The WF-TARC supports four research projects and two cores. An administrative core provides the leadership and infrastructure needed to ensure integration across all research projects. This core also provides biostatistical support to all WF-TARC investigators and seeks to identify and promote collaborative interactions between the WF-TARC and the many other translational research centers and educational programs at the Wake Forest School of Medicine (WFSM). A pilot project core supports four projects with the goal of increasing translational alcohol research at WFSM.
The unifying research focus of the WF-TARC is to leverage the strengths and advantages of animal models and human subjects research to study behavioral correlates of AUD vulnerability and identify neurobiological adaptations that contribute to this heightened risk of developing AUD. Studies employ cutting-edge, multidisciplinary experimental approaches spanning molecular, cellular, circuit, and whole-brain analyses. Importantly, each project is evaluating novel interventions targeted at reversing the maladaptive neural adaptations that promote AUD vulnerability. The highly-integrated conceptual framework and research design promotes backward and forward interactions between the projects, facilitating the rapid translation of therapeutic discoveries from animals to humans.
Research Project Highlights
PI: Paul Laurienti, MD, PhD
Project 2 - Mechanisms underlying vulnerability to ethanol self-administration: behavioral and brain imaging studies in group-housed monkeys
PI: Paul Czoty, PhD
Project 3 - Adolescent vulnerability to chronic ethanol: neurophysiological, biochemical, and behavioral mechanisms of adult AUD.
PI: Brian McCool, PhD
Project 4 - Adolescent social isolation increases vulnerability to the behavioral and neurobiological consequences of chronic ethanol exposure in male and female rats
PIs: Sara Jones, PhD; Jeff Weiner, PhD
Pilot Project 1 - Insula-BNST circuit regulation of stress response and susceptibility to ethanol abstinence-induced negative affect-like behavior
PI: Sam Centanni, PhD.
Pilot Project 2 - Modulation of lipid composition and content in rat ventral and dorsal hippocampus by chronic intermittent ethanol exposure
PI: Rong Chen, PhD.
Pilot Project 3 - Cardiovascular phenotypes in a rodent model of vulnerability to alcohol use disorder
PI: Gisele Meléndez, MD.
Pilot Project 4 - Characterizing valence-specific decision-making dynamics in alcohol use disorder (AUD) and comorbid psychiatric conditions
PIs: Ken Kishida, PhD; Elizabeth Shilling, PhD.
Pilot Project 1 - Mechanisms of comorbidity of post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorder in veterans with PTSD
PIs: Dwayne Godwin, PhD; Jared Rowland, PhD.
Pilot Project 2 - Sub-second measurements of dopamine release in a non-human primate model
PI: Kenneth Kishida, PhD.
Pilot Project 3 - Real-time noradrenergic signals in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis as a mechanism for anxiety-like behavior in an early life stress model of alcohol use disorder
PI: Mark Ferris, PhD.
Pilot Project 4 - Exploring trace amine-associated receptor 1 as a potential target for suppression of ethanol seeking behavior.
PI: Evgeny Budygin, PhD.
2019 – 2021
Pilot Project 1 - The effects of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex theta burst stimulation on alcohol cue reactivity and cognitive control: a double-blind, shame controlled study of heavy alcohol drinkers with a history of alcohol-related injury.
PI: Colleen Hanlon, PhD.
Pilot Project 2 - Evaluating PET imaging properties of [11C]EKAP, a kappa opioid receptor agonist in an non-human primate model of alcohol addiction.
PI: Kiran Sai, PhD.
Pilot Project 3 - Nicotine-associated cholinergic plasticity potentiated by alcohol.
PI: Ryan Drenan, PhD.
Pilot Project 4 - Understanding the link between Alzheimer’s disease and alcohol use disorder: the effects of acute ethanol on amyloid-β and tau levels in the hippocampal interstitial fluid
PI: Shannon Macauley, PhD; Stephen Day, PhD.
New RFAs will be posted later in the year