Pierce Receives $25,000 Jacob P. Waletzky Award
For immediate release.
PIERCE RECEIVES $25,000 JACOB P. WALETZKY AWARD
Award recognizes innovative research into the neurobiology of cocaine addiction
Washington, DC — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has announced that R. Christopher Pierce, PhD, of Boston University School of Medicine will receive the Jacob P. Waletzky Award at Neuroscience 2008, the SfN annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news on brain science and health. Supported by the The Waletzky Family, SfN gives the award, which includes $25,000, to a scientist who has conducted research or plans to conduct research in the area of substance abuse and the nervous system.
An expert in animal models of cocaine addiction, Pierce’s work breaks new ground in neuroscience and drug addiction and provides concrete examples of addiction therapies that can be tested clinically.
Currently, no effective therapies exist for cocaine addiction, which directly affects over two million people in the United States alone. The major hurdle for abstaining from cocaine is intense drug craving, which can be triggered months and even years following the cessation of drug use. The most widely accepted model of craving in animals is self-administration of drug seeking. Using these animal models, Pierce’s research team pursues a strategy to identify novel neurobiological adaptations produced by cocaine and then uses this information to formulate potential addiction therapies.
“I congratulate Dr. Pierce,” said Eve Marder, PhD, president of SfN. “His studies are at the cutting edge of a large and still-growing literature on the neural mechanisms of drug addiction.”
Pierce’s research includes pursuing surgical interventions such as deep brain stimulation as possible treatments for cocaine craving. Since deep brain stimulation is increasingly used as a treatment for psychiatric disorders such as depression and is widely used for treatment of Parkinson’s disease, the clinical significance for treating severe cocaine addiction is significant.
Pierce will deliver the keynote Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Lecture from 10:00–10:30 a.m. on Friday, November 14 at the National Institute on Drug Abuse sponsored mini-convention, Frontiers in Addiction Research, in conjunction with Neuroscience 2008 at the Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth Street, NW, Washington, DC. The award will be presented to Pierce prior to the Presidential Special Lecture on Sunday, November 16, at 5:15 p.m., in Hall D of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of more than 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.