This program for pre- and post-doctoral training supports the training of specialists who are able to conduct basic research at levels ranging from the molecular to the cognitive/clinical, on the biological mechanisms underlying the etiology, treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorders. Twenty-three members of the graduate faculty of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) serve as preceptors for predoctoral students and postdoctoral research fellows in two graduate programs at OHSU-Behavioral Neuroscience, and the Neuroscience Graduate Program. Major research interests represent five areas of common interest: (1) genetic bases for alcohol and responses and risk, (2) learned and unlearned determinants of alcohol and drug reward, (3) neurobiological bases for the rewarding and aversive effects of alcohol and other drugs, (4) neuroadaptive mechanisms associated with ethanol dependence and sensitization, and (5) effects of alcohol on memory and cognition. Technical strategies reflect four levels of analysis: I. Behavioral pharmacological/pharmacogenetic, II. Neurochemical/neurophysiological/ neuropharmacological, III. Cellular/molecular biological and IV. Cognitive neuroscience/social, including human/clinical level. Coordinated research efforts within the Portland Alcohol Research Center (PARC) and the Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA) have strengthened training by unifying investigators and creating multidimensional research projects. Training includes firm curricular grounding in the basic sciences, specific pharmacological training in alcohol and other abused drugs, and extensive and continuous participation in research. Six predoctoral trainees per year, beginning with 0-2 years of graduate experience, will be supported by the training grant for 2-3 years, and then by individual National Research Service Awards or their mentors' resources. Three postdoctoral trainees per year with 0-1 years of postdoctoral experience will be supported by the training grant for 2 years. We have a well developed plan for improving the diversity of our trainees and all trainees are expected to complete an initial intensive course in the Responsible Conduct of Research, as well as continuing education in this area. Ample opportunities exist for our trainees to be involved in public education and outreach.
Alcoholism is a chronic, relapsing disease that directly affects over 15 million people just in the United States. The cost to society and individuals related to persons suffering from alcoholism is extreme. This training program will create experts capable of carrying on meaningful research on the biological mechanisms underlying the etiology, treatment and prevention of alcoholism.
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