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The NIAAA is the lead agency for U.S. research on the causes, consequences, prevention and treatment of alcohol use disorder and alcohol-related problems.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Division of Metabolism and Health Effects (DMHE)

The Division of Metabolism and Health Effects (DMHE) develops scientific initiatives and supports basic and translational research on the health consequences of alcohol consumption and metabolism, with the goal of improving human health and well-being. The DMHE supports research on the health effects of alcohol that may result from a single dose, chronic or binge drinking behavior emphasizing metabolic pathways, adduct formation, non-enzymatic metabolism, and various substrates that may be affected by alcohol or alcohol metabolites; identification of molecular pathways by which alcohol causes tissue and organ damage; biomarker development to detect and monitor alcohol-induced pathologies; etiology and progression of medical disorders arising from the use of alcohol; and the use of systems biology, bioinformatics, and real-time imaging methods to uncover biological pathways and networks involved in alcohol metabolism and organ damage across the lifespan.

The DMHE encourages multidisciplinary approaches that integrate genetic, molecular, cellular, and animal models to understand mechanisms of alcohol action and injury. Research areas supported by the Division include:

  • Alcohol Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics
  • Alcohol-Induced Tissue Damage
    • Alcohol-associated Liver Disease
    • Alcoholic Pancreatitis
    • Alcohol and the Lung
    • Alcohol and the Cardiovascular System
    • Alcohol and Musculoskeletal Disorders
    • Biomarkers of Alcohol Use and Alcohol-induced Tissue Injury
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
  • Alcohol and Cancer
  • Alcohol and the Immune System
  • Alcohol and Viral Infections
  • The Role of Mitochondria in Alcohol-induced Pathology
  • Alcohol, Retinoic Acid, and Stem Cells
  • Alcohol and Trauma
  • Genetics, Genomics and Alcohol-induced Tissue Injury
  • Epigenetics: DNA Methylation, Histone Modification, and RNA-mediated Gene Regulation
  • Systems Biology Approaches in Alcohol Research
  • Alcohol and Aging
  • Alcohol and Protein Homeostasis (Proteostasis)

Consortia and Centers

DMHE supports a variety of Alcohol Research Centers and Consortia that investigate organ damage and health outcomes associated with alcohol consumption

Frequently Asked Questions

Does your research proposal align with the NIAAA mission?
Answer: We advise you to contact a Program Director listed either below or on a particular Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to discuss your research interests before preparing your application. This will not only help determine whether your proposal is of interest to NIAAA, but will aid in the preparation of your grant application.  Before applying, please ensure:1) that basic research questions you are asking are mechanistically and etiologically relevant to human disease; 2) that the animal model and protocol replicate human disease; and 3) that alcohol feeding model addresses physiological alcohol levels and reflects patterns of human consumption.

Who should I contact within the Division about my research proposal?
Answer: Below is a list of Program Directors and their areas of research interests. The best way to contact a Program Director whose interest aligns with your own is via email. Alternatively, if you would like to speak by phone, please indicate this in an email and a Program Director will contact you soon thereafter.

What is the process for applying for funding?
Answer: When submitting a grant application to NIAAA, extramural researchers can find instructions in the Notice of Funding Opportunity to which they are applying.  See the NIAAA application process homepage for information about grant applications, the peer review process, and understanding how applications are selected for funding.

Our Staff

Name Position Focus Area*
Kathy Jung, Ph.D.
Division Director
Alcohol-induced organ injury and effects of alcohol on organ-organ interactions and immune function; alcohol biomarkers; microbiome; wearable alcohol biosensors
Bill Dunty, Ph.D.
Program Director
Alcohol-associated carcinogenesis; Animal models of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD); Basic and clinical research on the consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure; Cell Biology; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Peter Gao, MD
Program Director
Aging; Alcohol-associated Liver Disease; clinical studies on alcohol abuse and alcoholism; pancreatitis; regenerative medicine
Li Lin, Ph.D.
Program Director
Aging; Alcohol-associated Liver Disease; cardiovascular disease; Immune function; alcohol-induced organ injury; Immunology; lung and vascular functions; translational research
Gary Murray, Ph.D.
Program Director
Alcohol and cancer; Alcohol-associated Liver Disease; Biochemistry; enzymology; kinetics; lipid metabolism; metabolism; mitochondrial diseases; pancreatitis; wearable alcohol biosensors
Svetlana Radaeva, Ph.D.
Program Director
Alcohol-associated Liver Disease; hepatocarcinogenesis; liver pathology and fibrogenesis; oval cell proliferation; tissue repair and regeneration
H. Joe Wang, Ph.D.
Program Director
Alcohol and HIV/AIDS; Alcohol and infectious disease (including viral hepatitis and HIV); Alcohol-associated Liver Disease; Alcohol use-related pathophysiology of the immune system

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