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Behavioral Science






< Back to Training Programs


This NIDA-funded institutional research training program on drug abuse behavior provides support for three pre- and three postdoctoral trainees with a training faculty of 30 drawn from 9 different academic and research units of the University. The environment is rich with opportunities for biobehavioral research in facilities such as the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, the Center for Prevention Research, the Laboratory of Human Behavioral Pharmacology and the Residential Research Facility, as well as the individual research laboratories and other facilities of training faculty. The program is designed to prepare trainees to assume research responsibilities in academic, and other scientific organizations concerned with drug abuse and the biobehavioral aspects of health and medical care.

Postdoctoral fellows have a doctorate in either a biobehavioral science discipline, or they are doctoral level health professionals seeking a biobehavioral research orientation in drug abuse. Predoctoral trainees concentrate in biobehavioral aspects of drug abuse as part of their programs at the University of Kentucky for a doctorate in a biological or behavioral discipline.

Basic elements of the program include (1) research training designed to provide experience in utilizing the basic building blocks of research (experimental design, development and pre-testing of instruments, data analysis) and independent research competence; (2) an interdisciplinary orientation which takes students beyond their basic discipline and provides exposure to key theoretical concepts and methodological issues of the related biobehavioral sciences along with a biobehavioral conceptualization; (3) a program of enculturation and orientation to drug abuse, health and mental health settings; (4) opportunities to explore drug abuse topics from a medical biobehavioral perspective through courses offered by training faculty; and (5) opportunities for independent and mentored research around relevant questions in drug abuse behavior that can constitute significant learning experiences for postdoctoral fellows and a dissertation project for predoctoral trainees. The programs of postdoctoral fellows are individually tailored to their objectives and build on their previous research experience.

Program History

This drug abuse research training program was initiated in 1998 with five years of support from NIDA. It was competitively renewed in 2003 for an additional five years based on its performance in the first five-year period. Trainees have come to the program from Boston College, Davidson College, Duke University, Edinboro University, Florida State University, Grand Valley State University, Indiana University, Kent State University, Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, University of Massachusetts, University of Wisconsin, Wake Forest University, and Washington University. They have represented the disciplines of behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, pharmacology, social psychology, sociology. Many of these trainees are still in their degree or postdoctoral programs, but several have taken positions at other institutions at the end of their NIDA programs. Four hold faculty positions at Brown University, Dickinson College, University of South Carolina, and Vassar College. Two graduates have research positions in private industry. Several doctoral graduates have accepted postdoctoral positions.

Training Faculty

The following table lists the training faculty along with their University of Kentucky departmental or college affiliations. It also provides brief descriptions of their research interests in the drug abuse area. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact training faculty with whom they might share research interests.

List of Training Faculty and Their Research Interests

Chana Akins, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (859) 257-1103
§ Learning mechanisms involved in motivated behaviors, in particular sexual behavior and drug-taking behavior in animal models (Japanese quail)
§ Relationship between drug taking behavior and risky sexual behavior

Michael T. Bardo, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (859) 257-6456
§ Neuropharmacological mechanisms that underlie drug abuse behaviors using an animal model
§ Development of novel pharmacotherapies for the treatment of stimulant abuse

Susan Barron, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (859) 257-5401
§ Effects of prenatal drug exposure
§ Immediate and long-term effects of prenatal drugs on behavioral outcomes
§ Underlying mechanisms of action of prenatal drugs

Tamara Brown, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (859) 257-9612
§ Ethnic differences in antecedents and consequences of adolescent substance use
§ Cultural factors in the mental health of African Americans
§ Relationship of religion/spirituality, substance use, and mental health

Richard R. Clayton, Ph.D.
Center for Prevention Research, and School of Public Health
Phone: (859) 257-5588
§ Drug abuse prevention in youth
§ Psychopharmacological approaches to smoking cessation
§ Rural substance abuse and its social impact
§ Epidemiology of drug use

Linda Dwoskin, Ph.D.
College of Pharmacy
Phone: (859) 257-4743
§ Development of new pharmacotherapies for psychostimulant abuse
§ Genetic and environmental factors in abuse liability of stimulant drugs
§ Neurochemical mechanisms in drug abuse liability

Mark T. Fillmore, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (859) 257-4728
§ Cognitive and behavioral effects of acute doses of abused drugs

Peter R. Giancola, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (859) 257-4502
§ Cognitive functioning and alcohol-related aggression
§ Female adolescent drug abuse: biobehavioral factors

Ellen J. Hahn, D.N.S.
College of Nursing
Phone: (859) 257-2358
§ Substance abuse prevention with young children (ages 4-6 years) and their families
§ Role of family in onset and prevention of drug abuse in children

Jennifer R. Havens, PhD, MPH
Department of Behavioral Science
Phone: (859) 323-6553
§ Epidemiology of HIV, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases among rural drug users
§ Social network composition (drug, sex and support networks) for rural drug users
§ Comorbid psychopathology among drug users

Lon R. Hays, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry
Phone: (859) 323-6021
§ Drug effects on behavioral performance
§ Epidemiology of drug and alcohol use in Kentucky

