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In 2011, the Distinguished Scientist Award was established by the Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience Program. This student-led award was developed as part the T32 Predoctoral Training Grant on Addiction Science. Each year, trainees in Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience select and invite a distinguished researcher in the substance abuse field to visit Carolina, make a seminar presentation, and interact individually with trainees.

Former awardees include Dr. Barry Setlow of the University of Florida College of Medicine (2012).

This year’s recipient was Dr. Kent Berridge, James Olds Distinguished University Professor of Biopsychology and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan. He earned his B.S. at the University of California Davis in 1979 and his M.A. (1980) and his Ph.D. (1983) at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Berridge’s research aims to improve the understanding of neural mechanisms of emotion, motivation, learning, and reward. He formulated a contemporary tehory of addiction called the Incentive Sensitization Theory of Addiction. According to this theory, drug addiction develops from a sensitization of the mesolimbic dopamine system and, following a repeated use of drugs, the dopamine system becomes hyper-responsive and drug cues become hyper-salient. He presented, “Limbic Generators for Delight, Desire, and Dread”, on February 21, 2013 and received the 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award.

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