Rick Bevins, Chancellor’s Professor of psychology, has been named director and principal investigator of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Rural Drug Addiction Research Center.
The center was created in April 2019 as a National Institutes of Health Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, or COBRE. The center’s mission is to advance understanding of causes, impacts and interventions related to rural drug addiction in the Midwest, a geographic area that has been historically understudied. Designed to be interdisciplinary and data-driven, the research links pre-clinical studies to field-based behavioral, neural, social, clinical, translational research and dissemination.
Bevins has served as co-principal investigator since the center’s inception. He succeeds founding director Kirk Dombrowski, who became vice president for research at the University of Vermont in March.
For more than 20 years, Bevins’s research has focused on behavioral pharmacology, drug abuse and addiction science. Much of his work has focused on how individuals’ learning processes and memory influence behavior, which is critical to understanding the nature of drug abuse and the causes of relapse. He has conducted numerous NIH-funded studies on tobacco use and nicotine addiction. Recent collaborations with the University of Nebraska Medical Center have allowed Bevins to study the physiological effects of methamphetamine dependence and potential approaches to preventing relapse.
“I’m pleased that Rick has stepped into this role,” said Bob Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development. “His impressive track record in producing groundbreaking research, as well as mentoring young scientists in his field, has prepared him to lead a growing research center that has great potential to positively impact lives in Nebraska and beyond.”
Bevins, who also serves as chair of psychology, has published more than 150 papers and received research support from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and associate editor for motivated behavior for the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior.