Hi, Thanks for visiting our website. My name is Stephen Heishman. I’m the Director of the Office of Education and Career Development at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The NIDA Intramural Research Program is the largest drug abuse research facility in the world. As you read about NIDA’s research programs, I’d like to encourage you to consider one of these training opportunities we offer. The summer internship program is open to high school, undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. The post-baccalaureate program is for college graduates who want to take 1-2 years off before applying to graduate or medical school. The graduate partnership program is for students already in grad school, and the postdoctoral fellowship is for those students who have completed their MD or PHD degrees.
At NIDA, you will be able to work with some of the leading investigators in the field of drug abuse on cutting-edge research. In 2008, we moved into a new building that has state-of-the-art laboratories and research facilities that allow us to investigate all facets of drug abuse, such as molecular and cellular mechanisms of drug actions, animal and human models of addiction, and clinical treatment. Let me give you a few examples. Using magnetic resonance imaging technology, investigators in our Neuroimaging Branch are probing the brain’s structure, function, and biochemistry in both healthy individuals and in those addicted to cocaine, nicotine, and other drugs. We have a multiphoton microscope that allows 3-D imaging of neurons located deep in the brain of a living animal. This will enable us for the first time to study how subcellular molecules as well as neuronal circuits are changed in response to drugs of abuse in real time. We have recently established an optogenetics core facility. Optogenetics allows us to use specific wavelengths of light to alter a cell’s function by using genetically encoded, light-sensitive proteins. So, for example, we can activate or inactivate a specific type of neuron that is part of neural circuit and examine how that affect its response to a drug.
I would be happy to talk with you about your training and career goals, so please don’t hesitate to contact me. My email address and phone number are on the webpage. ( ) Or you can directly contact one of the NIDA investigators about their research and potential training opportunities they might have in their labs. You can find a list of investigators under the “Organization” menu. Thanks again for you interest in joining us at NIDA. I wish you all the best in your path toward a scientific career.