for or resilience to high-risk behaviors, such as substance use disorders (SUDs). Of particular note are lines of neuroscientific enquiry that have helped to identify the neurobiological mediators and moderators of SUD risk (e.g., changes in brain structure, function, and connectivity that underlie SUD and related behaviors). The data obtained from these studies is potentially highly relevant for the prevention of SUD, however, the effective transfer and application of this knowledge from the neurosciences and related biomedical fields to prevention science, and back again, is sorely lacking. Advances in the integration of neuroscience and prevention (i.e., so-called “neuro-prevention”) are needed and have the potential to inform the delineation of which types of intervention work for whom, why, and under what circumstances. Such progress may lead to the development of more effective and potentially better targeted preventive interventions for SUD. The work of the Program for Translational Research on Adversity and Neurodevelopment (P-TRAN) at the Pennsylvania State University is focused on this goal, aiming to promote a transdisciplinary, translational neuroscience approach to the prevention of adverse outcomes. The translational arm of the P- TRAN program focusses on the active transfer of knowledge regarding the neurodevelopmental trajectories that underlie risk for SUD to the development, implementation, and scaling of evidence-based prevention programs and related policies. To further advance this work and to promote a neuro-prevention approach to SUD, within P-TRAN and to a wider cadre of researchers whose work is or could be aligned with this framework, the P-TRAN network is proposing to hold annual or biennial symposia that will convene relevant experts in the biomedical and prevention sciences, as well as trainees in these domains. We are proposing to utilize the R13 mechanism to support two perspectives and empirical methods in an initial meetings that will integrate theoretical attempt to lay a foundation for : (1) educational and training opportunities in neuro-prevention for SUDs; (2) determining domains of neuroscientific enquiry that may delineate neurobiological moderators and mediators of preventive strategies for SUD; (3) considering novel prevention strategies that incorporate neurodevelopmental factors; (4) identifying barriers to the adoption of a neuro-prevention approach to SUDs; and (5) planning educational and collaborative opportunities that will elevate the field and prepare the next generation of SUD researchers with research interests in neuro-prevention.