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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

In Memoriam: Dr. John M. Littleton


With sadness, NIAAA shares the news of the death of John M. Littleton, M.D., Ph.D., on May 1, 2023. Dr. Littleton's groundbreaking research contributed to our understanding of the development of functional tolerance to alcohol, the role of L-type Ca2+ channels in the physiology of alcohol actions, alcohol-nicotine interactions at the behavioral and cellular levels, and the use of mammalian cell culture models to study alcohol effects. His innovative work with high throughput pharmacological screening in plant cell cultures led to the identification of several lead compounds that demonstrated preclinical efficacy in reducing alcohol's effects on the central nervous system. Importantly, Dr. Littleton played a key role in exploring the mechanism of action of acamprosate that led to its approval by the FDA as a treatment for alcohol use disorder. Dr. Littleton also served on numerous scientific advisory boards and was a generous mentor for undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. He will be missed.

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