Catharine Winstanley, Ph.d. And Linda B. Cottler, Ph.d., M.p.h To Receive 2014 NCRG Scientific Achievement Award

NCRG Gives First-ever Award for an Educator for their Scientific Work and Leadership in the Field

Sep 29, 2014

LAS VEGAS – The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) has announced that Catharine Winstanley, Ph.D., and Linda B. Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., have been named recipients of the 2014 Scientific Achievement Award. These two renowned researchers are being recognized today for their invaluable contributions to the field of research for gambling disorder and responsible gaming at the 15thannual NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction at The Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

“Drs. Winstanley and Cottler are incredibly deserving of the NCRG Scientific Achievement Award,” said NCRG Chairman Alan Feldman, executive vice president of global government and industry affairs at MGM Resorts International. “Their pioneering work and dedication to mentoring young investigators has shown true leadership in this field, and the NCRG is grateful to have worked with both of them.”

Dr. Winstanley, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia, is recognized internationally as an expert in the study of impulsivity and gambling-related decision-making. She is among the first scientists to focus on modeling gambling processes in laboratory animals in a manner that reflects the decision-making processes experienced by humans when they gamble.

Her first project in this regard was to develop a rodent version of the Iowa Gambling Task, a process used by many groups to study decision-making under uncertainty in clinical populations. Dr. Winstanley’s pioneering studies concluded that rats were able to successfully learn to “play the odds” in a gambling task, effectively modeling human gambling behavior. The first results using this rat gambling task indicated that decision-making could be modulated by serotonergic and dopaminergic compounds. These findings, published in the high-impact journalNeuropsychopharmacology,have been cited more than 75 times, and this specific research method is being used by multiple groups throughout the world to probe the biological basis of gambling-related decision-making.

Dr. Winstanley’s creative and innovative work will help answer key questions about the causes and treatment of gambling disorder in a way that will eventually inform and complement research on humans.

For the first time, the NCRG is honoring an educator who has contributed to the field of gambling disorder in a variety of ways. Dr. Linda B. Cottler, Associate Dean for Research and Planning, College of Public Health and Health Professions, Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine, University of Florida, has been a pivotal figure in the development of the field of gambling disorder, and her successful mentorship of young investigators has contributed to the NCRG’s adoption of special grant categories for early stage investigators.

Dr. Cottler is being recognized for a number of accomplishments in the field of gambling disorder, including mentorship of young investigators and service to the field. She was a leading investigator of the 1981 Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study of mental disorders, which was among the first to provide substantial evidence for the high rate of co-occurring psychiatric disorders with gambling disorder. She was a member of the National Research Council committee, the group that wrote the seminal review of the state of the field.

One of the most impressive features of Dr. Cottler’s service to the field is her work as a member of the NCRG Scientific Advisory Board since 1998 and her time as chairwoman from 2009 – 2013. Dr. Cottler also has mentored some of the most successful young investigators to develop research programs on gambling disorder. These mentorships contributed to the NCRG’s adoption of special grant categories for early stage investigators. To this day, she continues to encourage her young investigators to focus on gambling disorder, thus helping ensure the next generation of gambling researchers.

Previous recipients of the NCRG’s Scientific Achievement Award include leaders in this field, such as Alex Blaszczynski, Ph.D.; Renee Cunningham-Williams, Ph.D., M.P.E., L.C.S.W.; Robert Custer, M.D.; Jeffrey Derevensky, Ph.D., Jon E. Grant, J.D., M.D., M.P.H.; Rina Gupta, Ph.D.; David C. Hodgins, Ph.D.; Robert Ladouceur, Ph.D.; Nancy Petry, Ph.D.; Marc N. Potenza, M.D., Ph.D.; Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S.; Wendy S. Slutske, Ph.D.; Randy Stinchfield, Ph.D., L.P.; Ken C. Winters, Ph.D.; and Suck Won Kim, M.D.

For NCRG Conference updates, including on-site reporting about the sessions and audio posts from leading researchers and industry representatives, visit the NCRG’s blog –Gambling Disorders 360°– and connect with the NCRG onFacebookandTwitter.