For nearly two decades my laboratory has investigated the role of dopamine on neuropeptide expression in the nigrostriatal and mesolimbic pathways of the rodent brain. Our research and that of others has demonstrated that dopaminergic transmission exerts dynamic regulation on the levels of expression and utilization of striatal neuropeptides. During the last ten years, we have investigated the novel hypothesis that neuropeptides modulate the methamphetamine-induced damage to striatal dopamine terminals and the apoptosis of some striatal neurons. My laboratory has extensive background in biochemistry, molecular and histochemical methods involving the brains of rats and mice. The proposed research is an extension of an R01-funded project from NIDA to demonstrate the role of the neuronal neurokinin-1 receptor (substance P is the natural ligand) on the methamphetamine-induced production of striatal nitric oxide and the neuroprotection afforded by neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists on the neuronal apoptosis induced by methamphetamine. This research has advanced our knowledge of the role played by neuropeptides in the methamphetamine-induced striatal injury. Recently, we are investigating the role of other striatal neuropeptides such as neuropeptide Y and somatostatin on the cellular mechanisms of methamphetamine-induced neural damage. Interestingly, we are finding that substance P is pro-damage while neuropeptide Y and somatostatin are neuroprotective. This research is novel because it is demonstrating that endogenous neuropeptides play key regulatory roles on survival of neurons in this part of the brain, a surprising finding with therapeutic potential. It is of high significance to elucidate the involvement of striatal neuropeptides in the methamphetamine-induced neural damage because these neuropeptides are expressed and utilized by the healthy brain. In summary, I have extensive experience and demonstrated productivity in the area of neuropeptides and dopaminergic transmission in nigrostriatal and mesolimbic pathways. This area of investigation is highly relevant to the field of drug abuse research and to the mission of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. I am the Principal Investigator/Program Director of the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI, NIMHD) Program at Hunter College. The RCMI Program maintains and expands the research infrastructure for the researchers of the Center for Translational and Basic Research of Hunter College. The Center is comprised of 45 faculty researchers in the areas of neuroscience/behavior, cancer and bioinformatics. The Center researchers are located in the departments of Chemistry, Biology and Psychology. The Center fosters and develops new generations of minority scientists and helps to encourage the participation of other ethnic minority groups in the biomedical workforce pipeline. The research conducted by the Center addresses health disparities in our population. In addition to the basic/translational research, the Center participates in community engagement projects in collaboration with the Hunter College School of Nursing, Public Health and the Weill Cornell CTSC.