Principal Investigator: Gene Brody
Funding Agencies: NIDA
Project Period: 2014-2019
In what ways does stress “get under the skin” to influence individuals’ development and increase vulnerability to drug use and sexual risk behaviors?
CTAPS is a Core Center of Excellence funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The overall mission is to gain a better understanding of the development of drug use and sexual risk behavior among children, adolescents, and young adults. Most of this research about these important public health concerns has focused primarily on the environmental contexts in which youth spend time: families, peer groups, neighborhoods, and schools. An impressive body of research has been generated that describes how these influences either deter or create risks for drug use and sexual risk behavior. Other important factors, however, are missing, ones that are critical for understanding why some youth abstain from risk behavior and others develop serious problems that can lead to drug abuse and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. These factors are invisible to the naked eye because they take place “under the skin” of children and youth in response to repeated and prolonged stress. I am talking about the ways in which inflammatory, neuro-endocrine, and neurocognitive systems change as children and youth adapt to stress. The CTAPS community believes that looking at children and youths’ social worlds in concert with inflammatory and neuroscience systems will provide new insights into the development of drug use and abuse and risky behavior and lead to a new generation of prevention programs. CTAPS is a transdisciplinary effort that includes a team of scientists from departments of Psychology, Prevention Science, Public Health, Social Work, and Psychiatry. These investigators are located in universities throughout North American including the University of Georgia, Emory University, Northwestern University, the University of California -Los Angeles, the University of Houston, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, McMaster University (Canada), the University of North Carolina, the University of Iowa, and Howard University. To learn more about CTAPS, please visit www.ctaps.uga.edu.