The major theme of our Alcohol Research Center is treatment through research. By enhancing our basic knowledge of alcohol's action on the brain and of individual risk factors for the development of alcohol abuse and dependence, better treatments can be developed. One important way to facilitate this translation approach to alcohol research is to encourage the development of new tools and ideas. Recent advances in molecular biology and genetics, neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry, and related fields offer great promise for better defining key mechanisms and pathways that underlie excessive drinking. In turn, these targets can be used to develop effective and personalized treatment strategies. The major goal of the ARC Pilot Project Component is to identify and recruit individuals to use these unique tools and skills in order to generate novel and interesting data of relevance to alcohol treatment. This goal will be accomplished by carrying out three Specific Aims: 1) Provide a mechanism to recruit and mentor basic science and clinical investigators into the alcohol research field and to promote their ability to generate publications and independent grant funding;2) Increase efforts in promoting and developing translational research approaches in the alcohol research field by identifying critical areas where basic science and clinical practice overlap;and 3) Identify gaps in our knowledge regarding the effects of alcohol on brain and behavior, and apply specific technologies and approaches to solving these problems. Each year, we will invite researchers across the MUSC campus to submit a 5-page proposal describing a research plan that specifically addresses novel alcohol treatments or has implications for treatment. A system is in place to review and select pilot projects for funding. Projects supported by this Component will be rigorously monitored for progress, and mentoring will be offered to junior investigators and to those new to the alcohol field. By actively seeking out pilot projects from MUSC researchers across the diverse set of disciplines within the university, we will not only expand our research capabilities, but will provide training and support to investigators who seek to join us in solving the problems associated with alcoholism and excessive drinking.

Public Health Relevance

The understanding of how alcohol affects the brain has grown tremendously. A major reason for this is due to continued support of basic and clinical research that seeks to define why some individuals have difficulty in controlling their drinking. Studies carried out under this Pilot Component will test new ideas and will generate preliminary data to address unanswered questions regarding uncontrolled drinking, and will augment our ability to effectively treat excessive drinking.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Specialized Center (P50)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1-GG (99))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Medical University of South Carolina
United States
Zip Code
Laguesse, Sophie; Morisot, Nadege; Shin, Jung Hoon et al. (2017) Prosapip1-Dependent Synaptic Adaptations in the Nucleus Accumbens Drive Alcohol Intake, Seeking, and Reward. Neuron 96:145-159.e8
Cannady, Reginald; McGonigal, Justin T; Newsom, Ryan J et al. (2017) Prefrontal Cortex KCa2 Channels Regulate mGlu5-Dependent Plasticity and Extinction of Alcohol-Seeking Behavior. J Neurosci 37:4359-4369
Anderson, Rachel I; Becker, Howard C (2017) Role of the Dynorphin/Kappa Opioid Receptor System in the Motivational Effects of Ethanol. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 41:1402-1418
Witkiewitz, Katie; Wilson, Adam D; Pearson, Matthew R et al. (2017) Temporal Stability of Heavy Drinking Days and Drinking Reductions Among Heavy Drinkers in the COMBINE Study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 41:1054-1062
Litten, Raye Z; Falk, Daniel E; O'Malley, Stephanie S et al. (2017) Letter to Editor in Response to Johnson's Commentary (2017) on the Witkiewitz and Colleagues (2017) Article. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 41:1381-1382
Rinker, Jennifer A; Fulmer, Diana B; Trantham-Davidson, Heather et al. (2017) Differential potassium channel gene regulation in BXD mice reveals novel targets for pharmacogenetic therapies to reduce heavy alcohol drinking. Alcohol 58:33-45
Nimitvilai, Sudarat; Lopez, Marcelo F; Mulholland, Patrick J et al. (2017) Ethanol Dependence Abolishes Monoamine and GIRK (Kir3) Channel Inhibition of Orbitofrontal Cortex Excitability. Neuropsychopharmacology 42:1800-1812
Trantham-Davidson, Heather; Centanni, Samuel W; Garr, S Corrin et al. (2017) Binge-Like Alcohol Exposure During Adolescence Disrupts Dopaminergic Neurotransmission in the Adult Prelimbic Cortex. Neuropsychopharmacology 42:1024-1036
Rinker, Jennifer A; Mulholland, Patrick J (2017) Promising pharmacogenetic targets for treating alcohol use disorder: evidence from preclinical models. Pharmacogenomics 18:555-570
Stewart, Scott H; Reuben, Adrian; Anton, Raymond F (2017) Relationship of Abnormal Chromatographic Pattern for Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin with Severe Liver Disease. Alcohol Alcohol 52:24-28

Showing the most recent 10 out of 179 publications