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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

NIAAA Director’s Report on Institute Activities to The 121st Meeting of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


A. Legislation, Budget, and Policy

B. Director’s Activities

C. NIAAA Staff and Organization

D. Multi-Media Products From NIAAA

E. Outreach

F. News Media Interactions

G. What’s Ahead

H. NIAAA Program Announcement and Request for Applications Information

I. NIAAA Research Programs

J. Scientific Meetings

A. Legislation, Budget, and Policy

Budget Update

FY2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act 2009 (ARRA) Stimulus Funding

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. The intent of this Act is to stimulate the US economy, create and preserve millions of jobs, and to address long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. ARRA includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief and protect those in greatest need.

The NIH is well positioned to fund the best science in its efforts to improve the length and quality of lives of our citizens while at the same time stimulating the economy. The Recovery Act provides $10.4 billion to NIH, available through September 2010, with the bulk to be awarded in FY 2009.

ARRA provides NIH with funding in the following categories:

  • $8.2 billion in support of scientific research priorities

  • $7.4 billion is transferred to the Institutes and Centers and Common Fund (CF), based on a percentage-based formula

  • $800 million to the Office of the NIH Director (not including CF), including Challenge Grants

  • $1 billion to support Extramural Construction, Repairs, and Alterations

  • Allocated to the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) in support of all NIH funded research institutions

  • $300 million for Shared Instrumentation and other capital equipment

  • Allocated to NCRR to support all NIH activities

  • $500 million for NIH buildings and facilities

  • To fund high priority repair, construction and improvement projects on NIH campuses that also align with the overall purpose of the Act

  • $400 million for Comparative Effectiveness Research

Implementing the Recovery Act at NIAAA

NIAAA will receive $113,851,000 in ARRA funds using the percentage-based NIH formula for all ICs. NIAAA is working diligently to take optimal advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. Our goal is to invest the ARRA funds to stimulate research advances in the alcohol field. NIAAA will continue to provide updated information regarding its Recovery Act efforts through the Department of Health Services (HHS) Recovery Web Site and

Funding opportunities include: Extension of the payline to fund additional highly meritorious R01 and R21 applications from previous application cycles; and Funding of applications in response to new opportunities including Challenge Grants, "Grand Opportunities" (GO) Grants, Competitive and AdministrativeSupplements, and Core Centers (P30 Faculty Recruitment Grants). All applications awarded must be fully compliant with ARRA guidelines. Reporting requirements for ARRA are more extensive than for traditional funding. In addition, ARRA funds cannot be comingled with non-ARRA funds.

R01s and R21s

NIAAA is using a portion of its ARRA funds to extend support for meritorious R01 and R21 applications received for review in FY 2008 or FY2009 that were initially beyond the payline for funding.

Challenge Grants

The NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research is a new program that will support research on topic areas that address specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research that would benefit from significant 2-year jumpstart funds. The NIH identified a range of Challenge Areas focusing on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. Each NIH Institute, Center, and Office has selected specific Challenge Topics within the broad Challenge Areas related to its mission. The research in these Challenge Areas is anticipated to have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health. The NIH Office of the Director anticipates funding 200 or more grants, each not to exceed $1 million in total costs, pending the number and quality of applications and availability of funds. In addition, NIAAA and other individual Institutes and Centers anticipate using a portion of their ARRA funds to support additional challenge grants.

Research and Research Infrastructure “Grand Opportunities” (RC2)

The purpose of the Research and Research Infrastructure Grand Opportunities program is to support high impact ideas that lend themselves to short-term, non-renewable funding, and may lay the foundation for new fields of investigation. The program will support large-scale research projects that accelerate critical breakthroughs, early and applied research on cutting-edge technologies, and new approaches to improve the synergy and interactions among multi and interdisciplinary research teams. Overall, NIAAA expects to devote $10,000,000 to the Grand Opportunity program. In addition, NIAAA will give higher-priority to application requests that do not exceed $1,000,000 in total costs per year.

Recovery Act Funds for Competitive Revision Applications

NIAAA anticipates awarding up to $8 million for revision applications consistent with the goals of NOT-OD-09-058 and the economic stimulus goals of the ARRA. Award decisions will be made based upon 1) priority score ranking, 2) adherence to the economic stimulus goals of the ARRA, and 3) availability of resources.

Recovery Act Funds for Administrative Supplements

NIAAA anticipates awarding up to $8 million for administrative supplements not to exceed $100,000 direct costs per year per supplement (unless approved by the Acting Director). For administrative supplements, the parent grant must be active for the duration of the supplement. Applications will be evaluated within NIAAA on the basis of: 1) adherence to the economic stimulus goals of the ARRA, 2) impact on the particular scientific project, and 3) reasonableness of costs with respect to available resources.  To be considered, submissions must have been received before June 1, 2009, although additional requests may be considered later in the year depending on the availability of funds.

Recovery Act Funds for Administrative Supplements Providing Summer Research Experiences for Students and Science Educators

NIAAA welcomes administrative supplement applications consistent with the goals of NOT-OD-09-060 and the economic stimulus goals of the ARRA. Institutions/organizations are eligible if they have active NIAAA Research Grants, Research Program and Center Grants, and Cooperative Agreements. Research Grants may request administrative supplements for the purpose of promoting job creation, economic development, and accelerating the pace and achievement of scientific research. These supplements will encourage students to seriously pursue research careers in the health related sciences, as well as provide elementary, middle school, and high school teachers, community college faculty, and faculty from non-research intensive institutions with short term research experiences in NIAAA-funded laboratories. Extramural Divisions provided their recommendations, in priority order, to the Acting Director, NIAAA for review and approved supplements were submitted to NIH/OD on May 1, 2009.

Research Centers (P20 & P50):

All Research Center Grant funding requests must be approved by the OD/NIH. Potential awards will be selected in order of priority score and considered based upon adherence to the goals of the ARRA.

Recovery Act Limited Competition: Biomedical Research Core Centers to Enhance Research Resources (P30)

This NIH-wide initiative is designed to provide the necessary resources for U.S. academic institutions to enhance their biomedical research efforts through the development of Biomedical Research Core Centers. These cores are designed to provide scientific and programmatic support for promising investigators and areas of research, including funds to hire, provide appropriate start-up packages, and develop pilot research projects for newly independent investigators, with the goal of augmenting and expanding the institution’s research efforts.

Under this program NIAAA is making P30 faculty recruitment grants available to any U.S. academic or medical department for the recruitment of faculty members with a focus on a topic in alcohol research.  Overall, the NIAAA expects to devote $6,000,000 to the Core Centers for Enhancing Research Capacity in U.S. institutions, allowing for 7-10 awards. Budgets for direct costs of up to $300,000 per year and project duration of up to two years may be requested, for a maximum of $600,000 direct costs over a two-year project period. NIAAA’s intent is that each award provide support to bring one biomedical investigator with experience in alcohol research (including those who perform behavioral and public health research); 1) into a department that has no other alcohol researchers, or 2) into a department that does have faculty involved in alcohol research in order to augment that research.

FY 2009 Conference Allowance

On Thursday, March 12, 2009, President Obama signed Public Law 111-8, (H.R. 1105, The Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009) authorizing funding for NIH for Fiscal Year 2009. Under the 2009 Conference NIAAA’s budget is $450.2M, which is a 2.7% increase over the fiscal 2008 level. A summary of the FY 2009 Conference Budget is reflected below.

FY 2010 President’s Budget Request

This budget marks the beginning of the new Administration’s pledge to support research policies relative to a number of campaign statements. The new Administration continues to support the NIH special emphasis on young researchers at the beginning of their careers, and backs high-risk, high-return research through the NIH Common Fund and other trans-NIH programs. NIAAA President’s Budget request for FY2010 is $455.1M, 1.1% above the FY2009 Conference Allowance.

The following highlight some of the major components of the FY 2010 President’s Budget Request.

Research Project Grants – Under the 2010 President’s Budget request, NIAAA has budgeted $65M for new and competing RPGs. NIAAA’s average total cost target for competing RPGs for FY2010 is approximately $332K. This allows NIAAA to support approximately 196 competing research project grants. The non-competing RPGs totaled $198.6M which will support approximately 537 projects. The NIH budget policy for RPGs in FY 2010 is to provide for two percent inflationary increases in noncompeting awards and a two percent increase in average cost for competing RPGs. NIAAA will support a total of 758 Research Project Grant (RPG) awards in FY 2010.

Alcohol Research Centers – The Centers program budget will support 19 research centers at $28.2M.

Other Research – $14.3M is provided to support 98 research career awards under the FY 2010 President’s budget. Cooperative Agreements will be funded at $9.4M.

Research Training is provided $11.8M for 301 pre- and post-doctoral trainees in full-time training positions, which is a 1% increase over FY 2009.

