Neuroimmune Mechanisms Contributing to Addiction Neurobiology
- Brain Function and Alcohol Use Disorders

September 2, 2014
8:30am - 2:30pm
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Terrace Level Conference Room
5635 Fishers Lane
Bethesda, MD

Featured Speakers:

Photos of Doctors Harris, Crews, Roberto, Gan, Bilbo, and Sinha


Photo of Doctors Grant, Lovinger, Kane, Ron, Sarkar and Szabo


The purpose of this workshop / webinar is to highlight recent progress in the understanding of neuroimmune mechanisms contributing to brain function and alcohol dependence. It is becoming increasingly clear that alcohol and other drugs of abuse modulate neuroimmune signaling. However, it remains unclear how these neuroimmune alterations contribute to addiction neurobiology.  Recent studies have demonstrated that neuroimmune signaling play an important role in modulating synaptic function, neurodevelopment, and neuroendocrine function, and that microglia bi-directionally interact with neurons and shape neuronal connectivity. These findings provide an important frame work in understanding the role of neuroimmune modulation in the neurobiology of addiction. This workshop will bring together scientists from both alcohol and other research fields to highlight recent science advances, identify research gaps, and discuss possible challenges in this area.  It will also refine ideas for future research direction and encourage collaboration cross research entities. The workshop will be also an NIH live webinar event (, which allows broader accessibility. This workshop is organized by the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Changhai Cui, PhD
Division of Neuroscience and Behavior, NIAAA



8:30 AM - Welcome/Opening Remarks
                  George Koob, Ph.D., Director, NIAAA

8:40 AM - Introduction: Neuroimmune, Brain Function, and Alcohol Use Disorders
                   Changhai Cui, Ph.D., Program Director,
                   Division of Neuroscience and Behavior, NIAAA

8:50 AM - Neuroimmune regulation in alcohol consumption: from gene to behavior
                   Adron Harris, Ph.D., Director,
                   Waggoner Center for Alcohol & Addiction Research, University of Texas at Austin   

9:20 AM - Mechanisms of Ethanol Activation of Neuroimmune Signaling and Neurodegeneration
                 Fulton Crews, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmacology,
                 Director, Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

9:50 AM - Innate Immune Factors Modulate Ethanol Interaction with
                  GABAergic Transmission in the Central Amygdala
                  Marisa Roberto, Ph.D., Associate Professor,
                  Committee On The Neurobiology Of Addictive Disorders, Scripps Research Institute

10:20 AM - Break

10:35 AM - Microglia in learning dependent synaptic remodeling
                   Wen-Biao Gan, Ph.D., Professor,
                   Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University

11:05 AM - Neural-glial interactions in addiction: modulation by early-life experience
                     Staci Bilbo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Psychology & Neuroscience, Arts & Sciences,  
                     Duke University

11:35 AM - Immune signaling, emotions/stress, and addiction
                   Rajita Sinha, Ph.D., Director of Interdisciplinary Stress Center,
                   Yale University School of Medicine

12:05 PM - Lunch Break

1:05 PM - Panel Discussion
                  Antonio Noronha, Ph.D., Director of Division of Neuroscience and Behavior, NIAAA
                  Panelists: Drs. Dorit Ron, Kathy Grant, Cynthia Kane, David Lovinger, Dipak Sarkar, Gyongi Szabo

2:05 PM - Closing Remarks