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Baldridge receives Avenir Award for early-career scientists

Grant to support research on genetics of substance use disorders

October 12, 2023

Dustin Baldridge, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a 2023 Avenir Award in Genetics and Epigenetics of Substance Use from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The award is given to early-career scientists proposing highly innovative studies and showing promise of being leaders in the field of addiction science. The grant is expected to provide $2.3 million over five years.

Baldridge is one of three awardees selected this year for the Avenir Award in Genetics and Epigenetics of Substance Use. A pediatrician, he conducts translational genomics research and serves as a co-investigator for the Washington University Model Organism Screening Center of the Undiagnosed Diseases Network.

Baldridge’s award will help fund the use of cutting-edge, high-throughput techniques to study thousands of genetic variants associated with substance use disorders and determine which variants have the greatest molecular consequences. The work ultimately may uncover biological targets for future treatments.

“By better understanding the genetics of substance use disorders, we hope to enable future interventions to address the devastating consequences of opioid use disorder, which has had an impact on millions of families in this country,” Baldridge said.

Research reported in this article is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number DP1DA058706. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.