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About Event

This two-day conference focuses on translational aspects of addiction research among chemists, biologists, and behavioral scientists. The diversity of participants and attendees at this meeting (undergraduate students to senior faculty, chemists to psychiatrists) provides a unique venue for networking among different disciplines and in so doing promotes new and innovative approaches to medications development in addictions biology. The meeting provides a stimulating environment for young scientists who are strongly encouraged to present their work and interact with senior scientists. The BBC meeting has served as a “launch pad” for many young, innovative investigators to join the ever-growing world of SUD research.

Registration Fees

$150 | Presenting Students and Postdocs (waived for travel awardees)
$250 | Non-Presenting Students
$375 | All others (including non-presenting postdocs)
$25 | Virtual Registration


Event Speakers


Laura M Bohn, PhD

Professor and Chair, Molecular Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute

Imparting diversity into opioid receptor signaling

This presentation will focus on the development of pharmacologically diverse mu opioid receptor agonists. It will examine how different signaling properties are quantified and compared across assay platforms and how the compounds perform in mouse models of pain, tolerance and opioid-induced side effects.


Jean Lud Cadet, MD

Chief, Molecular Neuropsychiatry Research Branch, Chief, Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section, Senior Investigator, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program

Modeling methamphetamine addiction in rodents: epigenetic consequences

The Cadet lab studies the epigenetic bases of methamphetamine self-administration-induced changes in gene expression in brain regions of the reward pathway. Our lab has shown that contingent footshocks can separate rats that escalated their methamphetamine intake into shock-resistant (addicted) and shock-sensitive (non-addicted) animals. These behavioral differences are associated with various changes in DNA hydroxymethylation in the nucleus accumbens.


Plenary Symposium:

Utilizing psychedelics for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.


Javier Gonzalez-Maeso, PhD

Virginia Commonwealth University

Molecular target and mechanisms of psychedelic-induced plasticity

The overall goal of my research program is to explore the structure, function and regulation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), translating this basic knowledge into novel strategies to treat psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and substance use disorder. My group also has a great interest in understanding the molecular, cellular and neural circuit mechanisms by which environmental factors and chronic drug exposure alter behavior. Our research is based on the combination of interdisciplinary approaches ranging from computer structural modeling and molecular pharmacology in cell culture to neurochemistry, epigenetics, mouse behavioral assays relevant to psychiatric disorders, and functional testing in postmortem human brain samples. Ultimately, our goal is to use this basic knowledge to develop new approaches for treatment and prevention of psychiatric disorders.


Matt Johnson, PhD

Johns Hopkins University

Human Behavioral Pharmacology and Therapeutics of Psilocybin

This talk will review the behavioral pharmacology and treatment of substance use disorders with psilocybin and other classic psychedelics (5HT2A agonists). Early research from the 1950s to 1970s investigated classic psychedelics, primarily LSD, in the treatment of alcoholism and cancer-related distress. Over the last 20 years research has once again investigated psychedelics in the treatment of psychiatric disorders including substance use disorders, cancer-related distress, and depression. This talk will provide a current description of this work as well as a vision for the future.


David Olson, PhD

University of California Davis

Psychedelics and Related Plasticity-Promoting Neurotherapeutics

Cortical atrophy plays a key role in the pathophysiology of many neuropsychiatric diseases including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorder. Recently, our group discovered that psychedelic natural products and related compounds, such as LSD, DMT, and ibogaine, are psychoplastogens—small molecules capable of rapidly promoting structural and functional neural plasticity. Furthermore, through careful chemical design, we have engineered non-hallucinogenic psychoplastogens that produce similar sustained therapeutic behavioral effects after a single administration. Psychedelics and other psychoplastogens have inspired our medicinal chemistry efforts to develop safer and more effective neurotherapeutics, and they serve as key chemical tools in our studies to understand the fundamental biochemical mechanisms that give rise to neural plasticity.


Berra Yazar-Klosinski, PhD

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

Risk/Benefit Profile of MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Treatment of PTSD

MDMA-assisted therapy is efficacious in treating PTSD with a favorable safety profile based on pooled data from six Phase 2 trials and one multicenter international Phase 3 clinical trial. The neurobiological effects of MDMA support a plausible therapeutic mechanism of action in the context of PTSD. Toxicology studies intended to support registration demonstrate that MDMA is unlikely to pose genotoxicity or teratogenicity/fetotoxicity in early pregnancy, and single-dose administration mitigates concerns of neurotoxicity. Review of preclinical, epidemiological, and clinical data indicate that while MDMA has some abuse potential, this is lower than medications such as cocaine or amphetamine.

Virtual Posters

Eddy Barrera

CUNY The Graduate Center
The role of CRFR1 in heroin self-administration | View Poster

Jasmin Beaver

Kent State University
Investigating the Effects of PMAT Deficiency on Cocaine- and Amphetamine-Induced Locomotor Sensitization | View Poster

Madhurima Das

Synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of N-substituted 6,7-benzomorphans | View Poster | Video Presentation

Rebecca Hill

University of North Texas Health Science Center
Locomotor and Discriminative Stimulus Effects of Six Synthetic Cathinones | View Poster

Acacia Nawrocik-Madrid

UT Health Science Center San Antonio
A Rapid Procedure to Assess Shifts in Discriminative Control over Drinking During Recovery-Like Behavior. | View Poster | Video Presentation

Ritu Shetty

University of North Texas Health Science Center
Abuse liability and behavior pharmacology profiles of six cannabinoid compounds | View Poster

Kara Thomas

Texas A&M University
Developmental Toxicity of Maternal, Paternal, and Dual Parental Alcohol Consumption and the Long-term Effects on Offspring Growth, Craniofacial, and Neurological Development | View Poster