brainAddiction experts will answer questions about the impact of drugs on the brain at a free forum at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 11, in the Texas Medical Center.

The forum is sponsored by the Neuroscience Research Center (NRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in conjunction with international Brain Awareness Week. The NRC facilitates neuroscience research and coordinates educational and community outreach efforts at all levels.

The forum will be in UTHealth’s Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center at 7440 Cambridge Street and forum officials can validate the tickets of those parking in the adjacent lot on East Road.  Online registration is available at

The 90-minute forum will feature a panel discussion and is an opportunity for parents, educators, consumers, treatment professionals and others to get the latest scientific information on drugs and how they affect the brain.

Experts will address the upward trend and concern about adolescent use of marijuana and other popular but deadly synthetic drugs, as well as topics related to the abuse of prescription drugs and the effectiveness of different treatment approaches.

Dr. Joy Schmitz, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, holder of the Louis A. Faillace, M.D., Professorship, and director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research on Addiction (CNRA) will moderate the discussion.

Panelists will include:

Dr. Scott Lane, professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences;

  • Dr. Dawnelle Schatte, associate professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the Child Psychiatry Clinic at Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital; and
  • Dr. Michael Weaver,  professor and medical director of the CNRA in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

The CNRA is a designated Center of Excellence by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and is committed to the development of evidence-based treatments for substance use disorders using decisions informed by behavioral neurosciences.

Each year, the public forum covers a different aspect of neuroscience research. A reception following the public forum event will allow participants the opportunity to interact with the guest speakers.

-Rob Cahill, Office of Public Affairs