Principal Investigator: Jeremiah Weinstock, PhD, Saint Louis University
Awarded $168,824 in 2013

Aim: Examine the conceptualization of pathological gambling as an addiction and elucidate common etiological factors and pathways to addiction.

Rash, C., Weinstock, J., & Van Patten, R. (2016). A review of gambling disorder and substance use disorders. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 7, 3-13.

Principal Investigator: Andrew Kayser, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
Awarded $172,500 in 2013

Aim: Evaluate a novel translational (and potentially therapeutic) approach for gambling disorder: inhibitors of the dopamine-degrading enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT). Several COMT-inhibitor drugs are already FDA-approved, and can be readily tested in human subjects.

Principal Investigator: Scott A. Huettel, PhD, Duke University
Awarded $172,358 in 2013

Aim: Test the hypothesis that (a) that social context acts to amplify value signals associated with positive reward during risky decision making, and (b) that this amplifying effect is greater in adolescents.

Kwak, Y., Payne, J. W., Cohen, A. L., & Huettel, S. A. (2015). The rational adolescent: Strategic information processing during decision making revealed by eye tracking. Cognitive Development, 36, 20-30.

Principal Investigator: Matthew Martens, PhD, University of Missouri, Columbia
Awarded $171,350 in 2013

Aim: Test the efficacy of a novel Brief Motivational Intervention (BMI) designed to reduce gambling among college students and delivered via smartphone devices (i.e., cell phones with comprehensive web applications) and Short Messaging Service (SMS) technology.

Principal Investigator: Katherine Nautiyal, PhD, Columbia University and Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc.
Awarded $147,706 in 2013

Aim: Determine the role played by the serotonin 1B receptor in the development of impulsive behavior through a mouse gambling behavioral model.

Nautiyal, K.M., Tanaka, K.F., Barr, M.M., Tritschler, L., Le Dantec, Y., David, D.J., Gardier, A.M.,  Blanco, C., Hen, R., & Ahmari, S.E.(2015). Distinct Circuits Underlie the Effects of 5-HT1B Receptors on Aggression and Impulsivity, Neuron 86 (3), 813-826. htttp://

Nautiyal, K., Wang, S., Wall, M., Ahmari, S., Balsam, P., Blanco, C., & Hen, R. (2015). Biological and Behavioral Dissection of the Role of the Serotonin 1B Receptor in Impulsivity. Neuropsychopharmacology, 40, pp. S305-S305

Principal Investigator: Caitlin A. Orsini, PhD, University of Florida
Awarded $28,750 in 2013

Aim: Determine whether elevated risk-taking is a pre-disposing factor to developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms following trauma using a rat model.

Principal Investigator: David Kearns, PhD, American University
Awarded $28,750 in 2013

Aim: Develop an animal model in which potential precipitators of relapse can be investigated. The animal model of relapse will not only provide information about the causes, but it will also set the stage for future research that tests behavioral and pharmacological interventions designed to prevent relapse.

Connolly N.P, Kim, J.S, Tunstall, B.J., & Kearns, D.N. (2015). A test of stress, cues, and re-exposure to large wins as potential reinstaters of suboptimal decision making in rats. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 394. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00394

Principal Investigator: Kyle Siler, PhD, McMaster University
Awarded $27,536.75 in 2013

Aim: Investigate whether more skilled online poker players will exhibit greater emotional control and strategic consistency following large wins and losses than their less skilled counterparts, whether lucky or unlucky.

Principal Investigator: Amanda Persons, PhD, Rush University Medical Center
Awarded $1,500 in 2013

The Travel Grant supported Dr. Person’s participation in the poster session at the 2013 meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD). She reported on research, funded by the NCRG, revealing that mirtazapine, an atypical antidepressant, reduced risk-taking behavior in rats.

Principal Investigator: Guillaume Sescousse, PhD, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, the Netherlands
Awarded $1,500 in 2013

The Travel Grant supported Dr. Sescousee’s participation as a speaker at the 2013 meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. His research suggests a distorted sensitivity to reward in disordered gamblers. From a clinical perspective, the findings suggest that enhancing the prominence of non-monetary rewards may be a fruitful strategy as part of a therapeutic approach.