This application is a competing renewal for an Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA on the "Genetic Aspects of Alcoholism." The objective of this training program is to provide high level predoctoral and postdoctoral research training on various aspects of the genetics of alcoholism, and mechanisms underlying high alcohol drinking behavior. The main focus of the research training is on the genetic, biological and molecular basis of high alcohol -drinking and -seeking behaviors. Major topics of research include neuronal mechanisms underlying high alcohol-drinking and -seeking behavior;the genetics of alcohol preference in selectively bred rodent lines;studies of factors that regulate the expression of genes relevant to alcoholism;analysis of the extent that genetically-influenced biobehavioral factors such as disinhibition-impulsivity and tolerance contribute to alcoholism risks in human populations;effects of genetics and alcohol drinking on protein and gene expression in selectively bred rodent lines;neuropsycho-pharmacological and neuroimaging studies on alcohol craving in humans and rodents;co-morbidity of alcohol addiction and schizophrenia in rodent models;mechanisms and genetics underlying co-abuse of alcohol and nicotine;and neurodevelopmental abnormalities of fetal alcohol syndrome in rodent models. The rationale for the research training program is that we do not yet fully understand how genetics influence alcohol drinking behavior. This is a very important topic and the field needs highly trained research investigators proficient in the newest genetic, molecular and behavioral neuroscience approaches. In addition, our program offers translational research training, encompassing both human and animal studies. The program is designed to give the trainee exposure to and participation in high- powered research projects in which state-of-the-art methodologies are used. We expect to support 7 predoctoral trainees (after their first 2 years of graduate study), and 3 postdoctoral trainees (usually with 0-1 year of post-graduate experience). We anticipate supporting trainees for at least 3 years (some predoctoral trainees may take 1 or 2 additional years).
There is convincing evidence that alcoholism runs in families. Identifying the genes and neurobiological systems that contribute to alcohol use and abuse would greatly contribute toward understanding and treating alcohol use disorders.
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