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Researcher Teams Up With Teen Champion Figure Skater to Discover Potential Treatments for Addiction Disorders

Vanessa Zhang and Morgan James

May 13, 2024

A Rutgers researcher has teamed up with a local high school student to develop a method using machine learning to screen current and existing drugs to determine which could potentially become effective treatments for addiction-related disorders.

Morgan James, assistant professor of psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, core member of the Rutgers Brain Health Institute, and member of the executive board at the Rutgers Addiction Research Center, has been working on developing better treatments for psychiatric illnesses such as eating disorders, substance use disorders, and depression.

Instead of attempting to create an entirely new drug, James took a novel approach; he decided to focus on existing medications to determine if their off-target effects include blocking the orexin 1 receptor, which regulates various physiological phenomena such as wakefulness, feeding and the brain’s reaction to rewards.

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