Thomas H. Kelly, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral Science
Phone: (859) 323-5206
§ Experimental analysis of human behavior
§ Behavioral pharmacology; behavioral effects of various drugs of abuse
§ Individual differences in drug abuse vulnerability

Hannah K. Knudsen, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral Science
Phone: (859) 323-3947
§ Adoption and implementation of evidence-based practices in specialty drug treatment programs
§ Retaining and maintaining the addiction treatment workforce

Carl G. Leukefeld, D.S.W.
Department of Behavioral Science; Center on Drug and Alcohol Research
Phone: (859) 257-2355
§ Drug use and sexually transmitted diseases
§ Drug treatment in prisons
§ Rural substance abuse

Joshua A. Lile, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral Science
Phone: (859) 323-6034
§ Neuropharmacology of cannabinoids
§ Medications development for cannabis-use disorders

John M. Littleton, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology; Tobacco and Health Research Institute
Phone: (859) 257-1085
§ The cellular and molecular bases of addictive behavior
§ The development of pharmacological treatments for preventing relapse into drug dependent behavior
§ The neurotoxicity of drugs of dependence and the consequent behavioral deficits they cause
T.K. Logan, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral Science; Center on Drug and Alcohol Research
Phone: (859) 257-8248
§ Drug use, health, and victimization among rural and urban women
Catherine A. Martin, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry
Phone: (859) 323-6021
§ Association of drug abuse and other problem behaviors in adolescents
§ Interventions to address individual differences in drug abuse liability of adolescents
Richard Milich, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (859) 257-4396
§ Association between children's behavior problems, especially ADHD, and later substance abuse
Kimberly Nixon, Ph.D.
College of Pharmacy
Phone: (859) 323-3038
§ Role of neural stem cells in abuse/addiction
§ Development of novel pharmacological and behavioral treatments for alcoholism
§ Mechanisms of the adolescent brain’s predisposition to addiction
Carrie B. Oser, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology; Center on Drug and Alcohol Research
Phone: (859)257-6890; (859)323-3792
§Health services utilization
§Health disparities among criminal offenders, rural populations, and African Americans
§HIV and STI interventions among substance users
Mark A. Prendergast, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (859) 257-6120
§ Interactions between hippocampal nicotinic receptors and calcium regulation during repeated and chronic ethanol withdrawal

Craig R. Rush, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral Science
Phone: (859) 323-6130
§ Human behavioral pharmacology of commonly abused drugs
§ Behavioral and neuropharmacological mechanisms involved in drug abuse
Greg Smith, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (859) 257-6454
§ Psychosocial risk models for adolescent problem drinking and drug abuse
§ Integration of trait personality theories and psychosocial learning theories to describe risk and etiology

Audra L. Stinchcomb, Ph.D.
College of Pharmacy
Phone: (859) 323-6192
§ Development of transdermal pharmacotherapies for treatment of narcotic addicts and alcoholics

William Stoops, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral Science
Phone: (859) 257-5383
§ Behavioral pharmacology, including discriminative-stimulus and reinforcing effects, of stimulant and opioid drugs
§ Internet-based interventions for drug use disorders

Michele Staton Tindall, Ph.D.
College of Social Work
Phone: (859) 257-2483
§ Women and substance use
§ Substance abuse treatment for criminal justice populations
§ Rural substance abuse treatment

Sharon Walsh, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral Science; Center on Drug and Alcohol Research
Phone: (859) 257-6485
§ Pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic characterisitics of opioid treatment agents, including buprenorphine, methadone and LAAM
§ Abuse liability evaluation of new agents and new formulations
§ Evaluation of potential pharmacotherapies for efficacy and safety in the treatment of cocaine dependence

Matthew Webster, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral Science; Center on Drug and Alcohol Research
Phone: (859) 323-5507
§ DUI Offenders
§ Interventions for Substance Abusers
§ Drug Use, Health, and Mental Health

Predoctoral stipends are $20,976 per 12-month period. Tuition costs and required University fees are provided. In addition, travel funds are available for presentation of research at professional meetings; some research costs are also available. Postdoctoral stipends begin at $37,368 and ranges to $51,552 depending on the number of years of prior postdoctoral experience. Medical insurance is provided for the fellow. Travel funds for presentation of research at professional meetings, and research costs are also available.


Pre- and postdoctoral trainees must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals of the U.S., or admitted to permanent residence (with a green card). Postdoctoral fellows must have completed all requirements for the doctoral degree by the beginning of their fellowship. Predoctoral trainees must be enrolled in a doctoral program (usually behavioral or biological) of the University of Kentucky Graduate School with plans to pursue drug abuse-related research as a dissertation project and career research emphasis. Prospective trainees, both pre- and postdoctoral, must apply with the concurrence and support of at least one of the training faculty listed above.

Contact Information

Information on availability of positions and other program matters can be obtained from Dr. Craig R. Rush, Program Director, at the email address or phone number listed above. Before applying, applicants should also contact the training faculty who might serve as their research mentor.

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Page last updated Monday, April 12, 2010