Post-Doctoral Training

Translational Careers:

Science Magazine for careers in clinical and translational research: From 2008 through 2011, with generous support from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Science Careers posted some 60+ articles focused on careers in clinical and translational research. Since then, we have continued to update the collection with new articles. This cache of articles and podcasts remains, we believe, the best single source of information about careers in these important scientific fields.


Post-Doctoral Translational Training:


Brown University, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies: The Center provides postdoctoral training that prepares fellows to conduct high quality clinical and pre-clinical substance abuse research. Key research programs at the Center include laboratory studies of tobacco and marijuana use; behavioral and pharmacolgic intervention studies with smokers and substance abusers; effects of prenatal exposure to substances; and studies of intervention mechanisms (using a range of methods including electronic diaries, cue reactivity, behavioral economics, genetic markers, and fMRI). Fellows will be trained in conjunction with an existing NIAAA postdoctoral research program; in this integrated training program, a total of 14 fellows participate in a structured didactic seminar series, supervised research experience, and an intensive mentored grant-writing process. The Center's primary research focus is the discovery of more effective treatments and early interventions for alcohol and drug abuse. 

Program Director: Damaris J. Rohsenow, PhD

Training Director: Suzanne M. Colby, PhD

Training Coordinator: Jayne Hawthorne

Columbia University

  1. This is a post-doctoral training program focusing on the neural mechanisms underlying drug dependence. Studies will range from genetic analysis, synaptic plasticity, circuitry, second messenger systems, and characterization of the actions of receptors, transporters, and ion conductances, and explore the pathways of receptor and transporter regulation, neuritic pruning, modes of neuronal and glial cell death, and to establish pathways that may provide for regeneration. The ultimate goal of this program is to train the next generation of scientists to examine the effects of drug abuse. Project Director: David Sulzer, PhD

  2. Post-doctoral training program for physicians and psychologists interested in pursuing research careers in substance abuse. The primary goal is to provide future research and academic psychiatrists and other clinicians with the research skills and clinical expertise to play substantive roles in advancing knowledge about the etiology and treatment of substance use disorders. Research fields include basic neuroscience, genetics, epidemiology, behavioral pharmacology, epidemiology, psychopharmacology, clinical trials and treatment research. Project Director: Frances Levin, MD


The Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit (BPRU) at Johns Hopkins University offers diverse postdoctoral training in the human behavioral pharmacology of substance abuse and its treatment, with an emphasis on clinical trials. Areas of supervised research and publication training experience include: clinical trials of pharmacological and behavioral treatments, and their integration; incentive-based contingency management interventions; human laboratory studies of drug effects on behavior and cognition, drug self-administration, abuse liability assessment, and medications development. Drug categories under study include: opioids, cocaine/stimulants, sedative/anxiolytics, marijuana, psychedelics, alcohol, tobacco/nicotine, and caffeine. Project Director: George Bigelow, PhD


McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center

  1. Multidisciplinary postdoctoral training in clinical, preclinical, basic and treatment-related research on drug abuse is provided by faculty at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center. Trainees may participate in studies of behavioral pharmacology, neuroendocrinology, neurobiology, evaluation of novel analgesics, and brain imaging (MRI, MRS, fMRS). This research program also offers training in medical chemistry to develop novel medications, and in clinical and preclinical evaluations of the safety and effectiveness of new medications for drug abuse treatment. This Center focuses on drug abuse problems in women and gender comparisons, including the interactions between abused substances and neuroendocrine hormones. Project Director: Nancy K. Mello, PhD

  2. Postdoctoral training in the field of brain imaging and drug abuse is offered as an integrated, multidisciplinary program jointly supported by the McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine. The primary goal is to provide trainees with skills in brain imaging technology (MRI, MRS, fMRI, EEG) and advanced psychopharmacology to be used in basic science and applied research projects that include: acute intoxicating effects of drugs, cue-induced craving, cognitive effects, withdrawal, sleep disturbances, medication compliance, treatment, medication development as well as translational research between animals and humans. Training includes both formal course work and laboratory rotations via one of four tracks: 1) MR Technology and Instrumentation Track; 2) Basic Clinical Research Track; 3) Clinical Treatment Track; and 4) Translational Research Track. Project Director: Scott E. Lukas, PhD Send CV and statement of research interests to: Wendy Tartarini, McLean Hospital 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478, or email to:


Mount Sinai School of Medicine: This is an interdisciplinary program that seeks to train researchers in the basic understanding and treatment of drug addiction. Our training faculty includes scientists and physicians engaged in both basic science and translational research. The research available to trainees in this program encompasses a wide variety of drugs of abuse (opioids, cannabinoids, cocaine, hallucinogens) as well as a full spectrum of research techniques including emerging techniques in genomics, proteomics, optogenetics and imaging, as well as approaches rooted in computational biology, structural biology, behavioral science, cell biology, molecular neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, molecular biology, functional magnetic resonance imaging and clinical research. Many of the faculty members have ongoing collaborations with each other, facilitating interdisciplinary work by trainees. Project Director: Lakshmi A. Devi, PhD