Research and Development Contracts are provided $34.6M.

Intramural Research Program -- $49.2M has been allocated to maintain the Intramural Research Program’s overall level of effort for FY 2010.

RMS activities are increased 1.8% to $27.2M for the FY 2010 President’s Budget.

Below is a summary of the FY 2010 President’s Budget Request (dollars in thousands)



FY 2008 Actual BA

 FY 2009 Full Year Conference Allowance

 FY 2010 President’s Budget

Extramural Research:







Grants and Contracts




Research Training (NRSA)




Intramural Research ............................




Research Management and Support




Total, NIAAA (including AIDS)




Percent increase over prior year




AIDS (not added)








B. Director’s Activities

NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D. spoke at the following recent meetings:

  • NIAAA Extramural Advisory Board Meeting, “Gut-Liver-Brain Interactions in Alcohol-Induced Pathogenesis” February 3, 2009;

  • CADCA National Leadership Forum XVIII, Plenary Address: “Partnering to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking and Related Problems,” Washington, DC, February 11, 2009;

  • NIAAA Training Directors’ Meeting & Trainee Workshop, Presentation on “NIAAA Perspectives,” New Orleans, LA, March 13-15, 2009;

  • Catholic University FASD Symposium, “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders – Research Findings and Challenges,” Washington, DC, April 16, 2009

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, FASD Center for Excellence Expert Panel Meeting, “NIAAA Priorities for Research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders,” Albuquerque, NM, May 12, 2009

  • Friends of NIAAA Congressional Briefing, “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders,” Washington, DC, May 20, 2009

Dr. Warren also participated in the following recent meetings:

  • Leadership Dinner, Board of the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation, Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, February 8, 2009

  • Institute of Medicine Neuroscience Forum, Washington, DC, February 24-25, 2009

Dr. Warren Presents to NIH SMRB

On April 27 and 28, 2009 the NIH Scientific Management Review Board held its first meeting since being authorized by the NIH Reform Act of 2006 and signed into law in January 2007. The NIH Reform Act provides certain organizational authorities to HHS and NIH officials regarding NIH institutes and centers and the Office of the Director. The purpose of the Scientific Management Review Board is to advise HHS and NIH officials on the use of those organizational authorities.

At the meeting, experts from within NIH discussed issues of importance to the future of the NIH. Additionally, past NIH directors Drs. Harold Varmus and Elias Zerhouni presented their perspectives on science and the structure of NIH.

Among the topics of discussion at the meeting was the recommendation to study the feasibility of merging NIAAA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, Acting Deputy Director, NIH; Dr. Kenneth R. Warren, Acting Director, NIAAA; and Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director, NIDA briefed SMRB members on the missions, goals, and activities of the institutes.

Speaking in support of maintaining NIAAA and NIDA as separate institutes were Drs. Steven Breckler of the American Psychological Association, Michael Charness, Harvard Medical School; Mack Mitchell, ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research; Peter Monti, Brown University; Sara Jo Nixon, University of Florida; Gyongyi Szabo, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases; and Mark Schuckit, VA San Diego Healthcare System; as well as the Honorable Linda Chezem, National Alliance for Alcohol Research and Education, and Mr. Tom Donaldson, NOFAS (National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).

SMRB members decided to further study the potential merger of NIAAA and NIDA; the Board will create a subcommittee to undertake a detailed examination of the issue. Information on SMRB activities, including a videocast of the April meeting, is available at

C. NIAAA Staff and Organization


The NIAAA online training program, Video Cases: Helping People Who Drink Too Much, has won several honors. It received a first place in the Gold Screen competition of the National Association of Government Communicators, in the “Instructional/Training/Webinar” category. From the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, it received two Hermes Creative Awards: a Platinum Award in the “Web-based Training” category and a Gold Award in the “Video/Government” category. It also won an NIH 2009 Plain Language Gold Award. Since April 2008, more than 16,000 physicians and nurses have earned continuing education credit for the program through Medscape.

John Matochik, of the NIAAA Division of Neuroscience and Behavior, along with other members of the NIH Blueprint Initiative on Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse (NITRC), won the Best Overall Award from the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT/IAC). The award recognizes the Federal government’s best technology projects.

Dr. Bridget Grant, Chief of the NIAAA Laboratory of Biometry and Epidemiology, received the Archibald award and gave the Archibald lecture on March 27, 2009 at the Center on Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada. The award is presented annually for excellence in addictions research.

The Jack Mendelson Honorary Lecture Series

As a tribute to Dr. Mendelson’s remarkable scientific contributions to the field of alcohol research, NIAAA has established this honorary lecture series to highlight clinical/human research in the alcohol field by featuring an outstanding investigator who has made significant and long-term contributions. Marc A. Schuckit, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD and Director of the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program and the Alcohol Research Center at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, was selected as the first recipient to receive this award. The title of his presentation, “Recent Findings From a 25-Year Longitudinal Study of Genetic and Environmental Contributors to Alcoholism,” was given on April 28, 2009 in the Lipsett Amphitheater on the NIH Campus.

New Appointments

Jonathan Folkers was selected as the NIAAA Chief Information Officer, effective February 23, 2009. Since 1997, Jonathan has worked in several information technology (IT) leadership positions at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). These included managing research support teams in NIAID's intramural and clinical divisions; coordinating satellite and local area networking projects in Mali, Uganda, and India; and overseeing networking and enterprise storage for campus researchers. Most recently, he served as NIAID's IT Customer Services Branch Chief, where he managed a geographically dispersed team of more than 50 computer technicians and software trainers. He is proficient with Macintosh, Windows, and Unix systems, holds Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer credentials, and is certified in IT Project Management. Jonathan holds a Master of Health Science degree in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Franklin and Marshall College. Prior to his graduate studies, Jonathan worked at Princeton University Health Services, where he conducted research on alcohol-related risk behavior among college students. Subsequently, he served as a pharmaceutical pricing analyst at PAREXEL International.

Ranga Srinivas, Ph.D., was selected as the new Chief of the Extramural Project Review Branch, effective April 27, 2009. Dr. Srinivas obtained his Ph.D. in microbiology in 1979 from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India. He pursued postdoctoral studies in the field of virology, and later joined the Molecular and Cell Biology faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In 1988, he joined the Infectious Diseases faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, where he was a part of Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trial Group. Dr. Srinivas has received grants from American Cancer Society, American Foundation for AIDS Research, and the NIH. He has been an ad-hoc reviewer for grant review panels and continues to serve as a reviewer for various scientific journals. He has authored over 75 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He joined CSR as a scientific review administrator in 1999, and was appointed Chief of the AARR IRG in 2000.

Donna Casady has been selected as the Budget Officer and Chief, Financial Management Branch (FMB), Office of Resource Management (ORM), NIAAA.  Ms Casady has an extensive background in financial management, serving in numerous leadership positions across NIH, including her previous position as the Budget Officer for the National Institute on Aging.  She also served as the Deputy Budget Officer at NICHD and as a senior budget analyst in the NIH Office of the Director’s Budget Policy and Resource Analysis Branch.  Ms. Casady graduated from the University of Maryland and began her government career as a Grants Management Specialist at NIAAA during the time NIAAA was part of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration.

Keith Lamirande has been selected as the Deputy Executive Officer, NIAAA.  Mr. Lamirande joined NIAAA in September 2001 as a Budget Analyst in the Financial Management Branch and has worked at the NIH since 1990.  A 1994 graduate of the Management Intern program, he has served in many administrative areas, including Human Resources, General Administration, and Financial Management.  He most recently served as the NIAAA Budget Officer, a position he held beginning in 2004.  Mr. Lamirande has Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Bates College and a Masters in Business Administration from Loyola College in Maryland. 

Gary J. Murray, Ph.D., joined the Division of Metabolism and Health Effects as a Program Director in May 2009. Dr. Murray obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Waterloo, Canada and received post-doctoral training in the Laboratory of Neurochemistry, National Institute of Mental Health. In 1980 he joined the Developmental and Metabolic Neurology Branch (DMNB) of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), under Dr. Roscoe O. Brady, where his research focused on the development of therapeutic strategies for the treatment of lysosomal storage disorders. Among Dr. Murray’s successes was the development of the strategy for modification of the glycans of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase to target macrophages in the spleen and liver for the treatment of Gaucher’s disease. He has also guided the research of many post-doctoral fellows in the areas of enzyme and gene therapy and in the use of pharmacological chaperones as a treatment strategy for inherited enzyme deficiencies. In 2006 he was appointed Acting Section Chief for the Enzymology and Genetics Section, DMNB. Most recently, Dr. Murray served as a Program Director in the NINDS Division of Extramural Research. Dr. Murray has two patents and has published more than 60 papers in peer reviewed publications including the New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, and the European Journal of Biochemistry.

