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Michael M Vanyukov, PhD
Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Michael Vanyukov is Professor, Depts. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Psychiatry, and Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, School of Medicine and Graduate School of Public Health, respectively. He received a MS in Genetics from the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, USSR, and Ph.D. in Genetics from the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences Institute of Medical Genetics. In the Soviet Union, he conducted research in pharmacogenetics and in the mechanisms of the family transmission of alcoholism risk. In December 1990, he immigrated in the USA, and in 1991 he joined the University of Pittsburgh and the faculty of the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research (CEDAR), a NIDA-funded longitudinal family/high-risk study of substance abuse. Together with other colleagues from CEDAR, in January 2000 he moved from the School of Medicine to the School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is currently Scientific Director of CEDAR.

Dr. Vanyukov's research program has focused on the mechanisms of the development of addiction and associated traits. His research has been directed at the role of neurobiology-related genes in the risk for addiction. This information is provided by Dr. Vanyukov's NIH-funded projects that comprise the genetic program of CEDAR.

Research Interest

Variation in the risk for addictions is determined by multiple genetic and environmental factors. The etiology of these complex disorders involve many facets of biological function (e.g., biochemical, physiological, behavioral, etc.), effects of abusable drugs on neurochemistry, and multiple environmental influences, and unfold throughout the life. Contribution of and interactions between these systems at the genetic level, as well as with environmental factors, need to be taken into account.
The overarching goal of the ongoing research is to integrate
neurobiological, genetic, psychological and environmental information to
elucidate the individual trajectory to SUD. Emphasis is placed on improving
understanding of the relation between genetic and neurobiological processes as components of individual liability. Research focuses on empirically-based selection of genes within neurobiological systems, and analysis of their association with the risk for SUD using qualitative and quantitative indices of liability. These studies, funded by the National Institute
on Drug Abuse, comprise the genetic program of the Center for Education on
Drug Abuse Research's (CEDAR; P50DA005605; PI: Ralph Tarter), supported by grants R01DA019157 "Substance Use Disorder Liability: Candidate Gene Systems," K02DA018701 "Phenogenetics of Liability to Substance Use Disorders" and R01DA011922 "Substance Abuse And The Dopamine System Genes" (PI: Michael Vanyukov). The program is based on multidisciplinary family data encompassing genetic, biochemical, psychological, psychiatric and environmental factors prospectively in target children at multiple age points from 10-12 to 30, in their parents, and in adolescents.