Jamaine Atkins, left, interned in the lab of Shane Perrine, Ph.D., studying the behavioral and neurobiological similarities and differences of cocaine use on females and males.
Jamaine Atkins, a recent psychology graduate of Eastern Michigan University, described the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s research program and facilities as “cutting edge” and “highly efficient.”
Atkins recently competed for and was awarded an opportunity to intern in the lab of Shane Perrine, Ph.D., assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences under the 2018 National Institute on Drug Abuse Summer Research Internship Program.
Dr. Perrine leads a group of preclinical researchers as they seek to better understand the neuronal circuitry and molecular mechanisms that underlie substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and their co-occurrence. His laboratory is funded by NIDA to study the epigenetic effects of cocaine and by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to study co-occurring alcohol and traumatic stress exposure. The research conducted in his lab directly aligns with the goal of NIDA, the mission of which is to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction, and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health. NIDA accomplishes this goal through a variety of pathways, including the Summer Research Internship Program.
The NIDA Summer Research Internship Program is designed to support the development of under-represented populations in drug abuse research. The Perrine Lab provides a research environment for trainees and embraces gender, racial and cultural diversity among lab members.
During the summer of 2018, Jamaine and other Perrine Lab team members explored the behavioral and neurobiological similarities (and differences) that cocaine has on females and males.
“I was very excited when I learned that this internship wasn’t strictly grunt work, but rather it was a chance to study how females and males respond to chronic cocaine administration. I had an opportunity to conduct literature reviews, lead laboratory experiments, collect and analyze novel data, and participate in lab meetings,” Atkins said. “I believe this internship has increased my chances of being accepted into graduate school by honing my technical skills, allowing me to learn and implement proper research method, and providing me dedicated research time in a NIDA-funded lab.”
Atkins plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology, working with military veterans, probationers and parolees diagnosed with substance use disorder and PTSD.
The NIDA Summer Research Internship Program is a paid internship with placements in all 50 states. If you are an undergraduate student (trainee) or faculty (mentor) interested in this program, information can be found at www.drugabuse.gov.