Grant: $18,086 - National Institutes of Health - Jul. 15, 2009
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Award Description: Critical issues for improving the treatment of alcoholism are what neurobiological changes are responsible for the transition from non-dependent alcohol use to alcoholism, and what persistent changes mediate relapse. The goals of the present proposal are to delineate brain biomarkers that indicate the neurobiological mechanisms responsible for alcohol escalation and to define brain biomarkers associated with relapse. To achieve these goals, we will test the following hypotheses: 1) Sufficient exposure to alcohol leads to changes in specific elements of the extended amygdala that produce elevations in the hedonic set point. In turn, this leads to progressive elevation in ethanol intake and a propensity to relapse during abstinence. 2) Self-administration of ethanol coupled with passive administration causes changes in protein expression levels and function more characteristic of the addictive process than passive administration alone. To test these hypotheses, we propose studies with the following Specific Aims: 1) To examine the effects of ethanol dependence on protein expression and modification with a focus on changes associated with ethanol reinforcement. 2) To determine long-lasting changes in protein expression and modification associated with vulnerability to relapse upon re-exposure to ethanol. Our proposed combination of cutting-edge behavioral, neuroanatomical, and proteomic approaches will permit the identification of important biomarkers that should enable the development of more specific and effective pharmacotherapy both to help block the process of alcohol addiction and prevent relapse in those suffering from alcoholism.
Project Description: Michael Shaw was involved in conducting animal behavior experiments with a primary focus on the relationship between drug exposure and the neurobiological substrates of the pain-signaling pathway. These experiments taught him in great detail about the scientific process, critical review of the literature, and enabled him to develop data collection and analysis techniques. While here, he took advantage of various research seminars and participated in our weekly lab meetings. At the end of his summer internship, Michael was able to develop and present his findings to a scientific audience. He was able to discuss methodologies used and his results in an acceptable manner given his level of experience. Michael?s involvement in our experimental protocols has greatly accelerated our research efforts. He was able to perform a number of time-consuming and labor-intensive experiments but his findings have advanced our studies in understanding the mechanisms underlying alcoholism. He was also introduced to the training mandates set forth by the regulatory agencies surrounding legal and ethical responsibilities involving animal research. He was expected to meet these requirements in order to participate in conducting animal experiments.
Jobs Summary: The administrative supplement was used to hire Michael Shaw, an undergraduate student studying Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, as an intern for the summer of 2009 and 2010. (Total jobs reported: 1)
Project Status: More than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jul. 15, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.