The Charleston Alcohol Research Center (ARC) continues to focus on treatment and treatment implications as
an overarching theme. The ARC maintains its long-standing tradition of embracing multidisciplinary and
translational research approaches, integrating both basic research and clinical investigations all centered on this
common theme. The ARC also continues its tradition of teaming junior faculty with more experienced
investigators, capitalizing on new talent and bringing sophisticated cutting-edge technologies and research
approaches that enhance research efforts in addressing the Center’s overall scientific goals.
The ARC is comprised of five research projects and three cores. The Administrative Core provides the leadership
and infrastructure to facilitate the overall scientific and educational mission of the Center as a whole. The Shared
Resource Core provides vital scientific services needed by Center researchers to facilitate integration, maximize
resources, and increase productivity. The Pilot Core attracts new investigators and new ideas to the Center,
thereby broadening and augmenting its research and training activities.
In this renewal application, proposed preclinical and clinical research projects all center on a common research
focus – neuroadaptations in cortical processes that underlie transition to excessive drinking. Three basic
research projects will use sophisticated circuitry mapping, cellular/molecular biology techniques, and behavioral
procedures to examine how chronic alcohol exposure alters functional activity of cortical sub-regions and their
projections, and how such adaptations in cortical-subcortical neurocircuitry mediate excessive drinking, which
may be characterized as inflexible, compulsive/habit-like drinking. Two clinical research projects will employ
sophisticated neuroimaging techniques to focus on similar cortical areas and projections in evaluating the ability
of different treatment modalities (pharmacological and non-pharmacological) to alter the circuitry and reduce
alcohol cue-induced brain activation, craving, and drinking.
The Charleston ARC is poised to continue its national leadership role and demonstrated success in: (a) fostering
multidisciplinary and translational state-of-the-art research efforts that are thematically-focused on the topic of
treatment and treatment implications; (b) attracting new (especially early-stage) investigators into the Center,
thereby invigorating its research efforts; and (c) providing a stimulating environment that enriches training
opportunities and professional development for the next generation of researchers in the alcohol field.