The major goal of this Center is to leverage existing strengths in human, non-human primate, and rodent alcohol research at WFUHS to develop a translational alcohol research program that will successfully compete for a P60 center grant within the next five years. A broad-based Center structure is proposed that will facilitate the integration of institutional expertise in epidemiology and prevention and will bring together faculty from the Departments of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Pediatrics, Physiology and Pharmacology and Public Health Sciences. Infrastructure development activities will include a monthly seminar series, a monthly journal club, and an annual retreat. A workshop series will also be planned and implemented to broaden the base of knowledge and promote the integration of research among participating investigators. The overarching research goal of this Developmental Center is to use human, non-human primate, and rodent models to study the interaction between early-life stressors, behavioral risk factors associated with alcoholism, and binge drinking. These studies will be framed by the working hypothesis that exposure to life stress is associated with increased risk-related behavior (with a focus on impulsivity) and alcohol consumption, and that persistent dysregulation of serotonergic signaling contributes to these environmental and behavioral interactions. These hypotheses will be evaluated in human subjects with and without a history of life stress and/or binge drinking and using established non-human primate and rodent models of early-life stress. A major emphasis will be on the development of non-human primate and rodent models of risk-related behaviors and ethanol self-administration to facilitate integration with human studies. This Developmental P20 center will have an administrative structure, research projects, and training goals that will allow new opportunities at WFU for collaborative translational alcohol research to develop in a manner that maximize the successful transition to a planned P60 Center.

Public Health Relevance

of this Research to Public Health: The proposed studies outline a translational research initiative that will bring together human, non-human primate, and rodent alcohol researchers to address complex and unresolved questions regarding the neurobiological mechanisms that link early-life stress and alcohol abuse. These translational studies will shed new light on important behavioral phenotypes associated with early environmental stress, their association with excessive alcohol drinking, and specific neurobiological mechanisms that may underlie these relationships. Such findings would facilitate the early detection of at risk individuals and may point toward novel neurobiological targets for the development of more effective pharmacotherapies for the treatment of alcoholism.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1-EE (93))
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Grandison, Lindsey
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Wake Forest University Health Sciences
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