2009 NCRG Scientific Achievement Awards Honor Scientists From University Of Minnesota And University Of Amsterdam

Researchers Recognized for Exceptional Work in the Field of Gambling Disorders

Nov 16, 2009

LAS VEGAS—Dr. Jon Grant, a leading international expert on the course and treatment of gambling disorders, and Dr. Anna Goudriaan, a rising expert in the neurocognitive bases of pathological gambling, will be honored today with the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) Scientific Achievement Awards in the Senior Investigator and Young Investigator categories, respectively. The NCRG Scientific Achievement Awards annually recognize scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the field of gambling research.

“The body of scientific evidence on gambling disorders has grown both in scope and in specificity over the last decade, and the impressive work of Drs. Grant and Goudriaan has been an important part of increasing our understanding of gambling disorders,” said Glenn Christenson, chairman of the NCRG. “We are pleased to honor them today for their extraordinary work in advancing this field of research, and we look forward to seeing them continue to break new ground in the future.”

The Senior Investigator Award honors individuals whose body of research has significantly advanced the field of gambling research. Grant, J.D., M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School, has become internationally recognized for his research on the treatment of pathological gambling. He published the first controlled study of the drug N-acetyl cysteine as a treatment for gambling disorders and was the lead author on pivotal clinical trials of opioid antagonists, drugs used to blunt the craving for gambling, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of antidepressant drugs.

“In the field of gambling research, past or present, no other investigator has documented the onset, clinical course and co-morbidity of gambling disorders more extensively or exhaustively than Dr. Grant,” said Dr. S.W. Kim of the university of Minnesota Medical School in his letter nominating Grant for the Senior Investigator Award. “This is critical because without in-depth understanding of the nature of illness-expression, it is nearly impossible to discern the subsets within the broadly defined disorder called pathological gambling disorder.”

Grant is only the second investigator since their inception to receive NCRG Scientific Achievement Awards in both the Senior Investigator and Young Investigator categories. Grant is the director of the NCRG Center of Excellence in Gambling Research at the University of Minnesota, which is focusing on developing a model of impulsivity that will enable the identification of young adults at risk for developing pathological gambling.

He has published more than 135 articles in prestigious scientific journals and is the author of a number of books, includingImpulse Control Disorders: A Clinician’s Guide to Understanding and Treating Behavioral Addictions(Norton Press, 2008) and, with Kim,Stop Me Because I Can’t Stop Myself: Taking Control of Impulsive Behavior(McGraw-Hill Press, 2002).

The Young Investigator Award recognizes excellence in scientific contributions to the gambling field by a researcher whose terminal degree, such as the Ph.D. or M.D., was received within the past 10 years. Goudriaan, Ph.D., a senior researcher at the University of Amsterdam, already has published a broad range of articles focusing not only on neurocognitive and neuroimaging studies, but also on epidemiological research. One example is her study titled “Gambling Patterns and Problems: A Longitudinal Study of Change in Gambling Patterns in a College Student Sample,” which was funded by a 2006 New Investigator Grant from the NCRG.

In his nomination letter, Dr. Ken Sher of the University of Missouri wrote that Goudriaan “is clearly on a track to becoming one of the leading psychologists interested in the neurocognitive bases of pathological gambling and other disorders characterized by disinhibition.”

In 2009, Goudriaan received the Young Investigator Presentation Award from the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 50 for the symposium presentation “Neurocognitive Function as Predictors of Addictive Behavior in Gamblers and Alcohol Users,” which she presented at the APA Convention in 2009.

Recipients of the 2009 NCRG Scientific Achievement Awards were selected by an independent committee of distinguished leaders in the field of addictions and gambling research.

The NCRG Scientific Achievement Awards will be presented today at a luncheon during the NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction. For more information on the awards and the conference, visitwww.ncrg.org.

The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) is the only national organization exclusively devoted to funding research that helps increase understanding of pathological and youth gambling and find effective methods of treatment for the disorder. Founded in 1996 as a 501(c)3 charitable organization, the NCRG is the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) affiliated charity. For more information, visitwww.ncrg.org. NCRG funds provide grants to researchers to increase understanding of pathological gambling and find effective methods of treatment for the disorder. The funds are distributed through the Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders, an independent program of the NCRG. For more information, visitwww.gamblingdisorders.org.