Substance abuse (i.e. cocaine or opiate depenence) is a psychiatric disorder resulting in cognitive, behavioral, and physiological impairments. And much like the risk for cancer or heart disease, the predisposition for certain types of psychiatric disorders can be genetic. In the short history of genetics research, we have seen considerable progress in mapping genes that influence the risk for the major psychiatric disorders. Specific chromosomal regions have been identified as common among populations affected with psychiatric disorders, including Schizophrenia and Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder.
Though we know that dependence on various drugs is influenced by genetic factors, no human research has been completed which unequivocally establishes locations of genes contributing to drug dependence. This is the concern of our study.
Understanding the genetic factors that can predispose certain individuals to psychiatric illness may lead to better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of psychiatric disorders. Cocaine dependence is one of them.
Faculty who conduct research in this area
John Farrell, IT Manager