The NCRG Awards More Than $545,000 In 2011 To Study Gambling Disorders

In the final months of 2011, the NCRG’s Scientific Advisory Board and peer-review panels poured over applications for the Large Grants and Early Stage Investigator Grants to round out the year for NCRG-funded research opportunities. After careful consideration, the Scientific Advisory Board narrowed the candidates down and selected cutting-edge research studies using brain imaging, drug trials, social network analysis and brief interventions. We are pleased to announce the researchers that will receive a piece of $545,298 in NCRG research grant funding to support new projects that will help to improve methods of diagnosis, intervention, treatment and prevention of gambling disorders.

The NCRG’s 2011 grants were awarded for the following research projects:


  • T. Celeste Napier, Ph.D., from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Ill., was awarded $28,750 to identify the potential for repurposing the atypical antidepressant, mirtazapine, as a pharmacological intervention for reducing risk-behavior and/or preventing a relapse of gambling disorders. The proposed experiments should also indicate if this drug may be useful for relatively brief interventions for persons with subclinical gambling disorders.


  • Adam Goodie, Ph.D., from the University of Georgia was awarded $172,487. This study will use a social network analysis (SNA) to investigate the role of a gambler’s social network in his or her gambling-related pathology. Dr. Goodie and his colleagues will use the NCRG grant to analyze the impact of network members’ gambling behavior, personality measures and substance use to explain individual participants’ gambling severity. This study will expand upon the pilot data collected as part of an NCRG-funded project that explored the roles of personality and substance use behavioral variables in pathological gambling.
  • John O’Doherty, Ph.D., from the California Institute of Technology was awarded $172,500 to investigate the nature of learning within the brain circuitry involved in response to rewarding and punishing events in patients diagnosed with pathological gambling. The researchers will study patterns of neural activity while pathological gamblers – and a comparison group of recreational gamblers – perform simple tasks in which they can learn to make choices in order to obtain monetary gains and avoid losses. Dr. O’Doherty and his colleagues hope to learn what neurological factors are involved in responses to rewarding and punishing events for people with gambling problems.


  • Clayton Neighbors, Ph.D., from the University of Houston was awarded $171,571 to develop and test anonline screening and brief intervention (SBI)aimed at reducing gambling-related problems among college students. The SBI will be included, the NCRG’s online resource that was developed to help higher-education institutions address gambling disorders and responsible gaming on campus.

We are excited to learn more from these researchers and read the results of their study findings in the future. All of the research proposals were reviewed by independent peer-review panels of distinguished scientists in the field to ensure that only the highest quality research is funded before those reviews were passed to the Scientific Advisory Board for final approvals.

The 2012 Call for Research Applications will be announced in the coming weeks on theNCRG’s Research Center. Make sure to check the NCRG’s website for more information, as well asGambling Disorders 360˚,FacebookandTwitter.

Would you like more information about the research that has received funding from the NCRG? Please leave your name and comments in the section below!

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