Abbas Parsian, MS, MA, Ph.D., joined the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior as a program director on January 21, 2009. Dr. Parsian received his MS from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from Western Michigan University in Cytogenetics and Genetic counseling. Dr. Parsian did his post-doctoral work at Washington University School of Medicine with Dr. Robert Cloninger in neuropsychiatric genetics and gene mapping of complex disorders. Then, he joined the faculty of the departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at Washington University as an assistant professor of genetics. In 1999, Dr. Parsian joined the faculty of the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Louisville as associate professor. Prior to joining NIAAA, he was professor of Pediatrics (Human Genetics) and director of Genomics and Neurogenetics laboratories at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. Parsian’s research areas and expertise have been molecular genetics and gene mapping of complex human disorders especially alcoholism and Parkinson’s disease and QTL mapping in rat model of alcoholism and depression.

Matthew Reilly, Ph.D., joined the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior as a Program Official in March. Dr. Reilly earned his Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Sciences University (Portland, Oregon) where he conducted research on the genetics of alcohol dependence in mice as part of the Portland Alcohol Research Center. Dr. Reilly conducted post-doctoral research in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) and at the Waggoner Center for Alcohol & Addiction Research (University of Texas at Austin). During this training, he gained expertise in proteomic analysis of alcohol dependence in human and mouse brain and performed structure-function studies of ion channels/receptors aimed at identifying novel sites of action of ethanol and medications used in the treatment of alcoholism. Dr. Reilly held a faculty position at the University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston, TX) where he continued pursuing his interests in alcoholism and addiction research, focusing on epigenetic mechanisms underlying drug dependence. Dr. Reilly will manage the molecular genetics portfolio in the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior.

Daniel E. Falk, Ph.D., joined the Division of Treatment and Recovery Research (DTRR) as a Health Scientist Administrator on February 19, 2009. Dr. Falk comes to NIAAA from CSR Incorporated, where he served primarily as a Deputy Project Director and Senior Research Associate on NIAAA’s Alcohol Epidemiologic Data System (AEDS) contract. Often in collaboration with NIAAA staff, Dr. Falk authored a number publications and professional presentations on a diverse set of alcohol-related topics with adult and adolescent populations including: psychiatric comorbidity, negative behavioral and psychosocial correlates of alcohol use (e.g., risky sex and dropping out), and alcohol treatment seeking. He led a team of AEDS analysts and consultants that performed data analysis and compiled codebooks for DTRR’s COMBINE clinical trial. Dr. Falk also conducted a number of evaluation research studies for the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Dr. Falk earned a Ph.D. in Health Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami, where he studied the effect of psychological stress upon the cardiovascular system, conducted psychosocial interventions with hypertensive adolescents, and taught courses on statistics and SAS. He also has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jo-Ann Melton Kriebel joined the Office of Science Policy and Communication on March 1, 2009 as a writer/editor in the Communications and Public Liaison Branch. In addition to providing support to the institute’s communications activities, Ms. Kriebel is the project officer on the National Alcohol Education Program (NAEP) contract, which is responsible for publishing NIAAA’s journal, Alcohol Research & Health; Alcohol Alert; and NIAAA News. Ms. Kriebel comes to NIAAA from the Association of American Cancer Institutes, a non-profit membership organization of the nation’s academic cancer centers. As Senior Director for Programs and Development at AACI, Ms. Kriebel was responsible for designing and implementing new programs and fundraising plans, as well as all of the Association’s communications activities. Previously, Ms. Kriebel supported many programs as a writer/editor at the National Cancer Institute. At NCI, Ms. Kriebel oversaw the institute’s newsletter, the NCI Cancer Bulletin in her role as Managing Editor for this weekly publication.


Alesia Wilbur, a staff assistant in the NIAAA Director’s office, left NIAAA on May 28 to return to the NIH Office of the Director in Building 1, where she has accepted a position as the Executive Assistant to the Director, Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI).

Dr. Rui Costa of DICBR accepted a new position at the Gulbenkian Institute in Portugal.

Dr. Douglas Osei-Hyiaman of DICBR accepted a new position with Boehringer/Ingelheim in Japan.

D. Multi-Media Products from NIAAA

Rethinking Drinking Web Site and Publication

The Rethinking Drinking Web site and booklet were released March 9th.  These new public education products present practical, evidence-based information on low-risk drinking limits, symptoms of an alcohol use disorder, and strategies for cutting back or quitting.

In the first week after its launch, the Rethinking Drinking Web site received approximately 130,000 visitors, as a result of stories in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, ABC News, and other media outlets. On May 12, another major story was published in the New York Times, which also boosted traffic to the site. These news stories were developed well in advance by the NIAAA press office.   

In the first 7 weeks, we received orders for 44,000 Rethinking Drinking booklets. A range of organizations ordered between 10 and 1,000 booklets, including

  • mental health and drug abuse service programs

  • community prevention programs

  • health maintenance and behavioral managed care organizations

  • employee assistance programs

  • hospitals

  • high schools and college health centers

  • military organizations

  • justice system components: detention facilities, public defender offices, drug courts, and DUI rehabilitation courses

Both the booklet and Web site were developed through field testing with our target audience of at-risk drinkers. After the Rethinking Drinking products were launched, we continued to seek audience feedback by reviewing Internet blog entries and articles by self-admitted at-risk drinkers. In response to visitor feedback and Web analytic data, we made the first round of changes to the Web site 6 weeks after launch. The changes included:

  • more tailored feedback for people who drink “over the single-day limits” only (we split this into “occasionally” or “frequently” over the limits) 

  • more self-efficacy and risk-reduction messages, including a new page entitled “How can you reduce your risks?” (this was inspired by an email from a Chicago social worker)

  • a brief privacy message on pages where people enter sensitive information 

  • new Q&As responding to visitor questions

  • reprogrammed pages for the drinking patterns and AUD symptoms feedback to allow tracking of the categories of responses

To extend the reach beyond the initial round of publicity, we plan a new marketing push and search engine optimization work in the months ahead.

Below are members of the Rethinking Drinking development and media outreach team:

  • Writing, Web Content Development, & Project Management: Maureen Gardner; Diane W. Miller, MPA; Gregory Roa, MA; Fred Donodeo, MA

  • Lead Subject Matter Experts: Mark Willenbring, MD; Deborah Dawson, PhD

  • Design & Evaluation Contractors:  Booklet (Westat, Inc.): Terry Savage, MA; Jennifer Berktold, MA; Charlotte Munar; Web site (Z-tech, Inc.): Diane Ben-Senia, MPH; Christopher Goodno; Claude Steinberg, MA; Gregory Treese

  • Review—NIAAA/NIH Staff: Ann Bradley; Dale Berkley, PhD, JD; Gregory Bloss, MA; Rosalind Breslow, PhD; Page Chiapella, PhD; Linda Doty, MSW, RN; Mary-Anne Enoch, MD; Vivian Faden, PhD; Brenda Hewitt; Debra Hill, MSW; Bob Huebner, PhD; Mark Kirk, PhD; T.K. Li, MD; Margaret Mattson, PhD; Howard Moss, MD; Sharon Smith, PhD; Kenneth Warren, PhD; Aaron White, PhD; Sam Zakhari, PhD

  • Review—Alcohol Researchers and Public Health Advocates: David Anderson, MGA; Katharine Bradley, MD; Eric Goplerud, PhD; Richard Saitz. MD; Jeffrey Samet, MD; Paul Seale, MD; Daniel Vinson, MD; Allen Zweben, DSW

  • Review—Target Audience: 77 at-risk drinkers in Chicago, IL, and suburban Maryland, who participated in focus groups, individual in-depth interviews, and Web usability tests

  • News Media Outreach and Support: Ann Bradley; John Bowersox

NIAAA Newsletter

The Communications and Public Liaison Branch (CPLB) will publish the summer 2009 edition of the NIAAA Newsletter the latter part of June. The newsletter will feature:

  • Information on the institute’s activities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

  • The institute’s latest publication and website Rethinking Drinking that offer research-based information on drinking patterns.

  • An update on the results of the NIH Scientific Management Review Board’s first meeting, including their discussion of a merger between NIAAA and NIDA.

Alcohol Research & Health

The two-volume series of the NIAAA journal Alcohol Research & Health focused on alcohol and neuroscience. This series provided an overview of alcohol’s effects on the brain, including the ways in which short- and long-term alcohol use may affect the brain’s communication systems. Other topics included emerging technologies, such as brain imaging and animal studies; the ways in which the brain adapts to alcohol; populations at particular risk for alcoholism; and the latest findings on treatment and recovery.

Alcohol Alert

The Alcohol Alert on neuroscience, corresponding with the Alcohol Research & Health series addresses our understanding of how alcohol changes the brain and how those changes influence certain behaviors. The issue is currently at the printers.

