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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WSU neuroscience researcher to receive Presidential award

Washington State University Department of Psychology neuroscience researcher Brendan Walker has been selected to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is the highest honor the federal government awards scientists and engineers who have recently initiated independent research careers.

Walker was selected for his work in developing new therapies for alcohol addiction. The Presidential Awards are intended to recognize and nurture some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the twenty-first century.

"This is a tremendous honor,” said Walker. "It is wonderful to see this area of research recognized for its importance at the highest levels.”

Walker’s goal is to develop new drug therapies that will support patient treatment compliance and long-term recovery by focusing on a neuropeptide in the brain known as dynorphin. This peptide is increased by long-term alcohol exposure and appears to produce many of the negative mood states that accompany alcohol withdrawal. By blocking this system, the depression and anxiety that occurs when someone tries to stop drinking alcohol can be reduced, while chances for full recovery are greatly enhanced. > > > > Read More

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