University of Hawaii Neuroscience and MRI Research Program

Research Topics

Substance Use Disorders

 “Factors for enhanced neurotoxicity in methamphetamine abuse and HIV infection” – Diversity Drug Abuse Research Program (DIDARP)”

(PI and Program Director: Linda Chang, M.D, co-Program Director: Marla Berry, Ph.D.; funding source: NIDA - 1R24 DA027318; Project Period: 03/01/10 – 01/31/15)

This small program grant includes two primary and one pilot research projects that  focuses on mechanisms and factors that might enhance neurotoxicity associated with methamphetamine or HIV. Through these projects, we aim to enhance the capacity for drug abuse research at UH by creating this small translational research team, and to train diversity junior investigators and students.

Erin Fukaya - phone: (808) 691-8763; email: efukuya -AT- gmail -DOT- edu

“Infrastructure for NIDA Clinical Trials Network"

(Site PI: Linda Chang, M.D.; funding source: NIDA; Project Period: 09/01/10 – 08/31/15)

The purpose of this award is to develop and maintain an appropriate and safe clinical research infrastructure in order for the site investigators to participate in and conduct eligible clinical trials through the NIDA Clinical Trials Network (CTN). There are two projects associated with CTN at our site:

  • Sustained-Release Methylphenidate for Management of Methamphetamine Dependence (MPH for Methamphetamine Dependence): completed
  • CTN-0054: Protocol 0054 (Accelerated Development of Additive Pharmacotherapy Treatment, ADAPT) for methamphetamine use disorder. This is a 2-stage, 3-site study (including UH) to investigate the effectiveness and safety of a combination of extended-release depot naltrexone plus extended-release bupropion as a potential pharmacotherapy for methamphetamine use disorder. Ongoing.


Nataliya Holmes - phone: (808) 691-8763; email:

Erin Fukaya - phone: (808) 691-8763; email: efukuya -AT- gmail -DOT- edu

“Brain Activation in Patients with Early HIV Dementia" and “Effects of a Dopamine Agonist on Brain Activation in HIV Patient and Nicotine Smokers”

(Principal Investigator: Linda Chang, M.D.; funding source: NIDA - 5K24 DA016170 – Neuroimaging and Mentoring in Drug Abuse Research; Project Period: until 08/31/14)

The purpose of this project is to determine the effects of aging and HIV infection and their possible additive or interactive effects on brain chemistry and function. Advanced MRI techniques (functional MRI and MR spectroscopy) will be used to evaluate participants with or without HIV infections.

The second study is supported by a K award to L. Chang. The purpose of the study is to evaluate in vivo neuropathology associated with drug abuse (tobacco smoking in particular) and in patients infected with HIV, using advanced neuroimaging techniques. The grant also enables Dr. Chang to provide mentorship and training to junior investigators and students in clinical research, and to develop Neuroscience Research Center at UH that focuses on brain disorders that disproportionately affect Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (e.g., methamphetamine and cannabis abuse).

Nataliya Holmes - phone: (808) 691-8763; e-mail:

Influences of Obesity and Marijuana Use on Cognitive Function

(PI: Jun Panee Ph.D.)  Both obesity and regular marijuana use may negatively affect cognitive function; furthermore, marijuana use may lead to weight gain, and people who have more body fat may retain some of the active components of marijuana in their bodies for longer periods of time.

This study will determine if the combination of regular marijuana use and being obese causes more cognitive problems than either factor alone. We evaluate cognitive function, body fat, drug use, genetics, and gut bacterial composition. 

Jun Panee Ph.D. - phone: (808) 956-5366; e-mail:

All information and data obtained for the research are strictly confidential.

University of Hawaii | John A. Burns School of Medicine | The Queen's Medical Center

Last Updated: January 2014
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