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HUNTINGTON — Price E. Dickson, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of biomedical sciences at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, was recently awarded a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to further his research on the genetic relationship between stress and addiction.

A critical public health issue, addiction is affected by both genetic and environmental factors. In recent studies, Dickson and colleagues found that gene x stress interactions revealed that certain individuals are genetically susceptible, whereas others are genetically resistant, to addiction disorders following exposure to chronic environmental stress.

Through this three-year NIDA grant for $746,949, Dickson will use advanced mouse resources to identify and characterize the genes and mechanisms in brain reward pathways driving the enhancing effect of environmental stress in addiction liability.

“We need to better understand the genetic mechanisms between stress and addiction, as these findings may lead to novel treatments for drug addiction,” Dickson said in a news release.

The grant was awarded as part of NIDA’s K99/R00 program to facilitate a timely transition from a mentored postdoctoral research position into a stable independent faculty position with independent NIH or other research support. It is the second part of a five-year award.

Dickson joined the School of Medicine faculty in June, following two years of postdoctoral research at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine.

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