New York University School of Medicine: Postdoctoral training program emphasizing basic and translational research. Faculty members have active research programs focusing on brain reward mechanisms, molecular biology of opioid receptors, signal transduction in tolerance and dependence, dopamine as an extrasynaptic neurotransmitter, structure, function, and regulation of monoamine transporters, preclinical development of medications against cocaine dependence, noradrenergic mechanisms of stress and psychostimulant effects, and CNS correlates of drug craving in humans. Project Director: Kenneth D. Carr, PhD


University of California, San Francisco: Postdoctoral program in drug abuse treatment and services research. Trainees work with a preceptor to design and implement studies on treatment of drug dependence, including nicotine depdence. Trainees also select a specific area of focus for independent research. Current research interests include trials of efficacy and effectiveness of pychosocial and pharamcologic treatment of drug abuse, including nicotine dependence; adoption of evidence-based practices in addiction treatment programs; instrument development in drug abuse; diagnostic techniques and research on treatment tailored for HIV positive drug abusers and drug abusers with psychiatric and medical disorders; research on provision of services to drug abusing populations; innovative methodology including internet based studies; and treatment of complex patients in innovative settings. Program Director: James L. Sorenson, PhD

Vanderbilt University Medical Center: The purpose of this Joint Program of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College is to appropriately prepare addiction psychiatrists embarking on combined clinical and research careers to engage in multidisciplinary research across the bench to bedside continuum. During this 2-year research training program, trainees will conduct an original interdisciplinary research project involving preceptors from at least two out of four conceptual frameworks (psychiatry, neuroimaging, molecular medicine, and biomedical informatics). They will also complete the required didactics for the Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation. Qualified applicants are either board eligible in Addiction Psychiatry or may complete clinical requirements prior to their research through an accelerated track at the Vanderbilt Department of Psychiatry. Project Director: Peter R. Martin, PhD

Washington University: Multidisciplinary postdoctoral training program in drug abuse research with preceptors from the Department of Psychiatry, and the Division of Biostatistics and Infectious Diseases. Research facilities include a renovated center for genetic and epidemiologic studies with access to inpatients and outpatients of Barnes Jewish, Bliss and Children's Hospitals. Project Director: Theodore J. Cicero, PhD


Yale University

  1. The central theme of the research in this postdoctoral program is the development and evaluation of innovative pharmacology and behavioral treatments for substance abusers. Training can range in areas from molecular neurobiology and genetics to pharmacology and behavioral treatments, psychiatric epidemiology and health services research of drug abuse. This is a rich training environment, faculty with broad interests, many are world-renowned in their field. Project Director: Ismene Petrakis, MD

  2. This postdoctoral training program in Substance Abuse Prevention Research is located within the Division of Prevention and Community Research and The Consultation Center, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine. A combination of didactic, mentored, and independent research experiences over a two-year period is aimed at preparing future prevention scientists for careers as independent investigators with expertise in the development, implementation, and rigorous evaluation of science-based substance abuse prevention research. The program emphasizes three fundamental areas of learning: conceptualization, design, and implementation of research within an ecological framework; process of knowledge development and application in prevention science; and research methodologies. Training includes state-of-the-art quantitative research methods and data analytic approaches, especially for the analysis of longitudinal research designs. Extensive training is also provided on the ethical conduct of research. Program Director: David L. Snow, PhD; Co-Program Director: Jacob K. Tebes, PhD

  3. Yale University has established a T32 program for interdisciplinary training in sciences related to neuroimaging. Neuroimaging technologies and applications today require a broad range of knowledge to establish and employ. The goal of this training program is to use its four postdoctoral training slots to cross-train basic scientists and physicians in technical, mathematical, biological, and administrative areas that are needed for modern neuroimaging studies. Program Director: Graeme Mason, PhD


University of Texas Health Sciences Center: Improving the health of the public demands active bi-directional communication between the populations served and the investigators focused on basic and clinical research questions. This process requires that scientists a) be familiar with the important health care problems in their communities; and b) effectively move knowledge gained from basic investigations into areas of clinical relevance. The process of moving knowledge from basic discovery, to clinical testing and application, to community interventions is known as Translational Science. The goal of the Translational Science Training (TST) Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) is to enhance the quality and scope of the doctoral research experience by offering additional interdisciplinary research training and mentorship in Translational Science.

To add additional training opportunities to this list, email Jessica Bair ( with a brief description.

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