Addiction Research

Addiction traps individuals, disrupts families, and affects entire communities. SRI addiction research investigates the causes of addiction, preventive measures, and treatments to stop the downward spiral of addiction.

Nicotine Addiction Research

SRI's Center for Health Sciences has long been recognized for its leading nicotine addiction research. For NIH and other clients, SRI examines the predictors of relapse to nicotine addiction and the influence of genetics on smoking. Nicotine research aims to identify subpopulations at high risk for relapse after nicotine replacement therapy and genetic mutations that may be common among users of alcohol, coffee, and nicotine.

Additional sponsors include the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the University of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Fund.

Drug Abuse Research

For clients such as the National Institutes of Health, SRI researchers conduct neuropharmacology studies to discover nonaddictive analgesics. We also perform substance abuse research to investigate the relationship between analgesia and addiction, focusing on opiate receptors and the recently discovered opiate-like receptor ORL1.

To understand the molecular basis of addiction, SRI conducts drug addiction research to study the receptor pharmacology of addictive compounds, including opiates and cocaine analogs. We also conduct drug abuse research for the National Institute on Drug Abuse to generate receptor binding data for the research community at large.


nicotine molecule with cigarettes

Researchers are seeking to identify novel genes contributing to nicotine metabolism and to smoking cessation.

diagram of nicotinic receptors

SRI is investigating whether the nicotine in tobacco smoke may be useful in meeting the urgent need to manage Parkinson’s disease.

cigarette being snapped in half

SRI is analyzing the genetics of smoking and related characteristics, using data from a large-scale National Cancer Institute study on smoking cessation.

man putting out a cigarette in an ashtray

This project could advance drug abuse prevention and intervention research by identifying Genetic x Environment (GxE) interactions, which may help explain the development of nicotine dependence. Results may guide development of tailored interventions.

nicotinic receptors affect brain activity

To support more effective cessation treatments, SRI researchers are exploring how nicotinic receptors affect brain activity in response to smoking.

Twins on bicycles

SRI studied twins to gain more clinical insight into physiologic response to powerful opioid painkillers. Study results should help to optimize pain relief and minimize adverse effects.

twin boys

SRI established the Twin Research Registry as part of its scientific research and efforts to discover more about human behavior. Fraternal and identical twins and multiples of all ages are invited to join the Registry for consideration for research studies.

Press Releases

Joseph Rogers

In his career, Rogers has focused on age-related neurologic diseases. He is best known for showing that inflammatory responses occur in almost all major age-related brain disorders and cause substantial damage, with his seminal paper in the area receiving nearly 1,200 citations to date.

Hands holding puzzle pieces

In a step toward understanding possible genetic differences in smoking behaviors, a team of researchers co-led by SRI International has identified a genetic marker associated with smoking quantity in people of African ancestry.

In preclinical studies, researchers at SRI International and Astraea Therapeutics have recently evaluated the role of a new drug receptor target that shows promise for the treatment of addiction to nicotine, cocaine and morphine.

Adolf Pfefferbaum

The Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) awarded its 2011 Distinguished Researcher Award to Adolf Pfefferbaum, M.D., director of the Neuroscience Program in the Center for Health Sciences at SRI International and a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Gary Swang, director of SRI International's Center for Health Sciences

Gary E. Swan, Ph.D., director of SRI International's Center for Health Sciences, has been elected by the membership of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) as its president-elect and will serve as president in 2012.

SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development institute, today announced that new research on nicotine dependence is featured in National Cancer Institute’s Tobacco Control Monograph 20, Phenotypes and Endophenotypes.

SRI International announced a new study conducted for the National Institutes of Health to investigate the effects of smoking cessation and related treatments on sleep. The study is one of the first collaborations of its kind between scientists studying sleep and those studying nicotine addiction.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success initiative is concerned with understanding how online technology applications can assess and improve students’ math readiness to better prepare them for college-level math courses and postsecondary success. As part of this initiative,...

Associations between CHRNA5-A3-B4 variants and smoking behaviors exist; however, the association with smoking abstinence is less understood, particularly that among African Americans. In 1,295 African Americans enrolled in two clinical trials, we investigated the association between CHRNA5-A3-B4...

A new algorithm, developed with data from smoking cessation clinical trials and published practice guidelines, is designed to predict the likelihood of abstinence.

Recent scientific advances have provided substantial information on the brain circuits and pathways relevant to various aspects of dependence. Neurobiology of Alcohol Dependence highlights the most recent data at the molecular, cellular, neurocircuitry, and behavioral levels, fostering an...

Blog Posts

Through twin studies, scientists understand the interplay between genetics and the environment in ways that the study of unrelated people–or even other types of siblings–is unable to do.