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Thursday, January 10, 2013

NIAAA Newsletter Winter 2012 • Issue 25

>> BREAKING NEWS: NIAAA/NIDA Merger Announcement <<
On Friday November 16, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Dr. Francis Collins, announced that NIH will support a trans-NIH substance use, abuse, and addiction functional integration, enhancing NIH Institute and Center (IC) collaborations around this important scientific and public health topic. This approach is being taken in place of founding a new NIH Institute on addiction—which would have included a merger of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and addiction-related research from other NIH Institutes.

Dr. Kenneth Kendler
Mark Keller Honorary Lecture Series 2012

Photo of Dr. Kenneth Kendler
Kenneth Kendler, M.D., delivered the 17th Annual Mark Keller Honorary Lecture on November 15, 2012, at the Clinical Center on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Kendler, a world-renowned expert on the genetics of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders, gave an insightful and sweeping lecture entitled, “The Genetic Epidemiology of Alcohol Use Disorders: A Current Perspective.”
Dr. Kendler set up his talk by saying he would attempt to “review the field of alcohol use disorders through the lens of genetic epidemiology—in one hour.”

Special Issue on Health Status of American Indians and Alaska Natives

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA’s) Judith Arroyo, Ph.D., Minority Health and Health Disparities Coordinator, and Marcia Scott, Ph.D., Project Officer, Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, were guest editors of a special issue of The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Volume 38, Issue 5, 2012). The special edition contains 24 research papers covering many of the most important and urgent issues surrounding alcohol and substance use among American Indian and Alaska Native communities, including how it affects high-risk groups such as adolescents and pregnant women.

Preview of the NIAAA College Drinking Intervention Decision Tool

On July 9, 2012, Dr. Vivian Faden, director of the Office of Science Policy and Communications and associate director of Behavioral Research at NIAAA, spoke during the National College Health Improvement Projects’ (NCHIP) third meeting in Washington, D.C. NCHIP, a national collaborative that works to improve student health, launched an initiative on high-risk college drinking prevention in 2011.

NIAAA Sponsors AACAP Symposium and Residents in Alcohol Research

Steven Szabo, M.D., Ph.D., Ashley Rutter, Shannon Gulliver, M.D., M.Phil., Cecilia Johnson, and Shivana Naidoo, M.D.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recently sponsored a symposium on Alcohol and Teens Research during the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry annual meeting in San Francisco. According to Howard Moss, NIAAA Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research, the symposium shared important new research that has implications for practitioners.

NIAAA on the Road: Delivering a Message on Risky Drinking and Summer Safety

Photo of Risky Drinking billboard
Last summer, NIAAA embarked on an extensive outreach campaign to highlight the harmfulness of risky drinking and to promote summer safety. In July and early August, NIAAA ran a series of outdoor billboard ads in select locations across the Mid-Atlantic region. These billboards carried the themes, and matched the colorful graphics, of the Institute’s summer safety fact sheets, which have been widely distributed.

Dr. Samir Zakhari Retires

Photo of Dr. Sam Zakhari
Dr. Samir Zakhari, director of the Division of Metabolism and Health Effects (DMHE), retired from NIAAA on September 28, 2012. His retirement marks a more than 25-year history with the Institute.
Dr. Zakhari joined NIAAA in 1986 as a scientific review officer, becoming chief of the Biomedical Research Branch in the Division of Basic Research in 1990. In 1998, he was appointed director of the Division of Basic Research, and, in 2003, he took on his current responsibilities in the DMHE.

Students from the Jeter’s Leaders Program visit NIAAA

Photo of participant
NIAAA’s 10-year collaboration with the Jeter’s Leaders Program continued this past July when more than 100 students visited the Institute—the largest group yet.
Founded by New York Yankees team captain Derek Jeter, Jeter’s Leaders is a youth development program that seeks to instill the value of leadership and mentoring in high school students to encourage healthy lifestyles for them and their broader communities.

Project Match Monograph Series

Photo of Dr. Sam Zakhari
The Project Match manuals are a series of publications designed to disseminate methodology developed by the investigators of the multi-site clinical trial Project MATCH (1990–1997), an initiative funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
The Institute developed these materials with the hope that they would fill a gap in the published literature and provide a resource for alcohol treatment researchers and clinicians. That prediction has proven to be accurate. Since the initial publication, the manuals have been reprinted many times and requested by users both in the United States and abroad.

Two NIAAA Researchers Receive Neuroscience Awards

Andrew Holmes, Ph.D.
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) recently awarded Andrew Holmes, Ph.D., chief of NIAAA’s Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience, the 2012 Jacob P. Waletzky Award. That award specifically recognizes research in the field of neuroscience and substance abuse. Dr. Holmes received the $25,000 prize at the SfN annual meeting in New Orleans in recognition of his innovative research on the effects of alcohol and stress on cognitive functioning and emotional regulation.
Rui M.  Costa, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Also recognized at the SfN meeting was Rui M. Costa, D.V.M., Ph.D., a guest researcher in the NIAAA Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience. Dr. Costa works at the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown in Lisbon, Portugal. He received the $15,000 SfN Young Investigator Award, which is given to notable neuroscientists who have earned their advanced degree in the past 10 years to recognize and foster the growth of talented young neuroscientists.