The Pilot Project program is designed to promote alcohol research across the UNC campus. We provide funds to new investigators without current or past research support and to established investigators who propose projects that represent a significant departure from their ongoing research. The goal of the program is to provide sufficient funds to generate pilot data on alcohol research projects that can be used to support applications for research grants. A detailed review process includes Internal solicitation for proposals, involvement and advice from appropriate Center faculty, as well as internal and external review to select studies of the highest quality. The pilot program also takes advantage of funds from the NC Clinical and Translational Research Consortium (NIH Clinical Translation, Science Award) that will match funding by the ARC to outstanding proposals. Previous pilot projects funded by our Center grant have led to new NIH funding for UNC researchers. This process brings new people and new ideas into the center, renewing Its vibrance and innovation and helping to keep us on the forefront of the field. This ARC includes two Pilot Projects (Project 16 and 17) as part of this proposal. Both projects integrate nicely with our theme of ALCOHOL PATHOGENESIS. Project 16 (Ramon Bataller, PI) will test whether p90RSK mediates liver injury and inflammation in alcoholic hepatitis (AH). His group will conduct a translational study with liver samples from patients, where p90RSK expression and activation will be determined and correlated with disease severity. Next, they will investigate whether p90RSK inhibition in mice with experimental AH attenuates liver Injury and inflammation. Project 17 (Donald Lysle, PI) will examine the role of interteukin-1|3 (IL-1 (3) In ethanol binge drinking. His group will test the hypotheses that repeated binge-like drinking increases IL-1 (3 expression in brain and that blocking 1L-1(3 using small interfering RNA (siRNA) or IL-13 receptor antagonist will protect against binge-like ethanol drinking. These Pilot Projects will provide the resources for new investigators to develop preliminary findings important for success In larger research grants. This effort supports the long term growth and success of our ARC.
Pilot projects funded by our Center have opened important new avenues in the alcohol research field and supported the growth and development of young scientists at UNC. The new pilots proposed for this funding cycle enhance the comprehensive investigation of molecular and cellular pathogenesis in alcoholism and may lead to new therapies for alcoholism.
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