E. Outreach

Friends of NIAAA Coalition Sponsors Congressional Briefing on Alcohol and Pregnancy On May 20 the Friends of NIAAA coalition, led by the American Psychological Association (APA), held the third in a series of educational briefings for Capitol Hill staff. The session, entitled Alcohol and Pregnancy: An Overview of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, provided an overview of how research has changed basic understanding of alcohol and pregnancy; an outline of recent findings on the consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure; and a description of the Circle of Hope, an international program for birth mothers of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Friends of NIAAA invited Dr. Kenneth Warren, Acting NIAAA Director, to present at the briefing, along with Dr. Edward Riley, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Behavioral Teratology at San Diego State University, and Kathy Mitchell, Vice President and National Spokesperson for the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

The event, presented in conjunction with the congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, was co-sponsored by scientific societies and patient advocacy groups in the NIAAA liaison community. Briefings in this series have been popular, typically drawing more than 100 attendees representing House and Senate Member offices, Congressional Committees, a variety of Executive Branch agencies, and various national scientific societies and patient advocacy/provider groups.

Seasonal Outreach Series Continues with Graduation Fact Sheet Continuing its seasonal outreach series, OSPC released its updated high school graduation fact sheet,

Parents: Help Your Teens Party Right at Graduation, in May. 

Brain Awareness Week

As part of Brain Awareness Week 2009, Dr. Dennis Twombly (DNB) presented the Drunken Brain Exhibit at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (March 18-19). The interactive, educational exhibit explores the neuroscience of alcohol action and addiction. Dr. Twombly explained why alcohol interferes with sensory perception, movement, balance, and memory and demonstrated brain circuits that are involved in alcohol dependence. This marks the ninth year that Dr. Twombly has hosted the exhibit. The Drunken Brain Exhibit was one of several activities for middle and high school audiences at the museum during Brain Awareness Week, an annual event founded by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and sponsored by the Society for Neuroscience and other partners. Also participating were scientists from NIMH, NIA, NINDS, NIDA, and the National Museum of Health & Medicine (

U.S. National Brain Bee Competition

Thirty two winners of regional high school Brain Bee competitions visited NIH as part of the US National Finals of the competition (March 19-20). Co-sponsored by the University of Maryland and the Society for Neuroscience, the 2-day competition covered topics such as memory, sensation, emotions, intellect, brain imaging, neuroscience research, and dysfunctions such as stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and autism.  On the final day of the competition, the winners and their parents were honored guests at NIH and the National Library of Medicine.   Dr. Dennis Twombly (DNB) gave a plenary presentation on research programs at NIAAA and discussed alcohol effects in the brain and the unique vulnerability of adolescents to alcohol. The students then competed in several rounds of oral questions.

NIAAA-Fishers Take Your Child to Work Day

For the second year in a row, NIAAA extramural and intramural staff hosted satellite activities at Fishers Lane as part of NIH Take Your Child to Work Day (April 23, 2009). Children 5-15 years of age were able to take a day off school to join their parents at work and to hear about some of the activities and research conducted at NIH. Organized by Dr. Dennis Twombly (DNB), the events included interactive presentations by Dr. Lee Chedester (DICBR: “A Day in the Life of a Veterinarian”), Dr. Fumihito Ono (DICBR: “Zooming in on Zebrafish”), Dr. Dennis Twombly: “The Drunken Brain”), Dr. Roger Sorensen (NIDA: “Welcome to My Party”), Quino Madero and Michael Gregory (NHGRI: “DNA Isolation from Strawberries”), Archie Fobbs (National Museum of Health & Medicine [NMHM]): “The Brain Collector”), Andrea Schierkolk (NMHM: “A Forensics Mystery”), and Gwen Nelmes (NMHM: “The Creepiest Museum in the World”). Participating in the 18 sessions were 40 employee-parents and 70 excited children from NIAAA, NHGRI, NEI, and FDA.

F. News Media Interactions

Rethinking Drinking Offers Tools to Assess and Change Risky Drinking Habits

Monday, March 9, 2009

NIAAA Press Office

A new Web site and booklet from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) could help many people reduce their risk for alcohol problems. Called Rethinking Drinking, the new materials present evidence-based information about risky drinking patterns, the alcohol content of drinks, and the signs of an alcohol problem, along with information about medications and other resources to help people who choose to cut back or quit drinking. The Web site -- -- also features interactive tools, such as calculators for measuring alcohol calories and drink sizes. NIAAA is part of the National Institutes of Health.

(Extensive news media coverage included stories by CNN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, ABC News, and many other outlets.)

Alcohol "Flush" Signals Increased Cancer Risk Among East Asians

Monday, March 23, 2009

NIAAA Press Office

Many people of East Asian descent possess an enzyme deficiency that causes their skin to redden, or flush, when they drink alcohol. Scientists from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and Japan's Kurihama Alcohol Center now caution that heavy alcohol consumption greatly increases the risk for esophageal cancer among such individuals, who comprise about 8 percent of the world's population. Their review of recent research on this topic appears in the March 24, 2009 issue of PLoS Medicine. NIAAA is part of the National Institutes of Health.

(Extensive news media coverage included stories by Voice of America, and many news outlets in the U.S. and Asia.)

Prevention Program Helps Teens Override a Gene Linked to Risky Behavior

Monday, May 15, 2009

NIAAA and NIDA Press Offices

A family-based prevention program designed to help adolescents avoid substance use and other risky behavior proved especially effective for a group of young teens with a genetic risk factor contributing toward such behavior, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Georgia. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), components of the National Institutes of Health, supported the study, which appears in the May/June issue of Child Development. Investigators monitored the progress of 11-year-olds enrolled in a family-centered prevention program called Strong African American Families (SAAF), and a comparison group. A DNA analysis showed some youths carried the short allele form of 5-HTTLPR. This fairly common genetic variation, found in over 40 percent of people, is known from previous studies to be associated with impulsivity, low self-control, binge drinking, and substance use. The researchers found that adolescents with this gene who participated in the SAAF program were no more likely than their counterparts without the gene to have engaged in drinking, marijuana smoking, and sexual activity. Moreover, youths with the gene in the comparison group were twice as likely to have engaged in these risky behaviors as those in the prevention group.

(Extensive coverage in the U.S. news media.)

G. What’s Ahead

RSA Meeting

On June 20, 2009, at the annual Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) meeting in San Diego, CA, Dr. Mariela Shirley and Dr. Lindsey Grandison will hold an RSA Grantsmanship Satellite meeting as a joint effort between NIAAA and the RSA Education Committee. Also at the RSA Meeting, Dr. Dale Hereld will co-organize and chair the “Micro-RNAs: Master Regulators of Ethanol-Abused and Toxicity?” symposium with NIAAA grantee Rajesh C. Miranda of Texas A&M University.

H. NIAAA Program Announcement and Request for Applications Information

Mechanisms of Alcohol and Nicotine Co-Dependence”PA-09-098 (R21) and PA-09-099 (R01) NIAAA released these program announcements to promote research to study neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms of dependence and how alcohol and nicotine use interact through these mechanisms in ways leading to dependence. Dr. Ivana Grakalic is the program contact.

Alcohol, Decision-Making, and Adolescent Brain Development (PA-09-097 (R01) and PA-09-096 (R21). These program announcements were released to encourage research into decision-making processes of adolescents as related to their drinking behavior and the role of the developing neural circuitry underlying adolescent decision-making and alcohol use and abuse. Dr. Ellen Witt and Dr. John Matochik are the program contacts.

Update on RFA AA-09-003 (R01) and 004 (R21): The Effects of Alcohol on Glia Cells. This RFA, issued December 5, 2009, encouraged basic research applications to study the effects of alcohol on glial cells, particularly on glial gene expression, neuroimmune and proinflammatory signaling, glial survival and the consequences of these effects on glial-neuronal communication, neuronal gene expression, activity and survival, and behavior. The applications were due date on March 26, 2009, and 51 applications that were received in response to this RFA. The applications will be reviewed on July 8-9, 2009.

  • PAR-09-128 (R24) – Alcohol Research Resource Awards (Max Guo)

  • RFA-MH-09-060 (R21/R33) & RFA-MH-09-061 R34) – “Novel Interventions for Neurodevelopmental Disorders” (Dale Hereld)

  • PA-09-106 (R01) & PA-09-107 (R21) – “Medications Development for the Treatment of Pregnant/Postpartum Women with Substance Related Disorders and/or In Utero Substance Exposed Neonates”. (Dale Hereld)

I. NIAAA Research Programs


The following items represent examples of the breadth and quality of research supported by NIAAA.

Varenicline Reduces Alcohol Self-Administration in Heavy-Drinking Smokers.

