Dan Werb of Woodhands Awarded $1.5 Million Grant for HIV/AIDS Research

Dan Werb of Woodhands Awarded $1.5 Million Grant for HIV/AIDS Research
It's notoriously difficult to make money as a musician, but Woodhands/Ark Analog player Dan Werb has attracted a lot of well-meaning funds in his career as an epidemiologist. The Canadian electro-pop musician just got a $1.5 million U.S. research grant for his work in preventing the spread of drug addiction and HIV/AIDS.

As a research scientist at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Werb was one of four recipients of the first Avenir Award from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. The award is being given to new scientists doing cutting-edge research in regards to substance use and HIV/AIDS.

Werb will use the grant to fund a new project called PRIMER (Preventing Injecting by Modifying Existing Responses). Through this, he will work with researchers in San Diego, Tijuana, Vancouver and France (specifically Paris, Marseille and Bordeaux) to examine how to lessen the spread of addiction, focusing on treatment methods like methadone maintenance therapy and supervised injection sites. The project is set to last for five years and involve 4,000 people.

"For too long, the goals of preventing addiction have seemed at odds with efforts to treat this condition," Werb said in a statement. "It is my hope that over the coming years we will demonstrate that treating the harms of addiction is, in fact, not only compatible with prevention aims but is actually an effective way of preventing the spread of addiction across populations. Through PRIMER, I believe we will be able to identify ways to prevent the spread of addiction. And through the ICSDP, we will be able to take this evidence and support governments to develop more effective policy responses to addictions."

Werb is well-established in the field of epidemiology: he has his PhD and works with the University of California's San Diego School of Medicine. He's also the director of Toronto's International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. 

On the musical front, Werb recently reunited Woodhands for Paper Bag Records' #PAPER100 event as part of Toronto's NXNE.

Thanks to the Province/AUX for the tip.