CIRNA | Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction


Administrative Core

The Administrative Core has overall responsibility for effective coordination, monitoring, and evaluation - activities that are central to the success of the CIRNA. A key part of the coordinating role is supporting, stimulating, and reinforcing transdisciplinary learning and collaboration in nicotine addiction research among its participants. Core Directors: Caryn Lerman, Ph.D. & Angela Pinto, MBA

Biospecimen and Genotyping Core

To support the CIRNA projects and to provide a resource to the broader scientific community, the Biospecimen and Genotyping Core (BGC) will: (1) standardize the collection, processing, and storage of biospecimens from animal and human projects in the CIRNA; (2) implement a prospective system for tracking samples in the biospecimen repository and integrate these data with the current repository of ~3,000 human specimens (including ~2,000 DNA specimens with clinical smoking data); (3) perform gene expression assays for preclinical experiments (Project 1); (4) perform genotyping for polymorphisms hypothesized to contribute to abstinence symptoms or medication effects, including molecular target genes identified in the preclinical studies (using samples from  Projects 2 and 3, and specimens and clinical data in the CIRNA repository); and (5) contribute to the career development mission of CIRNA by providing training opportunities for postdoctoral fellows and faculty in molecular biology and genetics. The BGC will also work with the Data Management and Biostatistics Core to integrate genotypic and phenotypic data, and to implement the CIRNA data sharing plan. The centralized sample processing and tracking strategy for all projects will increase efficiency and reduce the cost of undertaking the individual projects. All of these processes will occur within the context of extensive quality control procedures to ensure that the data provided to CIRNA investigators and to the scientific community are of the highest quality and accuracy. Core Director: Angela Pinto, MBA

Data Management and Biostatistics Core

The Data Management and Biostatistics Core (DMBC) will serve a key bridging function for the CIRNA, encompassing the fields of data management, clinical informatics, and biostatistics. Developing a comprehensive approach will enable CIRNA investigators to utilize vast amounts of research and clinical data by creating unified data models, standardizing data interfaces, and capturing detailed "metadata" for investigators' research projects. The members of the DMBC have demonstrated their ability to manage large-scale smoking cessation and neuroimaging projects, and to incorporate rigorous quality assurance procedures that ensure integrity, security, and privacy of data.  The specific aims of the DMBC are: (1) to design and maintain a distributed data management system for CIRNA projects; (2) to create and maintain a data repository of genotypic and phenotypic data to facilitate cross-project analyses and data sharing within and outside the CIRNA; (3) to provide biostatistical support to CIRNA investigators; and (4) to develop new statistical methodologies in addiction research.  This centralized strategy will increase efficiency and reduce the cost of undertaking the individual research projects. Core Director: E. Paul Wileyto, Ph.D.

Career Development Core

The overall goal of the Career Development Core (CDC) is to provide interdisciplinary training in nicotine addiction research for undergraduates, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty, to facilitate their career development. The training program provides a challenging and unique venue for new investigators and trainees to pursue nicotine dependence research in an interdisciplinary environment. While the career development mission of the CIRNA addresses nicotine and addiction research more broadly, special emphasis will be placed on research consistent with the CIRNA theme, such as translational research on nicotine abstinence and pharmacotherapy.

Specific goals of the Career Development Core are: (1) recruit and train postdoctoral fellows who are dedicated to developing a career in nicotine addiction research, (2) provide a multidisciplinary co-mentored training experience resulting in independent (mentored) research, (3) offer seminars, workshops, and didactic training in nicotine research, (4) facilitate manuscript and grant application preparation, and (5) solicit, select, and fund promising pilot proposals on nicotine addiction research among postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty to facilitate subsequent grant submissions and career development. Core Directors: Janet Audrain-McGovern, Ph.D. Robert Schnoll, Ph.D.