The Charleston Alcohol Research Center (ARC) continues to focus on treatment and treatment implications as an overarching theme. The ARC continues to embrace multidisciplinary and translational research approaches, integrating both basic research and clinical investigations all centered on this common theme. The ARC also continues its tradition of teaming junior faculty with more experienced investigators, capitalizing on new talent and bringing sophisticated cutting-edge technologies and research approaches that enhance research efforts in addressing the Center's overall scientific goals. The ARC is comprised of four research projects and three cores. The Administrative Core provides the leadership and infrastructure to facilitate the overall scientific and educational mission of the Center as a whole. The Shared Resource Core provides vital scientific services needed by Center researchers to facilitate integration, maximize resources, and increase productivity. The Pilot Project Core attracts new investigators and new ideas to the Center, thereby broadening and augmenting its research and training activities. In this renewal application, proposed preclinical and clinical research projects all center on a common research focus - neuroadaptations in cortical processes that underlie transition from controlled to uncontrolled drinking. Two basic research projects will use sophisticated circuitry mapping, and cellular and molecular biology techniques to examine how chronic alcohol exposure alters the function of cortical areas, projections and networks relevant to behavioral control and motivational effects of alcohol. This work will lay the critical foundation for future efforts to target these cortical-subcortical circuitry changes in developing new treatments. Two clinical research projects will employ sophisticated neuroimaging techniques to focus on similar cortical areas and projections in evaluating the ability of different treatment modalities (pharmacological and non- pharmacological) to alter the circuitry and reduce alcohol cue-induced brain activation, craving, and drinking. The Charleston ARC is poised to continue its national leadership role and demonstrated success in: (a) fostering multidisciplinary and translational state-of-the-art research efforts that are thematically-focused on the topic of treatment and treatment implications; (b) attracting new (especially early-stage) investigators into the Center, thereby invigorating its research efforts; and (c) providing a stimulating environment that enriches training opportunities and professional development for the next generation of researchers in the alcohol field.

Public Health Relevance

The Charleston Alcohol Research Center is dedicated to addressing one of the nation's foremost public health concerns: alcohol use disorders and alcoholism. The Center embraces a multidisciplinary, translational research approach involving both clinical and preclinical researchers who are investigating why some individual's transition from social drinking that can be controlled to more excessive, uncontrolled drinking. Understanding brain mechanisms involved in this transition to uncontrolled compulsive-like alcohol consumption is crucial for developing new and more effective therapeutic strategies for arresting the progression to alcohol addiction, and preventing negative consequences associated with alcohol use disorder.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Specialized Center (P50)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1)
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Kwako, Laura Elizabeth
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Medical University of South Carolina
Schools of Medicine
United States
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