Course Description

Despite significant advances made in our understanding of neurobiological mechanisms that increase risk for substance use disorders (SUD), the knowledge amassed in neuroscience and related biomedical fields has not been effectively transferred or applied to the prevention of SUD. Considering findings from neuroscience in prevention research and practice—embraced in a new line of work called “neuro-prevention”—will help to answer an outstanding question in prevention: What types of intervention work best for whom, why, and under what circumstances? The Program for Translational Research on Adversity and Neurodevelopment (P-TRAN) symposium series convened investigators whose work is or could be aligned with a translational neuroscience approach to developing more effective interventions to disrupt pathways to SUD’s. The series convened substance use investigators and trainees from biomedical/neuroscience and prevention science with invested stakeholders and funders to advance a transdisciplinary and translational approach to the more effective prevention of SUD. It was funded by a NIDA R13 conference grant and led by Drs. Emma Jane Rose and Diana Fishbein at Pennsylvania State University.


The series began with a discussion of relevant findings from neuroscience and biomedical fields that provide a blueprint for development of adaptive intervention strategies to more specifically target underlying generators of the phenomenon we seek to prevent.  Methodological advances are presented that enable optimization of programs and clinical trials to compare personalized intervention models to one-size-fits-all” programs.  And third, effective approaches to translate the science to end-users (e.g., program developers, implementation specialists, evaluators, agency and organizational audiences, and policymakers) are placed in the context of applied and policy-relevant format to more maximally benefit program recipients.

*Marc Potenza’s disclosure of potential conflicts of interest: Consultant to Game Day Data, Addiction Policy Forum, Opiant and Idorsia; Research grants from National Center for Responsible Gaming and Mohegan Sun and Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling; Consultant to Gambling and Legal Entities on issues related to impulse control disorder

Course Curriculum

6 Continuing Education Credits

    1. Session 1.1: Dr. Susan Andersen (Harvard) – Using mechanisms of substance dependence to identifying risk and intervention: Insight from preclinical studies

    2. Session 1.2: Dr. Scott Bunce (Penn State University) – Translational neuroimaging to estimate relapse vulnerability: Using what we know about the brain in addiction to learn what we do not

    3. Session 1 Quiz

    1. Session 2.1: Dr. Marc Potenza (Yale University School of Medicine) – Neuroimaging and biomarkers in addiction treatment

    2. Session 2.2: Dr. Rajita Sinha (Yale University School of Medicine) – Substance abuse relapse related to adversity, trauma, and altered stress neural and biobehavioral responses

    3. Session 2 Quiz

    1. Session 3.1: Dr. Velma McBride Murry (Vanderbilt) – Translating research into preventive interventions: Enhancing protective processes in African American families

    2. Session 3.2: Dr. Leslie Leve (U. Oregon) - Intervention outcomes for women with prior correctional system involvement: Early adversity and biological indicators of health

    3. Session 3 Quiz

    1. Course Evaluation

Course Highlights

  • $150.00
  • 10 lessons
  • 7 hours of video content
  • 6 Continuing Education Credits

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the importance of targeting substance use disorder prevention approaches to specific aspects of behavioral, affective, cognitive and neural functioning in order to better target underlying mechanisms of addiction and identify individuals at high risk for developing substance use disorder.

  • Describe the importance of targeting substance use disorder treatment approaches to specific aspects of behavioral, affective, cognitive and neural functioning in order to better target underlying mechanisms of addiction and identify individuals at high risk for poor treatment outcomes including relapse.

  • Explain how patterns of neural connectivity and neural response are associated with risk for substance use disorder and behavioral addictions.

  • Explain how changes to the brain are associated with response to preventive interventions and substance use disorder treatment.

  • Identify at least two promising approaches to preventing substance use disorder among high-risk individuals that are supported by neuroscience findings.

  • Identify at least two promising approaches to treating substance use disorder that are supported by neuroscience findings.


  • Diana Fishbein, Ph.D.

    Director of Translational Prevention Research, FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina; Research Faculty, Human Development and Family Studies and Affiliate of the Prevention Research Center, Pennsylvania State University; President and Co-Director of the National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives

  • Susan Andersen Ph.D.

    Former Director of the Laboratory of Developmental Neuropharmacology at McLean Hospital; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

  • Scott Bunce, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Pennsylvania State University

  • Marc Potenza, Ph.D.

    Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study Center and of Neuroscience; Director, Center of Excellence in Gambling Research; Director, Yale Program for Research on Impulsivity and Impulse Control Disorders; Director, Women and Addictive Disorders, Women's Health Research at Yale

  • Rajita Sinha, Ph.D.

    Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neuroscience; Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center; Chief, Psychology Section in Psychiatry; Co-director of Education, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation

  • Velma McBride Murry, Ph.D.

    Lois Audrey Betts Chair, Education and Human Development; University Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development; University Professor, Health Policy, Vanderbilt University

  • Leslie Leve Ph.D.

    Lorry Lokey Chair, Professor; Associate Director, Prevention Science Institute; Associate Vice President for Research College of Education, Counseling Psychology, Family and Human Services, Prevention Science, University of Oregon

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