Alcohol and tobacco dependence are highly comorbid disorders.  Preclinical studies suggest that varenicline, a compound recently approved for smoking cessation, may also be a useful treatment for alcohol problems.  Studies conducted in rodents, for example, have shown that treatment with varenicline reduces alcohol intake. The current study investigated whether varenicline would reduce alcohol consumption in non-alcohol-dependent heavy drinkers who were daily smokers.  Study participants were treated with either varenicline or placebo for 7 days.  All participants then received a priming dose (.3 g/kg) of alcohol, followed by a 2-hour alcohol self-administration period during which participants could choose to consume up to 8 additional drinks.  Varenicline significantly reduced the number of drinks consumed compared to placebo and increased the likelihood of abstaining from any drinking during the self-administration period. This preliminary investigation suggests that varenicline should be investigated as a potential treatment for alcohol use disorders.  McKee SA, Harrison ELR, O'Malley SS, Krishnan-Sarin S, Shi J, Tetrault JM, Picciotto MR, Petrakis IL, Estevez N, Balchunas E Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Housing Intervention Reduces Health Care Costs Among Homeless Persons With Severe Alcohol Problems.

Chronically homeless individuals with severe alcohol problems often have multiple medical and psychiatric problems and use costly health and criminal justice services at high rates.  This study compared health care use and costs among participants of a housing intervention for chronically homeless individuals with those of homeless individuals on a waiting list for the same housing facility, located in Seattle, Washington. Housing participants had median health care costs of $4066 per person per month prior to the study. Median monthly costs decreased to $1492 and $958 after 6 and 12 months in housing, respectively. Total cost offsets for housing participants relative to controls averaged $2449 per person per month after accounting for housing program costs. In this population of chronically homeless individuals with high service use and costs, a housing  program was associated with a relative decrease in costs after 6 months. These benefits increased to the extent that participants were retained in housing longer. Larimer ME, Malone DK, Garner, MD, Atkins DC, Burlingham B, Lonczak HS, Tanzer K, Ginzler J, Clifasefi SL, Hobson WG, Marlatt GA JAMA. 2009;301(13):1349-1357.

Alcohol Metabolism Increases the Replication of Hepatitis C Virus and Attenuates the Antiviral Action of Interferon.

It is well-known that HCV patients with alcohol use problems experience accelerated liver disease progression and reduced responsiveness to anti-HCV therapy. However, the interactions between hepatitis C virus (HCV) and alcohol metabolism are not well understood.  In this study, investigators conducted cell culture experiments to determine the effect that alcohol metabolism has on HCV replication and the antiviral action of interferon (IFN).  They found that alcohol metabolism enhances HCV replication in cultured human liver cells. This enhancement appears to be dependent on the presence of alcohol metabolism-induced oxidative stress since it can be prevented by an antioxidant agent. Alcohol metabolism was also found to negatively affect the anti-HCV action of interferon-alpha, a central ingredient of standard medication for HCV patients. These findings provide new insights into how alcohol accelerates HCV-related disease progression and antagonizes interferon-based medication. The findings also suggest that anti-oxidative supplements may augment interferon based antiviral therapy. McCartney EM, Semendric L, Helbig KJ, Hinze S, Jones B, Weinman SA, Beard MR. J Infect Dis. 2008 198:1766-75.

Fetal Alcohol Exposure May Make Alcohol Smell and Taste Better Later in Life.

Studies conducted in humans have shown that fetal alcohol exposure may increase susceptibility to adolescent alcohol abuse. The current study investigated the mechanisms by which fetal alcohol exposure might influence the desire for alcohol later in life.  Researchers gave alcohol to pregnant rats, and then tested their pups for taste and olfactory responses to alcohol and other compounds. The investigators found that rat pups that were exposed to alcohol before birth had a greater preference for the taste of both alcohol and quinine hydrochloride (bitter), than did animals that had not been exposed to alcohol before birth.  A significant proportion of the increased alcohol taste preference could be attributed directly to the weakened aversion to alcohol’s quinine-like taste quality. Fetal alcohol exposure also increased the pups’ alcohol intake and the behavioral response to alcohol odor. This work suggests that fetal alcohol exposure affects the developing sensory (smell and taste) systems of the brain in a way that enhances alcohol preference later in life. Youngentob SL, Glendinning JI, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2009; 106: 5359-64.

Changes in Social Networks Contribute to Improved Drinking Outcomes.

This project compared various strategies for helping alcohol dependent individuals change their social network from one that supports drinking to one that supports sobriety.  Alcohol dependent men and women were randomly assigned to one of three outpatient treatment conditions: Network Support (NS), Network Support + Contingency Management (NS+CM), or Case Management (CaseM, a control condition). Analysis of drinking rates indicated that the NS condition yielded up to 20% more days abstinent than the other conditions at two years posttreatment. NS treatment also resulted in greater increases at 15 months in social network support for abstinence, as well as AA attendance, and AA involvement, than did the other conditions.  The findings indicate that a network support treatment can effect long-term adaptive changes in drinkers' social networks, and that these changes contribute to improved drinking outcomes in the long-term.  Litt MD, Kadden RM, Kabela-Cormier E, Petry NM. J Consult Clin Psychol 2009; 77(2):229-42.

Aftercare Slows Post-Treatment Relapse Among Adolescents with Alcohol Use Disorders.

Approximately 60% of adolescents who receive treatment for alcohol use disorders (AUD) relapse (resume drinking after a reported period of abstinence) within 3 to 6 months after they complete treatment. This randomized controlled study tested the hypothesis that active aftercare (AA) – 5 brief follow-up sessions conducted in person or via telephone -- might maintain treatment gains better than no-active aftercare (NA). The researchers found that the AA interventions slowed the expected post-treatment relapse process for alcohol use for both girls and boys, with maintenance of treatment gains only for girls. They suggest that frequency of interventions, dose-response, duration of aftercare phase and mediators of behavior change should be further examined in order to optimize aftercare for youth with AUD. Kaminer Y, Burleson JA, Burke RH, J Am Acad Child & Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008 Dec;47(12):1405-12.

Glutamate Receptor Gene Variants Are Associated With Risk for Alcohol Dependence. Glutamate neurotransmission plays an important role in a variety of alcohol-related phenomena, including alcohol self-administration by both animals and humans. Genes encoding glutamate receptors may therefore play a role in the risk for alcohol problems. In this study, researchers compared variations of a glutamate receptor gene known as GRIK1 in alcohol dependent and non-alcohol dependent individuals. They found evidence that 3 variations of this gene were associated with risk for alcohol dependence. Kranzler HR, Gelernter J, Anton RF, Arias AJ, Herman A, Zhao H, Burian L, Covault J. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009 Mar 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Alcohol-Induced Gut “Leakiness” Triggers Alcoholic Steatohepatitis in Rats. Since not all alcoholics develop alcoholic liver disease (ALD), researchers have known that excessive alcohol consumption is necessary, but not sufficient, to induce alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH) and ALD. Because bacterial toxins are present in the blood of patients with ALD, investigators have proposed that gut-derived, circulating endotoxin is the necessary co-factor for ASH. However, it is not known whether endotoxemia is the consequence or the trigger for ALD. This study was conducted using an animal model of ASH to determine whether endotoxemia occurs prior to development of ASH and whether gut leakiness is the primary cause of the endotoxemia. Researchers found that, while evidence of liver cell injury and inflammation typical of ASH occurred after 8 weeks, gut leakiness, intestinal oxidative injury, and endotoxemia occurred in weeks 2-4 and progressed thereafter. They conclude that alcohol-induced gut leakiness and endotoxemia precede steatohepatitis and are not the consequence of ALD. Keshavarzian A, Farhadi A, Forsyth CB, Rangan J, Jakate S, Shaikh M, Banan A, Fields JZ. J Hepatol. 2009 Mar; 50(3):538-47.

Acute Alcohol Use Increases the Lethality of Suicide Attempts in Individuals With Mood Disorders. Alcohol use is an important risk factor for attempted and completed suicide. In this study, researchers evaluated the effect of acute alcohol intake on the lethality – measured by the degree of medical damage -- of suicide attempts to test the hypothesis that acute alcohol intoxication is associated with more lethal suicide attempts. They retrospectively analyzed records of more than 300 suicide attempters enrolled in mood disorders protocols and found that lethality of the suicide attempts was higher among individuals who had used alcohol prior to attempting suicide than among those who had not used alcohol. The researchers conclude that acute alcohol use increases the lethality of suicide attempts in individuals with mood disorders. Sher L, Oquendo MA, Richardson-Vejlgaard R, Makhija NM, Posner K, Mann JJ, Stanley BH. J Psychiatr Res. 2009 Feb 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Childhood Sleep Problems Predicted Early Onset of Substance Use for Boys but Not Girls. Few prospective studies have examined the relationship between childhood sleep problems and subsequent substance use. In this study, researchers looked at whether sleep problems at ages 3-8 predicted the onset of alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use in adolescence. Study subjects included nearly 400 boys and girls from a community sample of high risk families and controls in an ongoing longitudinal study. Controlling for parental alcoholism, the researchers found that sleep problems at ages 3-8 predicted onset of alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use among boys and onset of alcohol use among girls. Childhood sleep problems were also related to maternal ratings of internalizing and externalizing problems during adolescence for both boys and girls. If childhood sleep problems indeed increase the risk for early onset substance use, greater attention by parents to sleep problems in children and adolescents would potentially have ameliorative long-term effects. Wong MM, Brower KJ, Zucker RA. Sleep Med. 2009 Jan 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Chronic Alcohol Inhibits Specific Immune System Responses.

