Dr. Bryant is the Director of the Laboratory of Addiction Genetics and Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and Psychiatry at Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine. Substance abuse disorders are heritable psychiatric conditions whose genetic basis remains largely unknown. Mammalian model organisms offer a powerful, complementary tool for accelerating the discovery of novel genetic factors and neurobiological mechanisms in humans. The Laboratory of Addiction Genetics integrates classical forward genetics in mice with contemporary genome editing and transcriptome technologies to understanding the mechanisms that confer susceptibility versus resilience toward addiction. We are committed to the development of novel behavioral models across multiple abused substances that most directly gauge the contribution of natural genetic variation and bridging these discoveries with systems-level neurobiology and molecular genetics to validate candidate functional variants. This multi-pronged approach leverages our ability to make discoveries that could translate to new pharmacotherapeutic avenues for treatment and prevention.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility
Following the murder of George Floyd in June 2020, I like many others, felt an extreme urgency to get more involved in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) in all aspects of life. I marched for BLM in Boston. I began educating myself on how to be actively anti-racist. I learned more about institutional racism and realized how under-utilized my power and privilege were in disassembling it. I have always supported, cultivated, and appreciated the immense value of a diverse lab environment, not just because it is the righteous thing to do but because it brings new perspectives, a wider range of ideas, and begets a more interesting and welcoming work environment and yes, better science. Like many others, the “EIJ” of DEIJ has been a knowledge gap for me as I continue to learn how to provide an environment that is not just more diverse, but also more Equitable, Inclusive, and Just. There is a useful analogy from one of the DEIJ workshops I recently attended: “’Diversity’ is being invited to the party, ‘Inclusion’ is being asked to dance at the party and choose the music; ‘Equity’ is getting equal time and space in the DJ booth or on the dance floor”. I think about this analogy frequently as I strive to make an inclusive work environment. We need to be vigilant and INTENTIONAL (not passive) in fostering equity and inclusion. I place an extremely high value on JUSTICE part of DEIJ and is a major motivator for me in my efforts. I want trainees at all levels and in every program to know that I am an active, approachable, and dedicated ally who will take them seriously and who will act when necessary and do all I can to see that barriers are removed for creating a safer, positive, and thriving environment. Doing the right thing at the right time in the face of risk (retribution, retaliation) is incredibly difficult but is absolutely necessary to produce measurable, persistent change from top-down. There must be consequences for those in power whose actions and environment they cultivate work against a more DEIJ environment. I have the utmost respect for faculty and administrators who dedicate their invisible, unmeasured time to DEIJ efforts, many of whom are people of color and from underrepresented backgrounds. I also have the utmost respect for the brave trainees who risk their careers to call out bad behaviors, e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, psychological abuse, microaggressions, and sexual misconduct. I will continue to listen to their voices and I will continue to act on their concerns with swiftness and intention.
I joined Graduate Program for Neuroscience (GPN) DEIJ committee in June 2020 and remain an active faculty member. We have accomplished several goals over the past two years, including a seminar series “Stress, Resilience, and Society”, where we hosted neuroscientist speakers whose talks addressed behavioral and neurological correlates of stress and its transmission across generations. A GPN student would host each speaker and helped lead post-seminar discussions between the speakers and the PhD students on research in the context of DEIJ and society. During the second year, we organized a symposium on Neuroscience and Society and had a panel of speakers who covered topics such as empathy and sex differences in neuroscience research and an engaging panel discussion. We also applied for the opportunity to offer a merit-based endowed scholarship for an Emerging Scholars award for GPN (we are resubmitting this year). The goal of the scholarship is to recruit exceptional students coming from a socioeconomically disadvantaged background and who might not otherwise enroll in GPN (moving to Boston is very expensive) by providing financial support to offset prohibitive moving and living expenses, facilitate professional development, and ease funding barriers for lab entry. Student members successfully installed a local chapter for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans (SACNAS). GPN DEIJ members like myself serve on the Admissions Committee and have created a general trajectory of increasing diversity with each new cohort of trainees.
Promoting DEIJ must begin early within the educational system. As a faculty member at a major R1 research university, I participate in training at multiple levels of education, including high school summer trainees, undergraduate researchers, graduate students (masters and PhD), and medical students. I prioritize supporting work-study undergraduates as they are frequently from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds and receive monetary compensation for their work. I also mentor students from a variety of programs that support diversity, including BU Research In Science and Engineering (RISE) program for high school students, BU Summer Training As Research Scholars (STARS) program (NIH/NHLBI), and BU Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) program (NIH/NIGMS). I meet formally with trainees, discuss journal articles, review/advise on presentations, and review PhD application materials. I invite trainees to attend scientific meetings where I introduce them to my colleagues and encourage them to network and participate in career development workshops. I strive to provide as many opportunities as possible and to advocate for trainees at local, national, and international scientific meetings. I also participate in the national NIH/NIDA Summer Scholars program for undergraduate researchers from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds, most of whom have earned authorship on published scientific papers.
