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Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse and Co-occurring Infections Branch (MCB)

What We Do:

The MCB plans, develops and administers a national and international program of research on medical/clinical/health consequences associated with drugs of abuse (licit [alcohol, tobacco, prescription medications] and illicit [amphetamines, cocaine, inhalants, marijuana, and others]) and their nexus to co-occurring viral and bacterial infections including HIV, hepatitis [B, C, D], tuberculosis, STIs, and others in humans (special studies in women, minorities, children and adolescents and underserved populations. Research may include, but not limited to, studies of the impact of drug addiction on medical/health conditions and the spread of infectious diseases and other conditions that might impact on all physiological or biochemical systems including role of nutrition in drug addiction and infectious diseases; morbidity, co-morbidity and mortality associated with drug use/abuse and/or infections; pathogenesis of drug abuse-associated HIV/AIDS and other co-occurring or opportunistic infectious diseases; medical intervention research concerning consequences of drug use/abuse and infections; pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions between drugs of abuse and antiretroviral drugs; interactions between virus, host, and other factors in vulnerability and resistance to infection; pharmacological, physiological, genetic, and clinical factors in progression of infectious diseases in drug users/abusers; and promotes and supports research training and career development programs in the area of clinical/medical consequences.

Staff Biographies & Research Interests:

  • Kevin Walton, Ph.D., Acting Branch Chief
    Manages the CRGB activities and resources to support clinical grants focusing on treatments, including pharmacological, behavioral, device-based and integrative interventions. The Branch seeks the development of new therapeutics as well as repurposing of existing treatments. Dr. Walton’s own grant portfolio focuses on evaluating therapeutics for smoking cessation and harm reduction. He also serves as the Acting Chief for the Medical Consequences Branch, with its focus on the medical/health consequences of drug abuse and co-occurring infections including HIV, hepatitis C/B, STDs/STIs, and others. His previous experience includes NIH Scientific Review Officer for preclinical translational studies and 15 years in biopharmaceutical preclinical research for neurodegenerative and psychotherapeutic indications. Dr. Walton received his PhD from the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He joined NIDA in 2013.
  • Raul N. Mandler, MD; FAAN; FANA, Senior Medical Officer
    Raul N. Mandler, M.D. is Senior Medical Officer in the Medical Consequences Branch. Prior to joining DTMC, Raul served as Senior Medical Officer in the CCTN , uninterruptedly for the past 12 years  Raul was instrumental in developing clinical trials for the diagnosis and prevention of HIV and Hep-C in drug abuse populations. These projects culminated in several publications in high impact journals, including JAMA, JAIDS, Addiction, JAMA Int. Med, etc. Results of those studies have helped to shape national policy and intervention programs for HIV and co-morbidities in people with drug abuse.

    Raul is a Board-Certified neurologist, graduated with highest honors from the University of Buenos Aires, interned at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, did his neurology residency and fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and was a Clinical Associate at NINDS. Prior to joining NIDA, he served as Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurosciences at the University of New Mexico, Visiting Professor at UC Davis, and Professor of Neurology and Neurosciences at The George Washington University.  He received the King Faisal International Travel Fellowship Award from The Cleveland Clinic and The Teacher of the Year Award of the Department of Medicine of George Washington University.  Raul is a long-standing fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association.

    Following the exemplary tenure of Dr. Jag Khalsa who retired after more than three decades of exemplary leadership, Raul continues working on the DTMC’s portfolio of studies on medical consequences of drug abuse, including HIV, HCV, and other infections. He is  also a member of research teams in DTMC and supports the Division’s work on medical safety and human subjects protection issues in grants and contracts. 

This page was last updated December 2017