Chronic alcohol use weakens immune defenses, increasing infections, illness and medical expenses. In this study, researchers examined some of the specific immune system changes that occur in mice after long-term exposure to alcohol. They found that long-term consumption of alcohol leads to reductions in spleen cells and T cells, by altering the rate of proliferation and the response to stimulation of these cells by the immune system signaling molecule interleukin-2 (IL-2). CD8+ T cell proliferation was reduced significantly in alcohol-exposed mice, and may contribute strongly to the immunodeficiency caused by alcohol abuse. Gurung P,Young BM, Coleman RA, Wiechert S, Turner LE, Ray NB,Waldschmidt TJ, Legge KL, and Cook RT. J Leukocyte Biol. 85: 34– 43; 2009.

d-Cycloserine May Prevent Relapse to Alcohol-Seeking Behavior. The compound d-Cycloserine (DCS), has recently received attention for its ability to increase the effect of exposure-based behavioral therapy in a variety of cognitive disorders such as social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and acrophobia. In this study, researchers examined the effects of DCS on the extinction and subsequent reconditioning (i.e., a model of relapse) of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) in mice. Researchers found that DCS had no effect on the rate of extinction of ethanol-induced CPP. Interestingly, DCS administered during extinction impaired subsequent reconditioning of extinguished place preference. This effect was specific to reconditioning as DCS pre-exposure did not influence initial ethanol CPP. These experiments demonstrate that although DCS showed no effect on extinction behavior, when given during extinction it interfered with subsequent reconditioning. This suggests that DCS may have deepened the extinction learning resulting in an impairment of the subsequent reconditioning process. These findings emphasize the importance of using multiple measures of learning to examine pharmacological effects on extinction. Moreover, they also suggest that, although DCS may not be capable of facilitating the behavioral therapy used in the rehabilitation of alcohol patients, it may be useful for preventing relapse to alcohol-seeking behavior. Groblewski PA, Lattal KM, Cunningham CL, Alcohol Clin Exp Res. Mar 3, 2009. (Epub ahead of print).

Mice Bred for High Blood Alcohol Concentrations Drink to Intoxication. Many techniques have been used to increase alcohol self-administration in rodents. While behavioral manipulations are routinely used experimentally to induce mice or rats to drink enough alcohol to become intoxicated, they typically require significant food or water restriction or a long time to develop. In this study, researchers developed a new genetic animal model of alcohol self-administration. Mice that achieved high blood alcohol concentrations during a 4-hour drinking session were selectively bred. After 11 generations of selection, more than 50% of the population exceeded the target blood alcohol concentration of 100 mg% and manifested clear signs of intoxication after drinking. This is the first study to selectively breed for blood alcohol levels achieved after drinking alcohol—an important index of intoxication relevant to defining alcohol dependence (Crabbe JC, Metten P, Rhodes JS, Yu CH, Brown LL, Phillips TJ, Finn DA, Biol Psychiatry 65(8), 662-70, 2008).

Alcohol-induced Cardiac Protection From Ischemia Mediated by Mitochondrial Translocation of PKC and Activation of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 2.

Heart disease and cardiac ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury in particular is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the western world. The cardiac benefits of moderate alcohol consumption have been well documented both in animal models and in humans. In addition, acute alcohol treatment may significantly protect the heart against I/R injury via a mechanism involving epsilon protein kinase C activation, although the underlying molecular targets of this protection remain obscure. In this study, researchers explored the pathways of cardiac protection of acute alcohol treatment. Their findings document the importance of time frame and duration of effective acute alcohol administration in ischemic protection of the heart, and for the first time showed that under cardioprotective conditions, protein kinase C translocates to the mitochondria where it binds to aldehyde dehydrogenas-2 (ALDH2), the main enzyme involved in the detoxification of toxic aldehydes. Mitochondrial association between protein kinase C and ALDH2 increases ALDH2 activity, diminishes protein-aldehyde adduct formation and decreases pro-death signaling pathways in cardiomyocytes leading to significantly reduced ischemic injury. Thus, alcohol treatment or small molecular activators may provide an effective and inexpensive tool to fight the devastating consequences of ischemic heart disease. Churchill EN, Disatnik MH, Mochly-Rosen D.. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2009 Feb;46(2):278-84. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Taurine Supplementation May Help Prevent Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury. Animal studies have shown that chronic alcohol intake decreases levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone secreted by fat cells that helps regulate metabolism, and also has anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have also shown that adiponectin treatment during chronic alcohol feeding prevents liver injury in mice. In the current study, researchers examined whether supplemental taurine, an amino acid that enhances cellular antioxidant activity, would prevent alcohol-induced decreases in adiponectin and reduce liver injury associated with chronic alcohol intake. They found that dietary supplementation with taurine prevented multiple effects of alcohol on fat tissue and normalized the expression of adiponectin mRNA in subcutaneous fat tissue. Taken together, the data suggest that taurine may be a useful nutritional supplement to attenuate alcohol-induced steatosis and that fat tissue can be a potentially important target for therapeutic interventions to prevent alcohol-induced fatty liver. Chen X, Sebastian BM, Tang H, McMullen MM, Axhemi A, Jacobsen DW, Nagy LE. Hepatology. 2008 Dec 30. [Epub ahead of print]

High Fat Diet Dysregulates Hepatic Oxygen Gradients and Induces Mitochondrial Dysfunction. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) associated with obesity and the cardiometabolic syndrome is an important medical problem affecting up to 20% of western populations. Previous research indicates that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a critical role in NAFLD initiation and progression to the more serious condition of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In the current study, investigators hypothesized that exposure to a high fat diet induces mitochondrial defects that contribute to a hypoxic state in liver. To test this concept, they fed groups of mice either a normal or high fat diet. After 16 weeks, mice fed the high fat diet showed NASH-like liver pathology. Mitochondria from the high fat diet group also showed a number of indicators of hypoxic dysfunction, compared to controls. These findings indicate that chronic exposure to a high fat diet negatively affects the bioenergetics of liver mitochondria and this likely contributes to hypoxic stress and deleterious modifications of mitochondrial proteins. Mantena SK, Vaughn Jr DP, Andringa KK, Eccleston HB, King AL, Abrams GA, Doeller JE, Kraus DW, Darley-Usmar V, Bailey SM. Biochem J. 2009 Jan 1;417(1):183-93

An Early Complement-dependent and TLR-4-independent Phase in the Pathogenesis of Ethanol-Induced Liver Injury in Mice. The innate immune system has been implicated in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease, but only as a consequence of long-term alcohol exposure. Because innate immunity is usually considered an early response to injury, researchers conducted the current study to investigate whether liver injury due to activation of innate immune responses also occurs during the early period of alcohol exposure. They found that mice that had free access to alcohol showed signs of innate immune-mediated liver injury within 4 days of alcohol exposure. The findings illustrate the specific, dynamic interactions between multiple components of the innate immune response that take place soon after acute alcohol exposure. Roychowdhury S, McMullen MR, Pritchard MT, Hise AG, van Rooijen N, Medof ME, Stavitsky AB, Nagy LE. Hepatology. 2009 Apr;49(4):1326-34.

Alcohol Abuse and Dependence Criteria Lie on a Single Continuum. Questions relevant to the ongoing development of the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) include whether dimensional measures of alcohol use disorders (AUD) provide more information than categorical diagnoses, whether to combine abuse and dependence criteria, and whether to add a new diagnostic criterion, binge drinking. In this study, researchers used NESARC data to investigate binary and dimensional models of three versions of AUD criteria: (1) dependence criteria; (2) abuse and dependence criteria combined; and (3) abuse and dependence criteria combined with a binge drinking criterion added. The results suggest that alcohol abuse and dependence criteria are intermixed and lie on a single underlying continuum. The model did not fit as well when adding binge drinking. The present findings add to the body of literature that suggests that the authors of DSM-V consider employing a combined alcohol abuse and dependence criterion. Hasin DS, Beseler CL Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 Apr 1;101: 53-61.

