Addiction science research has largely focused on the direct effects of drugs on the brain, but evidence is accumulating that brain gut microbiome interactions play a role in many devastating substance use disorders, including alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder and stimulant use disorder.
By gaining a better understanding of the underlying mechanism, investigators in this program will also be able to explore the possibilities of supporting or modifying the biome to treat addiction, and of using it as a prognostic tool to identify patients at high risk for dependence and relapse.
As many of the neural pathways underlying substance use disorder are common to mood disorders and other addictions, such as food and gambling, this work holds the promise of broader benefits.
Jennifer A. Fulcher, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Infectious Diseases Section, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System