UK Substance Use Research Event to highlight cannabis research

Researcher measuring cannabis
Arden Barnes | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 16, 2023)  The University of Kentucky is hosting its fifth annual Substance Use Research Event (SURE) April 24 in the UK Gatton Student Center. This free event showcases translational research conducted at UK focusing on substance use and substance use disorder.

Cannabis research is a focus of this year’s event, which will include an update on the new UK Cannabis Center, a breakout session on emerging cannabis research, and a keynote from a national cannabis expert.

“This annual event was created five years ago to highlight the depth and breadth of substance use and related research happening all over campus, and it provides an opportunity to bring together experts from many different backgrounds to build networks and continue to spur future collaborations,” said William Stoops, Ph.D., UK College of Medicine professor and organizing committee chair for the event.

Plenary speakers this year are:

  • Alan J. Budney, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and biomedical data science, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; “Cannabis and the Public Health: Knowns, Unknowns and Nonsense”
  • Kathleen A. Grant, Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Neuroscience, Oregon National Primate Research Center; “Integrating behavioral, brain imaging, and synaptic function data to assess risk for excessive alcohol intake”

The following symposia will be led by UK faculty:

  • "Understanding the roles of biological sex and gonadal hormones on motivated behavior: implications for substance use disorder research"
  • "Cannabis and cannabinoid research: data from new and emerging investigators"
    • Shanna Babalonis, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral science, UK College of Medicine - UK Cannabis Center
    • Josh Lile, Ph.D., professor of behavioral science, UK College of Medicine
  • "The future of substance use disorder surveillance in Kentucky and beyond"
  • "Implementing overdose prevention in the community: successes and opportunities"
    • Katie Marks, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral science, UK College of Medicine
    • April Young, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology, UK College of Public Health

The free event is open to all members of UK and the greater Lexington community who are interested in the field. Attendees must register in advance here.

The UK Substance Use Research Day is sponsored by the UK Office of the Vice President for Research. For more information, visit UK Research.


As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.