Alcohol Consumption, Alcohol Outlets, and the Risk of Being Assaulted With a Gun. Researchers conducted a population-based case-control study in a large city in the U.S. to delineate the relationship between individual alcohol consumption, alcohol outlets in the surrounding environment, and being assaulted with a gun. Conditional logistic regression was used to adjust for numerous confounding variables. They found that heavy drinkers were 2.67 times as likely to be shot in an assault when compared with nondrinkers, while light drinkers were not at significantly greater risk of being shot in an assault when compared with nondrinkers. Analyses also demonstrated that being in an area of high as compared to a low off-premise alcohol outlet availability significantly increased the risk of being shot in an assault by 2.00 times. Being in an area of high as compared to low on-premise alcohol outlet availability did not significantly change this risk. Heavy drinkers in areas of high as compared to low off-premise alcohol outlet availability were 9.34 times (p < 0.05) as likely to be shot in an assault. Branas CC, Elliott MR, Richmond TS, Culhane DP, Wiebe DJ. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009 Mar 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Reduced Cognitive Ability in Alcohol Dependence: Examining the Role of Covarying Externalizing Psychopathology. Researchers investigated the association of working memory capacity, short-term memory, conditional associative learning, and intelligence in a sample with variation in lifetime histories of conduct disorder, adult antisocial behavior, alcohol and substance dependence. The study employed a dimensional model, which suggests that the co-occurrence of such externalizing problems is best conceptualized as a single continuous latent factor rather than separate disorders. Structural equation models found that reduced ability in all cognitive domains was predicted by a latent externalizing factor reflecting covariation among lifetime problems with alcohol, drugs, childhood conduct, and adult antisocial behavior and was not uniquely related to any one problem. Thus, the dimensional approach captured variations in the severity of symptomatology and more accurately depicted the underlying continuous nature of the relations among externalizing symptoms and other characteristics. Finn PR, Rickert ME, Miller MA, Lucas J, Bogg T, Bobova L, Cantrell H. 2009, J Abnorm Psychol.118(1), 100-16.

Beta-Endorphin Cell Transplantation Restores Endocrine and Immune Deficits Induced by Fetal Alcohol Exposure. Previous studies have shown that prenatal alcohol exposure is toxic to neurons in the hypothalamus that contain the neurotransmitter beta-endorphin. In this study, investigators further examined the functional deficits that result from the lack of these beta-endorphin cells, and if neural stem cells could be made into beta-endorphin cells to restore function. Researchers injected stem cells that make beta-endorphin into the hypothalamus, and this restored normal stress response and immune function. The study suggests that some ill effects of fetal alcohol exposure (FAE) may be reversed with cell-directed therapies. Boyadjieva NI, Ortigüela M., Arjona A., Cheng X., Sarkar DK, ACER, 33:931-937, 2009.

Low Levels of Docosahexaenoic Acid are Associated With Relapse Vulnerability in Substance Abusers. Researchers explored the hypothesis that low levels of some polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) could influence behaviors leading to the abuse of substances through their actions on serotonergic and dopaminergic mechanisms. Because substance abusers tend to have poor dietary habits, the possibility that a deficient intake of n-3 PUFAs, available from dietary sources only, and subsequent low n-3 plasma levels would predict their relapse rates was examined. Individuals admitted to substance abuse clinics were enrolled and followed for one year. Dietary questionnaires and blood samples were collected at baseline and on a quarterly basis, and relapse rates monitored on a monthly basis. Non-relapsers were found to have significantly higher levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) when compared to relapsers. These pilot data suggest the existence of a relationship between low levels of DHA and relapse vulnerability in some individuals who abuse substances. Buydens-Branchey L, Branchey M, Hibbeln JR. 2009. Am J Addict. 2009 Jan-Feb; 18 (1): 73-80.

Structural Rearrangement of CaMKIIalpha Catalytic Domains Encodes Activation.

At its fundamental level, human memory is thought to occur at individual synaptic contact sites in the brain and manifest as persistent changes in synaptic efficacy. Recently, crystals of Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IIalpha (CaMKIIalpha) catalytic domains, the enzymatic portion of a dodecameric holoenzyme involved in memory, were found to form dimers. Although the formation of dimers in the intact holoenzyme has not been established, several features of the crystal structure suggest that dimers could act as a synaptic switch. In this study, researchers used fluorescence anisotropy and FRET imaging of Venus-tagged CaMKIIalpha to test the hypothesis that neuronal CaMKIIalpha can flip between two stable conformations in living cells. Their data support the existence of catalytic domain pairs, and glutamate receptor activation in neurons triggered an increase in anisotropy consistent with a structural transition from a paired to unpaired conformation. Thaler C, Koushik SV, Puhl HL 3rd, Blank PS, Vogel SS. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2009 Apr 14; 106(15):6369-74.

Happyhour Mutation Increases Resistance to Alcohol Sedation in Fruit Flies.

Researchers used fruit flies to identify genes that regulate the behavioral effects of alcohol. They identified a mutant gene, which they dubbed happyhour (Hppy), due to its increased resistance to the sedative effects of alcohol. The Hppy protein showed strong homology to mammalian Ste20 family kinases of the GCK-1 subfamily. Genetic and biochemical experiments revealed that the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-signaling pathway regulates alcohol sensitivity in fruit flies and that Hppy functions as an inhibitor of the pathway. Additional studies showed that pharmacological inhibition of the EGF receptor (EGFR) in adult animals altered acute alcohol sensitivity in both flies and mice and reduced alcohol consumption in a rat model of alcoholism. Inhibitors of the EGFR or components of its signaling pathway are thus potential pharmacotherapies for alcohol use disorders. Corl AB, Berger KH, Ophir-Shohat G, Gesch J, Simms JA, Bartlett SE, Heberlein U. Cell. 2009 May 29;137(5):949-60.

Role of Transglutaminase 2 in Liver Injury Via Cross-linking and Silencing of Transcription Factor Sp1.

In this study, researchers investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying alcohol-induced liver cell death, with a focus on transglutaminase 2 (TG2), a cross-linking enzyme implicated in apoptosis (programmed cell death). TG2 levels and activity are known to increase in association with various types of liver injury. However, how TG2 induces hepatic apoptosis is not known. The researchers identified a novel pathway by which alcohol induced apoptosis in liver cells, enhanced activity and nuclear accumulation of TG2 as well as accumulation of cross-linked and inactivated the transcription factor Sp1, and reduced expression of the Sp1-responsive gene, c-Met. These effects were rescued by TG2 knockout, restoration of functional Sp1, or addition of hepatocyte growth factor, whereas apoptosis was reproduced by Sp1 knockout or TG2 overexpression. Tatsukawa H, et al. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print].

Audience Segmentation Can Help Identify High-Risk Drinkers.

Market or audience segmentation is widely used in social marketing efforts to help planners identify segments of a population to target for tailored program interventions. However, market segmentation has rarely been used in alcohol research. In this study, researchers employed a proprietary audience segmentation database merged with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) database. They found that the audience segment cluster with the highest concentration of binge-drinking behavior is largely comprised of tech-savvy singles and couples living in suburban areas. Moss HB, Kirby SD, Donodeo F. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009 Apr 30. [Epub ahead of print].

J. Scientific Meetings

  • The American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting took place in May 2009, in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Mark Willenbring presented a workshop entitled “Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: Using the NIAAA Clinician’s Guide.” Dr. Vivian Faden chaired a symposium entitled “Understanding and Addressing Adolescent Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol Use Disorders in the Context of Overall Development.” Dr. Raye Litten chaired a symposium entitled “What’s New in Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol Dependence?” Dr. Vijay Ramchandani chaired a symposium entitled “Contributions of Neuroscience to Medications Development for Alcohol Use Disorders.”

  • At the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Dr. Mark Willenbring recently presented a Grand Rounds talk at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences entitled "Alcoholism Isn’t What It Used to Be.” Dr. Willenbring also presented at the MUSC Grand Rounds -- "Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: The Psychiatrist's Edition" and Addiction Research Seminar, "An Integrated Vision for Research on Treatment and Recovery."

  • From May 6-8, 2009, Dr. Ralph Hingson represented the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the World Health Organization’s Technical Regional Consultation for the Region of the Americas, hosted by the Government of Brazil, in São Paulo, Brazil. This meeting was required by WHO Resolution WHA61.4 on the “Strategies to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol,” which established a process for Member States to implement such strategies. Dr. Hingson contributed to discussions during the meeting and will collaborate with the WHO Secretariat during subsequent stages of the global strategy development and implementation of Resolution WHA61.4.

  • On May 1, 2009, at the 5th Annual Dartmouth Symposium on Substance Abuse: An Examination of the U.S. Minimum Legal Drinking Age in Hanover, NH, Dr. Ralph Hingson gave a presentation entitled “Magnitude and Prevention of College and Underage Drinking Problems.”

  • On April 1, 2009, Dr. Ralph Hingson gave a presentation entitled “Examples of Best Practice in Reducing Underage and College Drinking” at the 2009 Lifesavers Conference in Nashville, TN.