I am a member of the Admissions Committee for the PhD program in Biomolecular Pharmacology and the Graduate Program for Neuroscience at Boston University. I also serve on the Selection Committee for the T32 Biomolecular Pharmacology PhD program where we prioritize diversity and look for students who are actively involved in outreach, DEIJ activities, and show genuine interest in helping their colleagues succeed. I attended a workshop on developing a rubric for assessment of applications, with the goal of minimizing selection bias that works against DEIJ efforts. In addition to considering defined rubrics and procedures, we pay special attention to students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds. We read personal statements carefully and do not go by rigid, arbitrary cut-offs such as GPA in making invitation decisions. We identify applicants who have overcome adversity and struggles in challenging situations and environments outside of their academic experience that has impeded their ability to otherwise flourish. We look for signs of improvement over time. We look closely at letters of recommendation that often add a different perspective and enrich our understanding of the applicant’s circumstances. This more careful, tedious approach has led us to consistently recruit a diverse lot of highly successful students.
Institutional racism directly impedes DEIJ and combating it from top-down can lead to substantial improvements in the work environment; however, there must be increased effort from the bottom-up early on to provide advantages and opportunities to level the playing field. I will continue to promote diversity in student and faculty recruitment in the committees on which I serve. I will continue to promote equity and inclusion and advocate for my trainees in my laboratory environment, at scientific conferences, meetings, and local events. I will continue to be actively involved in outreach, including visiting and speaking with students at HBUs and participating in career development workshops at NIH and scientific meetings. I chair multiple thesis committees for PhD students from underrepresented backgrounds and tend to their individual circumstances to make sure they succeed at the highest level. Actively promoting a DEIJ environment requires a constant self-awareness and re-evaluation, vigilance across all academic settings, and continual self-education and training. I will continue to educate myself and provide a DEIJ environment that is safe and welcoming. I will support and advocate for my students and others whom I serve so they can thrive at their full potential in their PhD programs and will arm trainees with the skills and opportunities needed to realize their most aspirational career goals.
Director, Laboratory of Addiction Genetics
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Genome Science Institute
Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences
Systems genetics of premorbid and cocaine use traits in a rat reduced complexity cross
05/01/2022 - 02/28/2027 (Multi-PI)
PI: Camron D. Bryant, PhDNIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse1U01DA055299-01
A Reduced Complexity Cross in BALB/c substrains to identify the genetic basis of oxycodone dependence phenotypes
09/01/2020 - 06/30/2025 (PI)NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse5U01DA050243-03
Genetic Basis of Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy in a Reduced Complexity Cross
02/07/2018 - 01/31/2023 (Subcontract PI)Virginia Commonwealth University NIH NCI5R01CA221260-04
Bridging genetic variation with behavior: Molecular and functional mechanisms of quantitative trait gene regulation of the stimulant and addictive properties of methamphetamine in mice
07/01/2015 - 06/30/2022 (PI)NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse5R01DA039168-05
Overall NIDA Core "Center of Excellence" in Transcriptomics, Systems Genetics and the Addictome
08/01/2019 - 10/31/2020 (Subcontract PI)The University of Tennessee on behalf of its Health Science Center NIH NIDA5P30DA044223-03
Big Data Computational Methods for Analysis of Drugs of Abuse
09/01/2017 - 06/30/2020 (Subcontract PI)The Leland Stanford Junior University NIH NIDA5U01DA044399-03
Genetic basis of binge eating and its motivational components in a reduced complexity cross
09/15/2015 - 08/31/2018 (PI)NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse5R21DA038738-02
Mapping G x E Interactions for Addiction Traits in a Reduced Complexity Cross
07/01/2014 - 06/30/2017 (PI)NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse5R03DA038287-02
Bridging Genetic Variation with Behavior: Molecular and Functional Mechanisms.
05/01/2015 - 04/30/2017 (PI)NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse3R00DA029635-05S2
Genetic Basis of Opioid Reward and Aversion in Mice
05/01/2013 - 04/30/2017 (PI)NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse5R00DA029635-05S1
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Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other
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Showing 10 of 58 results.
