Landmark UB scientist to apply NIH-funded research to solving society's problems

Addictions researchers Paul Stasiewicz, PhD, and Clara Bradizza, PhD, join UB School of Social Work faculty

“Their contributions to our current research, faculty and students will be immeasurable. ”
Nancy J. Smyth, Dean

In confirming the establishment of a new strategic focus on translational research for the School of Social Work, Dean Nancy J. Smyth, PhD, further announced the addition of internationally renowned addictions researchers, Clara M. Bradizza, PhD, and Paul Stasiewicz, PhD, to the school’s faculty, as full professors.

Together, these scientists have over 20 years of experience conducting National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded addictions research. Their current research, which will continue under the auspices of the UB School of Social Work’s Buffalo Center for Social Research, in a newly established Behavioral Health Clinic, is presently funded by $9 million in grants from the NIH.

“Social work is a broad area; at its core is the adaptation of scientific discovery to workable changes that benefit those in need,” said Smyth. “Clara and Paul have achieved remarkable success in securing research funding and conducting successful clinical research programs—and translating that research into workable treatments for vulnerable populations. Their contributions to our current research, faculty and students will be immeasurable.”

The two researchers join the school after having served as senior research scientists at UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions (CRIA, formerly the Research Institute on Addictions) and in the UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Department of Psychiatry, where they have been associated since 1996.

Stasiewicz, who also assumes the new position of Janet B. Wattles Endowed Chair, is a leading researcher in the field of addiction research. The Janet B. Wattles Chair was recently established with funding in part provided by donations from UB alumna Janet B. Wattles (MSW, 1950).

“We are grateful for the generosity of Janet B. Wattles. Her gift and the Wattles Chair position will strengthen the bridge between our school’s research and real social change,” said Smyth.

Bradizza brings extensive experience leading addiction research programs and over her career has been awarded more than $22 million in NIH research grants.

In addition to continuing their groundbreaking addictions research, Bradizza and Stasiewicz will teach doctoral-level courses and serve as mentors to both students and faculty. Their experience will contribute greatly to faculty as they define their research agendas, and to doctoral students, as they refine their professional goals.

“In moving to UB’s School of Social Work, we are excited about collaborating with new colleagues and with local agencies to find ways to reduce alcohol-related harm in our communities,” said Stasiewicz.

“Together, the disciplines of psychology and social work can shed more light on the personal and environmental factors that drive health behaviors. We believe we can translate that into new and better ways to positively impact the health of our communities, our nation and the world,” added Bradizza.

Smyth and the school administration are confident that the work of Bradizza and Stasiewicz is both unique and appropriate for the School of Social Work. Their success in translating research discoveries into treatments and tools that can improve the lives of those suffering the ravages of addictions is a major benefit—much of their research focuses on vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, victims of sexual violence and individuals with mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Stasiewicz has been the principal investigator on several landmark NIH studies, and his research has been funded by the NIH, specifically the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), for more than 20 years. His peers’ esteem is demonstrated by the degree to which he is invited to consult on far-reaching policies and programs. He has frequently been invited to review grants for the NIAAA, and he is a respected long-time member of committees of the American Psychological Association and, more recently, of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. He earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Binghamton University and completed Brown University’s Post-Doctoral Training Program in Alcohol Treatment and Early Intervention Research.

Bradizza has provided leadership in the field of addictions research including an editorial position at the journal Addictive Behaviors and has served as program chair at American Psychological Association conferences. She is a permanent member of an NIH Study Section, “Interventions to Prevent and Treat Addictions,” that evaluates the scientific merit of NIH grant applications and has participated in review meetings for the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science, an interagency partnership between the Food and Drug Administration and the NIH that informs the regulation of tobacco products. She earned her PhD from Binghamton University and completed Brown University’s Post-Doctoral Training Program in Alcohol Treatment and Early Intervention Research.

Please join us in welcoming our new faculty!