  • On February 9, 2009, Dr. Ralph Hingson gave a presentation entitled “Examples of Best Practice in Reducing Underage and College Drinking” at the 2009 Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Leadership Forum in Washington, DC.

  • On February 9, 2009, at the 2009 Leadership Prevention Day of Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free in Washington, DC, Dr. Ralph Hingson delivered a presentation entitled “Childhood Drinking and Its Relationship to Other Behaviors.”

  • On May 6, 2009, at the 2009 Annual Conference of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Ohio in Columbus, OH, Dr. Mike Hilton gave a presentation entitled “Prevention Across the Lifespan.”

  • Drs. Marcia Scott (DEPR), John Matochik (DNB) and Marguerite Camp (SBSG/DICBR) represented NIAAA on April 28, 2009 at the NIH Exhibition and Reception on Capitol Hill, entitled “National Institutes of Health, Improving the Nation’s Health through Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.” This poster session focused on educating the congressional leadership, new members of Congress, and executive branch staff about the contributions of NIH-supported behavioral and social sciences research. NIAAA joined other NIH ICs by developing three poster displays featuring how NIAAA-sponsored behavioral/social sciences research contributes to improving alcohol-related health outcomes. One NIAAA-supported extramural investigator, Dr. Debra Furr-Holden of Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, accompanied NIAAA staff by discussing her research on quantifying environmental measures in communities. The posters were the culmination of contributions from several NIAAA intramural and extramural staff as well as the Office of Science Policy and Communications.

  • Dr. Antonio Noronha co-organized a symposium with Dr. Subhash Pandey from the University of Illinois, Chicago entitled “ Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Alcoholism” at the 40th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Neurochemistry in Charleston, SC, March 7-11, 2009. The symposium integrated multiple mechanisms of ethanol-induced changes in the brain and identified important molecular targets that could be used to develop future pharmacotherapies to treat alcohol dependence.

  • Dr. Ellen Witt organized a session on “Sleep and Alcohol Use Disorders” at a recent Scientific Conference on Sleepiness and Health-Related Quality of Life, held April 13-14, 2009 on NIH Campus, Natcher Bldg, Bethesda, MD. The purpose of this conference was to showcase, for the public, advances in understanding how sleepiness interacts with health related quality of life indicators. The meeting brought together behavioral and neurobiological researchers at many levels and showcased many of the research directions now underway. The session sponsored by NIAAA discussed the effects of acute alcohol on sleep and performance, the neural mechanisms underlying alcohol-related sleep disturbances, and the treatment and health outcomes of alcohol dependent individuals who suffer from insomnia.

  • Meeting of the Directors of NIAAA Funded T32 Training Centers.  March 13 -15, 2009, New Orleans, LA. Directors of T32 training programs, T32 funded trainees, and NIAAA staff came together for a weekend meeting.  Training directors met with NIAAA staff to review T32 policies and discuss operational recommendations to facilitate training success.  Directors, NIAAA staff, and trainees met for a plenary lecture by Dr. David Crabb on translational research; for an update from Dr. Kenneth Warren, NIAAA acting director on NIH activities and NIAAA initiatives; a grants opportunity lecture; a mentoring panel discussion; and presentations by trainees on current research.  This meeting promoted NIAAA staff interaction with training directors to optimize operation of this training program.  It also brought together trainees with a wide representation of the alcohol research community to facilitate interactions and to develop future training opportunities.  The trainees were also provided with information on funding opportunities and on developing mentoring relationships throughout their careers.

  • New Horizons in Brain Imaging: A Focus on the Pacific Rim. The NIAAA co-funded this scientific conference that was held April 13-15 in Hawaii. The purpose of the 3-day conference was to discuss current advances in neuroimaging and to foster collaborations between scientists from nations along the Pacific Rim. Funding helped to provide travel stipends for students from Pacific Rim countries to attend the conference and to meet with researchers in the field of neuroimaging. Dr. George Fein, a NIAAA-funded researcher, was one of the invited speakers.

  • NIH Blueprint Workshop on Harnessing Neuroplasticity for Human Applications. The NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research sponsored this 2-day workshop that was held April 21-22, 2009 at the Rockville Hilton. Dr. John Matochik was a member of the program team that organized the workshop. The workshop brought together 28 leading researchers in the area of neural circuit retraining to discuss cutting edge advances and gaps in research. Dr. Edith Sullivan, a NIAAA-funded researcher, was a participant at the workshop.

  • On May 28, 2009, Dr. Ralph Hingson delivered a presentation entitled “Underage Drinking and Drinking and Driving in the United States” at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research in Washington, DC.

  • On May 13, 2009, at the 2009 Academic Emergency Medicine Consensus Conference in New Orleans, LA, Dr. Ralph Hingson gave a presentation entitled “Alcohol Screening and Brief Interventions in Emergency Departments and Elsewhere as Part of Comprehensive Community Interventions.”

  • On May 29, 2009, Dr. Robert Freeman moderated a panel entitled "An Assessment of Three Structural-Level Approaches for Reducing Alcohol Consumption-Related HIV/AIDS Risk” at the meetings of the Society for Prevention Research, in Washington, DC.

  • On May 14, 2009, Dr. Robert Freeman participated on an NIH panel to discuss "Development of the Adolescent Health Scientist: WT Grant Report and Beyond" at a meeting entitled "Advancing Adolescent and Young Adult Health: Preparing the Adolescent Health Workforce for 2020" at the Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC.

  • All DMHE staff members participated in the February 3-4, 2009 Extramural Advisory Board meeting on “Gut-Liver-Brain Interactions in Alcohol-Induced Pathogenesis.” Every staff member contributed to the EAB report and gave presentation(s) during the meeting.

  • Dr. Kathy Jung presented a seminar to the Division of Metabolism and Health Effects on April 22, 2009, entitled “On Mitosis, Microtubules and Much More”.

  • Dr. Andras Orosz gave a seminar in the NIAAA Intramural Seminar series on May 21, 2009. The title was “Dual Roles of Heat Shock Factor 1 (HSF1) in Cardioprotection, Cardiac Hypertrophy and Heart Failure in Transgenic Mice.”

  • On March 11, 2009, Dr. Tom Gentry of DMHE hosted a presentation by Dr. Steven A. Benner (from the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution) entitled “Historical Approaches to Medicine.”   Benner introduced strategies for gathering and analyzing data that permit computer modeling and construction of plausible hypotheses related to the evolutionary history of gene x environment interactions using human alcohol dehydrogenase as an example.

  • Dr. Sam Zakhari gave a seminar on March 8, 2009 at Mount Sinai School of Medicine entitled “Alcoholic Liver Disease: What Does Epigenetics Have to do With It?”

  • To promote healthy life style at NIAAA, Dr. Zakhari invited Dr. Lawrence J. Cheskin , Director and Founder, the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, to give a seminar on “Obesity and its Consequences: The World’s #1 Preventable Health Problem?” on April 21, 2009.

  • Dr. Zakhari co-chaired a symposium on “Alcohol, Iron and Oxidative Stress” during the 2009 meeting of the 12th Congress of European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism in Helsinki, Finland. He also gave a presentation on “Rust and Corrosion in the Liver: Alcohol, Iron and Oxidative Stress.”

  • Dr. George Kunos gave the following presentations:

    -- Invited speaker at Winter Eicosanoid Conference, Baltimore, MD, March 2009: “Endocannabinoids and the Metabolic Syndrome”

    -- Annual Ed Moore Lecture, GI Division, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, May 2009

    -- Grand Rounds speaker, (combined Hepatology and Endocrinology) at Mt Sinai Medical School, NY, May 2009

    -- Invited symposium presentation at Annual Digestive Diseases Week, Chicago, IL, June 2009

  • Dr. Mary-Ann Enoch spoke at the meeting, Trends in Psychiatric Genetics, on February 18, 2009 in Breckenridge, CO.

  • Dr. Joseph R. Hibbeln presented at the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Symposium during the April 2009 meeting of the American Public Health Association in Washington DC.

  • Dr. David Goldman gave the following recent presentations:

    -- March 5, 2009 Wilson Hall, NHGRI, NIH, Social and Behavioral Branch. “Genetics of Addiction”

    -- April 2, 2009 Washington, DC, Psychogenic Movement Disorders Conference. “Genetics of Stress Resilience and Vulnerability.”

    -- April 17, 2009 NYC, Pharmacogenetics in Psychiatry. Plenary: A debate on the role of meta-analysis in psychiatric genetics.

    -- May 1, 2009 New Orleans, LA. American Society of Addiction Medicine. “Genetics of Addiction.”

    -- May 5, 2009 NYC, Columbia University. Department of Child Psychiatry Grand Rounds. “Genes, Early Life Stress and Addiction.”

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