Project Summary

Principal Investigator: Steven Beach
Funding agency: NIDA
Project Period: 2020-2025

The Center for Translational and Prevention Science, an NIH P50 Research Center of Excellence within the Center for Family Research, is designed to transform scientific understanding regarding the causes and prevention of addictive behaviors by investigating (a) the biological and neurocognitive contributors to addictive behaviors that drive many drug use and health disparities African Americans’ experience and (b) the potential of family-centered prevention programming to ameliorate the influence of growing up in chronically stressful contexts. Our neuroimmune network (NIN) model specifies stress-induced alterations in the transactions between peripheral inflammation and neurocognitive systems that subserve emotion regulation in the development of addictive behavior vulnerability.

Leveraging an established team of investigators from diverse disciplines, CTAPS will connect P50 research project (RP) and pilot study investigators to intellectual resources, wet labs, and state-of-the-science facilities for imaging data collection and processing. Three innovative, thematically integrated RPs are underway:

  • RP1 (HARP Transitions) provides an in-depth assessment on neural activity and inflammation and comprises a “deep dive” into mechanistic hypotheses suggested by the NIN model through a two-wave study spanning 2.5 years of African American emerging adults, ages 18-20 at baseline. Data collection includes bioimaging of NIN-related neural systems, assay of peripheral inflammation, and measures of stress exposure and addictive behaviors.
  • RP2 (HARP Foundations) conducts a pioneering longitudinal, two-year experimental trial that includes baseline and follow-up assessments with fMRI, inflammatory, and behavioral data with 300 African American youth at age 11 and their primary caregivers. This study will be able to examine empirically the underlying biological mechanisms for the multi-level benefits of family-centered prevention programming that emerged during our P30 grant period.
  • RP3 (HARP Generations) tests hypotheses about the ways in which the resources and risks that grandparents and parents experience carry forward to shape the development of addictive behavior vulnerabilities and cardiometabolic risks in future generations. From a sample of African American families who have participated in a longitudinal study spanning 18 years, this study will collect data on parent-child relationships, inflammation, and behavior and emotion regulation indicators suggested by the NIN model; early-warning signs for addictive behavior vulnerability and cardiometabolic risk markers will also be assessed.