Pills with text: Medical Discovery Team- Addiction

Driven to End Addiction

The University of Minnesota's Medical Discovery Team on Addiction is a multi-departmental endeavor across the University of Minnesota Medical School to advance research and treatment in the field of drug addiction.

We’re solving the mystery of how drugs work. With this knowledge, we can design nonaddictive painkillers. We’re also learning to use brain stimulation to help people recovering from addiction achieve longer periods of abstinence.

Our goal: to ease the suffering caused by drug addiction and heal this tear in the fabric of society.

The overarching vision of the Medical Discovery Team on Addiction is to link basic research to new therapeutic approaches to treating substance abuse. The State of Minnesota has appropriated significant funds over the next ten years for the Medical School to create a world-class, neuroscience-based program for the study and treatment of addiction. 

person holding single pill 


The personal tragedy of Drug Addiction

We know that drug addiction is devastating for the addict, but are not as often exposed to the effects on the family as well. Bridget Duffy, a neuroscience major here at the University of Minnesota, shares a personal story of her brother's struggles with opiate addiction and the impact her brother's addiction had on her family.



Driven to End Drug Addiction

Collaborative and Transdisciplinary Addiction Research

The University of Minnesota has had a strong history of collaborative and transdisciplinary investigation in addiction research. 

The Medical Discovery Team will be integrated into the University of Minnesota’s current faculty, who have research strengths in addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-based research funding currently stands at $15M per year. Funded research includes studies of psychostimulants, nicotine, and opioids.

The University of Minnesota serves as the NorthStar Node of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network - a newly established national platform for pragmatic clinical effectiveness trials in addiction. A recently funded program is in the process of developing a vaccine against opioid addiction for clinical trials. In addition, addiction-based research is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at ~$12M per year.

The Medical Discovery Team will be housed in advanced laboratory space at the center of the University’s Biomedical Discovery District, to foster scientific partnership and teamwork. We are recruiting up to ten new basic scientists and physician-scientists from diverse disciplines, including Neuroscience, Neurology, Pharmacology, Psychiatry, and Radiology. Scientists hired as part of the Medical Discovery Team will join a vibrant community of addiction researchers, united through the University of Minnesota Center for Addiction Neuroscience.


Resources Unique to Minnesota

Additional strengths at the University of Minnesota include:the internationally-recognized Center for Magnetic Resonance Research - at the forefront of the Human Connectome project; the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development with the resources and expertise to develop new drug therapies; and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which provides resources to implement new treatment strategies and is a conduit to promote the community-wide understanding and application of scientific discoveries. Minnesota is also the home of multiple biomedical research companies where

Minnesota is also the home of multiple biomedical research companies wheredevelopment of therapeutic approaches to addiction is a priority, as well as world-renowned hospitals and treatment centers for addiction. Leveraging university relationships with these resources throughout Minnesota will aid the Medical Discovery Team in achieving its goals.

Learn more about the members of the Medical Discovery Team on Addiction:

Julia Lemos, Ph.D.

Jocelyn Richard, Ph.D.

Benjamin Saunders, Ph.D.

Sade Spencer, Ph.D.

Questions about the Addiction Medical Discovery Team may be directed toward Dr. Dori Henderson at hend0054@umn.edu.