A Yale research team recently received a $1.6 million grant from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health to establish a research training program with Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. The grant, which is one of six awarded by the NIH, will facilitate the study of the genetics of drug dependence.

The Yale team, headed by psychiatry professors Joel Gelernter and Robert Malison, will use the money to train fellows from Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University. Gelernter said in a press release that the Thai participants in the program, which started in September, will be trained in “ethical issues, transgenics, gene mapping, statistical genetics and other areas” to help them better investigate the genetic basis for drug dependence.

The grant will also be used to fund one-month rotations in Thailand for Yale researchers. During their time in Thailand, the Yale faculty members will teach courses at Chulalongkorn University and also conduct field research.

Gelernter said he hopes the grant will allow Thailand to advance its ability to study the genetics of drug dependence.

“Through this project, we hope to work with Chulalongkorn to establish a world-class psychiatric genetics program in Bangkok,” Gelernter said in an e-mail. “[Thailand has] a huge problem with substance dependence.”

–Jeremy Kutner