For over 35 Years The Scripps Research Institute Alcohol Research Center (TSRI-ARC) has been devoted to the study of the effects of alcohol on the brain and how these effects lead to alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Alcoholism can be defined as a behavioral disorder characterized by an obsession with obtaining and using alcohol and disregarding other important activities that do not involve alcohol use. Other serious problems that can occur in alcoholism are an inability to control alcohol use, medical and psychological problems caused by alcohol use, craving alcohol, and difficulty staying sober once a person has stopped drinking.
TSRI-ARC OVERALL GOALS
1. Provide an integrated translational center with key preclinical and clinical expertise on the ”dark side” of alcohol use disorder (brain stress arousal systems).
2. Unveil the molecular, cellular, and circuitry mechanisms underlying the vulnerability to relapse in acute and protracted abstinence.
3. Provide preclinical and clinical proof of concept for novel pharmacological treatments of AUD.
4. Disseminate basic and clinical AUD research to vulnerable populations as well as serve as a critical mass for alcohol research in San Diego.
5. Provide strong administrative, technical and conceptual support to TSRI-ARC and Center-at-Large PIs in order to accelerate research, promote replicability and attract new investigators.
Aim 1. To characterize the cellular and molecular mechanisms in specific stress circuits and in modulatory control systems that characterize relapse vulnerability in acute and protracted abstinence.
Aim 2. To understand how reversal of these cellular and molecular mechanisms can prevent negative affect, and reinstatement and excessive drinking in animal models of acute and protracted abstinence.
Aim 3. To evaluate the efficacy of pharmacological targets identified by the TSRI-ARC for reversing dysregulated brain stress systems and circuits in preclinical and human laboratory models of protracted abstinence.