Cindy Ehlers, Ph.D., received the 2007 Thurman Lectureship Award on November 12 for her outstanding research on the risk for alcoholism associated with genetic differences in alcohol metabolism. She is the fourth researcher to receive this award which honors outstanding research in the field and commemorates the life of the late Ronald Thurman, Ph.D.
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies Director Fulton Crews presented Ehlers with the Award on UNC campus in front of a packed audience of research faculty and students. “For those who didn’t know him, Ron Thurman was an innovative and outstanding scientist, and Cindy Ehlers exemplifies these same qualities of scientific excellence. She has made significant contributions in many areas and has shown that genetic components are key to understanding how alcoholism and alcohol metabolism work,” said Crews.
After accepting her award, Ehlers presented a seminar titled, ‘Firewater and Liver Metabolism: Understanding Differences in Alcoholism Risk in Asian, African, Mexican and Native Americans.” In researching why some people become addicted to alcohol while others do not, Ehlers has used both human and animal studies drawing from many disciplines.
Much of Ehlers’ research focuses on minority populations that have either a high or low risk for alcoholism. She has identified several important genetic risk factors for alcoholism by studying minority populations in San Diego County and Trinidad and Tobago, areas with very diverse populations.
Ehlers is an associate professor at the Scripps Research Institute Department of Neuropharmacology in La Jolla, CA. She is an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California, San Diego, as well as an adjunct professor of neurology at University of Califormia, San Francisco. Ehlers received her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of California, Davis, and has been involved in research for over 30 years.
“Ron was an extremely productive scientist with over 400 publications. His work on alcohol metabolism and alcohol-associated-hepatic injury has led to discoveries that drive scientists all over the world,” said Ehlers. “I am honored to be this year’s recipient of the Thurman Lectureship Award.”