Skip to Content

New Center to Explore the Brain Science behind Addiction

3D illustration of human head with brain highlighted

A new University of Minnesota center aims to transform researchers’ ability to discover how the brain changes with addiction.

The Center for Neural Circuits in Addiction brings together a team of researchers from across disciplines to create tools for measuring and intervening in the neural circuits that addiction affects. The center will also provide expertise and training to help researchers in the University and beyond use these innovations to develop new treatments for addiction.

The center is funded by a $9.9 million grant from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, with additional funding from the state-funded Medical Discovery Teams and MnDRIVE Brain Conditions research initiatives.

Mark Thomas, PhD, professor of neuroscience in the Medical School and director of the Medical Discovery Team on Addiction, said the new center will help raise awareness that addiction does not represent a failure of an individual’s moral character or willpower—instead, it stems from a biological basis and needs to be treated as a chronic, brain-based condition. 

“Addiction and relapse result from changes to neural circuits through repeated exposure to drugs in some people,” Thomas said in a news release. “The center will enable researchers and scientist-clinicians to better understand how the circuits that control emotions, motivation, and decision-making are altered by addiction and recovery. This is essential to finding new, more effective therapies.”

An estimated 450,000 to 500,000 Minnesotans struggle with a substance use disorder, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

See the news release for more about the new center.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a writer with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

coss@umn.edu

Latest Blog Posts

Dr. Friedemann-Sanchez and Dr. Grieve sitting at a table together.

In 2018, two University of Minnesota researchers traveled to a United Nations council meeting to advocate for changes to address an epidemic of violence against women in Colombia.

Read More
Senior man speaks with a health care provider while looking at a digital display

Researchers aim to help train pharmacists and educate patients with the goal of improving medication outcomes for groups with higher rates of kidney failure.

Read More
Sironix banner in a laboratory space

Sironix Renewables uses a patented method to make nontoxic, sustainably-sourced surfactants that replace their counterparts made from petroleum.

Read More
Border crossing checkpoint from Mexico to US

As an expert witness on federal immigration court cases, Patrick McNamara provides insight into violence directly and indirectly related to drug cartels.

Read More