The NADIA Consortium is a unique collaboration of researchers pulled together to address a challenging and critical public health concern. Over the course of investigations being conducted by this consortium, the scientists involved will converge towards the best models for understanding alcohol’s impact on teenage maturation and for advancing this important field of research.
Consortium scientists span multiple research institutions and have many years of experience studying adolescent alcohol exposure. The NADIA Consortium includes an administrative core at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (supported by NIH award U24 AA020022-NADIA Project), a scientific core at the University of Illinois at Chicago (supported by NIH award U24 AA020024-NADIA Project), and seven research foci led by distinguished neuroscientists.
The overarching hypothesis of the NADIA Consortium is that models of human underage drinking will lead to a better understanding of adolescent drinking’s impact on brain maturation, which results in persistent changes in adult brain function and in structures that relate to changes in behavior. Through NADIA, multiple research groups will integrate molecular, cellular, physiological, endocrine, genetic, neuroanatomical, and behavioral studies, using cutting-edge and novel approaches to investigate potential long-term consequences of underage drinking. An abundance of evidence suggests that during adolescence, cognition, affect, and reward-driven behavioral repertoires are uniquely plastic and responsive to environmental influences. Maturation of the brain circuitry that underlies motivation, affect, and decision-making is expected to be sensitive to ethanol disruption, resulting in increased adult psychopathology.
Each NADIA research focus will contribute to an understanding of the consequences of adolescent alcohol exposure on brain physiology, structure, chemistry, maturation, and behavioral indices of affect, motivation, social functioning, decision-making, cognitive assessments, impulsivity, circadian rhythms, and alcohol drinking behaviors. The research components include broad, interrelated investigations of the neurocircuitry between frontal-cortical, striatal, hippocampal, extended amygdala, and hypothalamic nuclei as well as investigations of hormonal maturation of hypothalamic-adrenal interactions across gender. These studies will provide a broad global picture of the development of neural networks that underlie maturation of complex behaviors.