In this Section
- Office of the Scientific Director
- Office of the Clinical Director
- NIAAA Laboratories
- Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology (CPN)
- Laboratory of Behavioral & Genomic Neuroscience
- Laboratory of Clinical & Translational Studies
- Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience
- LIN - Office of the Chief
- LIN - Section on Neuronal Structure
- LIN - Section of Synaptic Pharmacology (SP)
- Laboratory of Liver Diseases
- Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics
- Laboratory of Metabolic Control
- Laboratory of Molecular Physiology
- Laboratory of Molecular Signaling
- Laboratory of Neurogenetics
- Laboratory for Neuroimaging
- Laboratory of Physiologic Studies
- Chemical Biology Research Branch (joint lab with NIDA)
- Office of Laboratory Animal Science (OLAS)
- Research and Training
- Clinical Trials at NIAAA/NIH
Our intramural laboratories and other major components are:
Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience
The Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience specializes in using animal models to determine how exposure to stress and drugs of abuse affect an individual’s capacity for high-level cognitive and so-called executive functions. Executive functions include the ability to inhibit inappropriate behaviors such as aggression and excessive fear, and the capacity for controlling and avoiding potentially self-destructive activities which capacity is often compromised in drug and alcohol addiction.
Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience
The goal of the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience is to understand the genetic, molecular, and neurological determinants of the cognitive and behavioral bases of alcoholism. In particular, the Laboratory studies the genetic and molecular mechanisms that influence neural circuit morphology, circuit plasticity, and a range of alcoholism-related behaviors. The Section on Synaptic Pharmacology focuses on gene transcription, protein expression and cellular imaging. The Section on Neuronal Structure examines the relationship between neuronal morphology, neurophysiology and behavior. And the Section on In Vivo Neural Function examines the relationship between neural circuitry and task learning in transgenic mice.
Laboratory of Liver Diseases
The goal of the Laboratory of Liver Diseases is to elucidate the molecular pathways that underwrite the propagation of alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, and to identify therapeutic targets that can be used to reverse the course of these diseases. The Laboratory is especially interested in role of inflammation in liver disease, as well as the mechanisms that protect the liver from chronic alcohol exposure.
Laboratory of Metabolic Control
The goal of the Laboratory of Metabolic Control is to examine the production and biochemical regulation of cellular energy. The Laboratory is especially interested in the metabolism of acetate (the primary metabolite of ethanol) and development of ketones for the treatment of epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.
Laboratory of Molecular Physiology
The goal of the Laboratory of Molecular Physiology is to study the cellular and subcellular signaling pathways that mediate synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability. The Section on Transmitter Signaling focuses on the regulation of calcium ions and the development neural imaging technologies. The Section on Cellular Biophotonics specializes in the use of advanced microscopy to study the regulation and assembly of membrane proteins. The Section on Model Synaptic Systems examines the molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission.
Laboratory of Molecular Signaling
The goal of the Laboratory of Molecular Signaling is to understand the metabolism of poly unsaturated fatty acids in the brain. The Laboratory is particularly interested in how the accumulation and metabolism of docosahexaenoic acid in the brain promotes cognitive and memory functions, and how the inhibition of these metabolic processes contributes to psychiatric disorders.
Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics
The goal of the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics is to understand how chronic alcohol use affects the structure and function of cellular membranes. The Laboratory is particularly interested in the role of docosahexaenoic acid on membrane function. The Section on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance studies how polyunsaturated fatty acids influence cellular functions by altering the biophysical properties of lipid membranes and by interacting with membrane proteins. The Section of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology focuses on the involvement of two enzymes in the metabolism of ethanol, increased oxidative/nitrosative damage, and signaling mechanisms during cell death. The Section on Nutritional Neuroscience examines the impact of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids on the development of substance use and psychiatric disorders.
Laboratory of Neurogenetics
The goal of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics is to identify genetic variations that contribute to the inheritance of alcoholism and related addictive and psychiatric disorders. The Laboratory uses a number of genetic, genomic, behavioral, and bioinformatic techniques to identify associations between genotypic variations and intermediate phenotypes that are involved in disease progression. The Section on Human Neurogenetics focuses on genotypic analyses, while the Section on Comparative Behavioral Genomics concentrates on the behavioral consequences of genetic variation.
Laboratory of Neuroimaging
The Laboratory of Neuroimaging uses neuroimaging technologies to understand the molecular mechanisms of compulsive disorders. The laboratory is especially interested in comparing the way that drugs of abuse (such as alcohol and cocaine) and non-drug reinforcers (such as food and gambling) influence reward processes in the brain.
Laboratory of Physiologic Studies
The goal of the Laboratory of Physiological Studies is to understand the molecular and cellular bases of alcohol-induced organ damage. The Laboratory is especially interested in the effects of alcohol on cardiovascular disease. The Section on Neuroendocrinology focuses on the biology of endogenous cannabinoids and receptors, and their role in energy metabolism and cardiovascular regulation. The Section on Oxidative Stress Tissue Injury examines molecular mechanisms related to alcohol-induced cardiovascular damage.
Chemical Biology Research Branch (joint lab with NIDA)
The goal of this Section, which is jointly administered by NIAAA and NIDA, is to develop a wide range of new compounds for clinical and research purposes. The Section focuses on novel analgesics, antagonists of the Toll-like 4 receptors, agonists of the corticotropin releasing hormone, and interleukin-6 agonists.
Sections and Intramural Research Components
Section on Clinical Genomics and Experimental Therapeutics
The CGET conducts pre-clinical studies and translational clinical studies with focus on genomics and epigenetics related to the pathophysiology and treatment of alcohol use disorders and addictions.
Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology (joint lab with NIDA)
The CPN laboratory conducts translational and clinical outpatient and inpatient studies in order to identify possible novel medications for addiction. The lab uses a combination of state-of-the-art and novel bio behavioral and pharmacological procedures performed under well-controlled human laboratory conditions.
Clinical Neuroimaging Research Core
This unit conducts both functional and structural brain imaging studies related to alcoholism. These include the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques, positron emission tomographic (PET) studies, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.