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Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies Cooperative Agreement with NCCU (2010-2020)

The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has funded a cooperative agreement between faculties of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina and the Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute (BBRI) at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). This U54 agreement, “Mechanisms of Alcohol Pathology,” develops and exposes students to alcohol research activity and infrastructure at NCCU, a historically black college or university (HBCU).  Further, it educate, involves and develops students and researchers from underrepresented populations through recruitment of NCCU students, via summer internships and research opportunities during the academic year.  In addition, alcohol curriculum development helps identify and involve individuals in learning about and reducing alcohol-related health disparities.

The cooperative agreement has the following objectives:

  1. Investigate molecular mechanisms of alcohol-induced cellular pathology. This cooperative agreement has formed collaborative research partnerships focused on defining molecular mechanisms involved in alcohol pathology. By design, each research component examines molecular processes leading to cellular pathologies associated with alcohol abuse, specifically fetal neurotoxicity, adult brain stem cells, and alcohol’s role in carcinogenesis, liver injury, and inflammation. By conducting an integrated and focused investigation into the molecular mechanisms of alcohol pathology, this partnership makes important contributions to understanding alcohol morbidity and can help create successful research programs on alcohol pathology at NCCU.
  2. To provide scholarly education on alcohol pathology. The UNC-BCAS education programs lead the state in alcohol CME for health professionals, as well as training medical and graduate students on alcohol-related pathology.  As part of this cooperative agreement, NCCU faculty and students are involved in these education activities, as well as a wide variety of alcohol research seminars, laboratory meetings, research methodologies, techniques, unique equipment and unique models of alcohol pathology at UNC and the process of experimentation, data organization and discovery, manuscript preparation and publication.  NCCU students have opportunities to attend the monthly BCAS seminar series; attend and present of data at the annual RSA meeting, an alcohol seminar series hosted by NCCU; receive new course curricula on alcohol pathology developed by NCCU faculty; and take part in specific undergraduate student summer internships for NCCU students to study and learn about alcohol pathology and health disparities within laboratories in both institutions.


Collaborative partnerships between these groups initiated alcohol research at NCCU with 8 active laboratories that produced numerous publications and have involved 15-20 NCCU students per year in alcohol research, with faculty submitting several NIH grants.  This proposal continues to expand alcohol research to 8 active faculty alcohol research laboratories. The project includes five research components, all with preliminary data and structured collaborative partnerships between NCCU and UNC-BCAS faculty.  Research topics include fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, alcoholic liver disease, alcohol-induced oral and breast cancers, and alcohol-cannabinoid neurotoxicity.  Health disparities in African-Americans are related to increased alcohol pathology, and not increased alcohol use disorder.  These projects address alcohol health disparities by involving NCCU students in alcohol research that educates them about mechanisms of alcohol pathology associated with health disparities as well as building on the expertise of NCCU faculty. UNC collaborators chosen for appropriate expertise in the scientific area include senior mentors who provide leadership, experimental design and scientific expertise as well as junior mentors who can help with hands-on methods mentoring.  Thus, UNC and NCCU are integrated around the central theme of alcohol-induced pathology, promoting molecular and cellular research involving NCCU faculty and students.




National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

NCCU Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute