The gap between basic research advances and new clinical insights and treatments remains a critical obstacle to progress in the field of alcoholism research. This translational neuroscience mission is the enduring focus of the Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism (CTNA). CTNA conducts groundbreaking molecular neuroscience, molecular genetics, functional and chemical neuroimaging, and psychopharmacology studies in the service of providing new insights to bridge the gap between basic and clinical research. This renewal application will study mechanisms through which disturbances in glutamate and dopamine neurotransmission within cortico-limbic circuitry promote the development of pathological drinking. Building on this perspective and its prior achievements, CTNA will explore novel approaches to the pharmacotherapy of alcoholism. CTNA will facilitate transdisciplinary research within projects and across projects. It will also continue its highly productive Pilot Projects Core that provides an open competitive mechanism to enable the Center to rapidly encompass innovative new research and to engage outstanding investigators new to alcoholism research. CTNA will continue to expand its educational mission, building on the success of the NIAAA Research Fellowship and the International Conference on the Applications of Neuroimaging to Alcoholism.
The projects outlined in this renewal application address brain mechanisms through which the heritable risk for alcoholism evolves into human alcoholism. In so doing, it may guide the development of novel preventive strategies. It addresses the public health impact of alcoholism by testing novel treatments for pathological drinking.
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