Beierle JA, Yao EJ, Goldstein SI, Lynch WB, Scotellaro JL, Shah AA, Sena KD, Wong AL, Linnertz CL, Averin O, Moody DE, Reilly CA, Peltz G, Emili A, Ferris MT, Bryant CD. Zhx2 Is a Candidate Gene Underlying Oxymorphone Metabolite Brain Concentration Associated with State-Dependent Oxycodone Reward. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2022 Aug; 382(2):167-180.View Related Profiles. PMID: 35688478; PMCID: PMC9341249; DOI: 10.1124/jpet.122.001217;
Bulik CM, Coleman JRI, Hardaway JA, Breithaupt L, Watson HJ, Bryant CD, Breen G. Genetics and neurobiology of eating disorders. Nat Neurosci. 2022 May; 25(5):543-554. PMID: 35524137; PMCID: PMC9744360; DOI: 10.1038/s41593-022-01071-z;
Beierle JA, Yao EJ, Goldstein SI, Scotellaro JL, Sena KD, Linnertz CA, Willits AB, Kader L, Young EE, Peltz G, Emili A, Ferris MT, Bryant CD. Genetic basis of thermal nociceptive sensitivity and brain weight in a BALB/c reduced complexity cross. Mol Pain. 2022 Jan-Dec; 18:17448069221079540.View Related Profiles. PMID: 35088629; PMCID: PMC8891926; DOI: 10.1177/17448069221079540;
Goldberg LR, Yao EJ, Kelliher JC, Reed ER, Wu Cox J, Parks C, Kirkpatrick SL, Beierle JA, Chen MM, Johnson WE, Homanics GE, Williams RW, Bryant CD, Mulligan MK. A quantitative trait variant in Gabra2 underlies increased methamphetamine stimulant sensitivity. Genes Brain Behav. 2021 11; 20(8):e12774.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34677900; PMCID: PMC9083095; DOI: 10.1111/gbb.12774;
Borrelli KN, Yao EJ, Yen WW, Phadke RA, Ruan QT, Chen MM, Kelliher JC, Langan CR, Scotellaro JL, Babbs RK, Beierle JC, Logan RW, Johnson WE, Wachman EM, Cruz-Martín A, Bryant CD. Sex Differences in Behavioral and Brainstem Transcriptomic Neuroadaptations following Neonatal Opioid Exposure in Outbred Mice. eNeuro. 2021 Sep-Oct; 8(5).View Related Profiles. PMID: 34479978; PMCID: PMC8454922; DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0143-21.2021;
Warncke UO, Toma W, Meade JA, Park AJ, Thompson DC, Caillaud M, Bigbee JW, Bryant CD, Damaj MI. Impact of Dose, Sex, and Strain on Oxaliplatin-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Mice. Front Pain Res (Lausanne). 2021; 2:683168. PMID: 35295533; PMCID: PMC8915759; DOI: 10.3389/fpain.2021.683168;
Kantak KM, Stots C, Mathieson E, Bryant CD. Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat substrains show differences in model traits for addiction risk and cocaine self-administration: Implications for a novel rat reduced complexity cross. Behav Brain Res. 2021 08 06; 411:113406.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34097899; PMCID: PMC8265396; DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113406;
Jimenez Chavez CL, Bryant CD, Munn-Chernoff MA, Szumlinski KK. Selective Inhibition of PDE4B Reduces Binge Drinking in Two C57BL/6 Substrains. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 21; 22(11). PMID: 34064099; PMCID: PMC8196757; DOI: 10.3390/ijms22115443;
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2021 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP):
Elected Full Member
2021-2022 International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS):
2019 Boston University:
Jack Spivack Award for Excellence in Neuroscience
2016 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP):
Elected Associate Member
2015 Boston University:
Jack Spivack Excellence in Neurosciences Research Award
2014 International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS):
Young Scientist Award
2014 Winter Conference on Brain Research (WCBR):
Junior Investigator Travel Fellowship
2013 World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics:
Poster abstract selected for oral presentation
2013 International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS):
Outstanding Young Investigator Award for Junior Faculty
2012 International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS):
2011 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP):
Early Career Travel Award - Abstract selected for Breakout Session oral presentation
Travel Award for Miniconvention, “Frontiers in Addiction Research”
2011 International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS):
2011 International Narcotics Research Conference (INRC):
2009 International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS):
2008 International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS):
Outstanding Young Investigator Award for Postdocs
Hatos Center for Neuropharmacology Training Fellowship
Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholarship
Honors Program and thesis in the Department of Psychology