UNC Alcohol Research Center
MOLECULAR AND CIRCUIT PATHOGENESIS OF ALCOHOL USE DISORDER
Primary Investigator: Dr. Thomas L. Kash
Co-Investigator: Dr. A. Leslie Morrow
The NIAAA Alcohol Research Center (ARC) within the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies (BCAS) at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine will foster and conduct interdisciplinary and collaborative research on alcohol use disorders with a specific emphasis on molecular and circuit pathogenesis underlying these disorders. The Administrative Core provides leadership coordination in research, research methodology development and information dissemination on a wide variety of topics relevant to the NIAAA’s mission. The Administrative Core provides scientific leadership enhancing collaboration, integration and cross-fertilization of research programs and optimizes resource utilization. The ARC provides essential support that allows the BCAS to expand the scope of research activities to build upon discoveries that impact our understanding of alcohol-induced pathology. In turn, the BCAS provides additional support to further the aims of the ARC, such that the investment of NIAAA is multiplied by UNC resources. The UNC ARC fulfills and exemplifies the ideal NIAAA ARC program. The specific aims of the Administrative Core are to:
- Provide scientific and administrative leadership for the ARC. The goal of this aim is to inspire, coordinate and support the continuing development of the UNC ARC by providing strong scientific and administrative leadership. The Administrative Core oversees scientific rigor and data reproducibility (e.g., use of different species, sexes, drinking models, circuits and brain regions) among projects and enhances the mentorship of faculty throughout their careers. It monitors quality and progress through multiple regular oversight and feedback opportunities.
- Monitor and enhance collaborative interactions among ARC Cores and Research Components. Interaction and integration are key to building a center program that is greater and more productive than the sum of its components. The Administrative Core facilitates this process by the organization of monthly PI meetings for data presentations, training and creative personnel management as well as contributing UNC institutional support to the ARC programs and pilot projects.
- Optimize synergy and sharing of multidisciplinary resources, services and scientific expertise among the ARC Scientific Resource Core and Research Components. This aim focuses upon the coordination of efforts to facilitate innovative and collaborative research. We accomplish this through effective organization and management of our Scientific Resource Core. The Core provides valuable resources and expertise, allows state-of-the-art procedures to be conducted efficiently and cost-effectively and encourages faculty to collaborate.
- Organize seminars, conference symposia and workshops to stimulate the exchange of scientific information among the BCAS faculty and the field. The ARC hosts the BCAS seminar program, as well as the Bowles Lectureship, supports the introduction of under-represented minority scientists to alcohol use disorder research and participates in graduate and postdoctoral training of young scientists. This exemplifies the goals of an NIAAA ARC program.
- Disseminate research knowledge to academic, government and lay communities. The goal of this aim is to lead community, regional and national educational initiatives through our Information Dissemination Core. We provide updates on our BCAS website and disseminate current research to UNC classrooms, sororities and fraternities, treatment programs, local PTAs and the state of NC. We partner with the NC Governor’s Task Force on Underage Drinking to educate parents (in English and Spanish). We train BCAS fellows in community outreach and research dissemination at local venues including museums, the UNC planetarium and UNC science events.
- Support local, regional and national initiatives aimed at improving research, prevention and treatment of alcohol addiction. This aim is accomplished by community outreach activities. ARC faculty work on NIAAA-funded projects, service to the NIAAA on study sections, service to the field by editorial activity and by advisory committee appointments. These efforts contribute to the advancement of the alcohol addiction field.
The ARC has grown and developed UNC BCAS alcohol research, supporting alcohol research faculty that are among the best in the world. The Administrative Core is designed to maximize research rigor, significance, innovation, collaboration and productivity to advance the research aims and to use scientific knowledge to improve health by educating health professionals, parents, college students and youth.