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Clinical Research Grants Branch (CRGB)

What We Do:

The CRGB plans and supports extramural research grants to test medications for the treatment of drug abuse and dependence disorders in several key areas: controlled compound assessment clinical pharmacology studies, controlled clinical trials for new treatment agents or new indications for marketed medications and clinical studies of the pharmacological effects and interactions among experimental addiction medications and medications for associated medical conditions and psychotherapeutic agents. The Branch also supports experimental pharmacotherapy studies to enhance the efficacy of approved marketed medications, and experimental pharmacotherapy studies of psychotropic or other medications used in the treatment of mental disorders in drug dependent individuals including drug-induced or drug-related mental disorders. CRGB staff members provide technical assistance to grantees, contractors, and applicants. The CRGB provides guidance is given to investigators and manages the administrative aspects of DTMC's research and development contract portfolio.

Staff Biographies and Research Interests:

  • Kevin Walton, Ph.D., - 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.
  • Will M. Aklin, Ph.D., - Health Science Administrator
    Director of the Behavioral Therapy Development Program, involving Stage I (treatment generation, refinement), II (efficacy) and III (efficacy in real-world settings) treatment research. Interested in research to examine theory-derived treatment targets and mechanisms of behavior change, adherence, and studies that integrate behavioral/pharmacological treatment. Extensive clinical and research experience in behavioral and cognitive-behavioral treatment for substance dependence; adaptive brief interventions and adherence trials. Joined NIDA in 2008.
  • Ann Anderson, M.P.H., M.D., - Medical Officer
    A family practice physician for 12 years, including some obstetrics, then 3 yrs at CDC in fetal alcohol prevention and training to investigate disease clusters and outbreaks. Develops and oversees clinical trials for new pharmaceutical treatments for drugs of abuse. Serves as Program Officer for a portfolio of grants and cooperative agreements; reviews Data & Safety Monitoring Plans; evaluates progress.  Reported and analyzed adverse events, and published findings of multi-site trials for the Division. Joined DTMC in 1999.
  • Naresh Chand, D.V.M, Ph.D., - Health Scientist Administrator
    Responsible for coordinating the Division's preclinical cardiovascular safety testing, including in vitro estimates of risk for Q-T prolongation and in vivo assessments of hemodynamic interactions with cocaine and methamphetamine. Project Officer on related contracts. Serves as a member of the Safety Assessment Candidate and Toxicology Program Teams. Joined DTMC in 2000 with twenty previous years of diverse pharmacology and toxicology experience within the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Katrina Foster, Ph.D. - Health Science Administrator
    Trained as a behavioral neuroscientist focused on identifying the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the positive reinforcing and neurobehavioral properties associated with ethanol. Subsequently, spent 10 years at NIH/NIAAA serving as an Scientific Review Officer.  For the past 2 and ½ years, served as the Scientific Portfolio Manager at the Department of Veterans Affairs, managing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health portfolios for the Clinical Service Research Division and the Biomedical Laboratory Research Division. Currently, serves as the Program Officer for grants and cooperative agreements in the areas of cocaine and methamphetamine treatment research.  Joined DTMC in 2018
  • Aidan Hampson, Ph.D., - Health Science Administrator
    Program Official and Scientific Officer for clinical trial grants evaluating new therapies for Opiate, Methamphetamine and Cannabis use disorders. Interested in improving tools available to clinical trial researchers. Previously was Scientific Review Officer for SBIR/STTR awards. Prior to that spent eight years in industrial preclinical drug development, six years as an academic cannabinoid researcher and four years in pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism and distribution. Joined NIDA in 2011.
  • Guifang Lao, M.D., Ph.D., - Health Scientist Administrator/Program Officer
    Dr. Lao is responsible for developing innovative research programs of HIV clinical research, justice system and training clinical research. Dr. Lao received an MD and MS in Biochemistry from China, a Ph.D. in Microbiology/Biochemistry from Cornell University, and postdoctoral training at NINDS/NIH. She also worked in biotech and pharmaceutical companies and in the Department of Radiology at the NIH Clinical Center. Over the past 25+ years, her research interests have been in the areas of clinical medicine, clinical molecular biology, immunology, neuroscience, protein chemistry, and non-invasive techniques of assessing medical consequences. She has several publications in Neuron, Neuroscience, Molecular and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, and Medicine.

This page was last updated October 2018