Center of Excellence in Addiction Studies

The CEAS was conceived in response to both the opioid epidemic and the pain epidemic.

Chronic pain is often resistant to medical intervention, making it the most difficult pain to treat. 

CEAS researchers recognized that the brain circuits mediating chronic pain are the same circuits that are acted upon by opioid drugs and promote opioid addiction. Acute pain, cancer pain and chronic pain are often treated with opioids, which increases risks of addiction in many patients. The goal of the CEAS is to unravel the overlapping biology of chronic pain and addiction by exploring novel mechanisms that can provide effective pain relief while minimizing addiction. 

Dr. Frank Porreca

We want to ameliorate the suffering of chronic pain while diminishing opioid abuse.

— Dr. Frank Porreca
CEAS Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Todd Vanderah

Our Vision is to advance treatment for those who suffer with opioid use disorder and chronic pain through research, education, hands on training and community outreach

— Dr. Todd Vanderah,
CEAS Co-Principal Investigator

Partnering with CEAS

We offer opportunities for investigators at the University of Arizona and other universities in the Southwest to partner and collaborate. CEAS can assist users in addressing innovative questions about addiction biology.

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Research Cores

The CEAS is a multi-million dollar grant funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and directed by Drs. Frank Porreca and Todd Vanderah of the Department of Pharmacology. 

CEAS research is conducted in three research cores and an exploratory pilot project. The research is intended to advance knowledge of the underlying mechanisms promoting pain and pain relief to identify nonaddictive medicines.

The cores include:

  • Behavioral assessment of addiction
  • Advanced neuroanalytical measurements 
  • Genetic targeting of neural circuits
  • Exploratory pilot project

The research conducted in these cores and pilot project exploratory program is intended to advance knowledge about underlying mechanisms promoting pain and its relief to identify non-addictive medicines.

Center of Excellence in Addiction Studies
Frank Porreca, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Center of Excellence in Addiction Studies
Department of Pharmacology
P.O. Box 245050 | 1501 N. Campbell Ave. | Tucson, AZ 85724-5050 | (520) 626-7421