The VCU Alcohol Research Center (VCU ARC) is dedicated to discovering the networks of genes that contribute to the brain mechanisms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and impact the risk of developing the disorder.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD), which includes “alcoholism” and abusive alcohol consumption, represents a major public health burden contributing to over 88,000 deaths annually in the United States and costing the U.S. economy over $249 billion annually due to lost productivity, health care expenses, property damage and criminal activity. The underlying molecular basis for AUD is incompletely understood and there is no current adequate treatment although remarkable progress has occurred. Genetic risk factors contribute critically to susceptibility to AUD, likely a result of many variants each contributing modestly to risk. However, genetic studies in animal models and humans have to date made slow progress in identifying genes contributing to AUD or translating such discoveries to new therapies for the disorder.

The VCU Alcohol Research Center (VCU ARC) is supported by grant P50-AA022537 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and through funds provided by the VCU School of Medicine and the VCU Office of Research and Innovation. VCU ARC is one of 20 national Alcohol Research Centers funded by NIAAA. Using a comprehensive cross-species genetic and genomic approach in humans, rodents and invertebrate species (C. elegans and Drosophila), VCU ARC seeks to identify and validate gene networks modulating alcohol behaviors. From such studies, we seek to understand the genetic architecture for AUD disease risk and to identify novel targets for future therapeutics. Furthermore, our laboratories also provide an exciting and rigorous forum for training the next generation of alcohol researchers.


Recent VCU-ARC News
(More News)

5.20.19 Drs. Miles and Damaj awarded R01 to study analgesic effects of alcohol

5.20.19 Dr. Alexis Edwards awarded R01 to study the association between alcohol, drug use and suicide

10.11.18 VCU-ARC publication Highlighted Research in Neuropsychopharmacology

9.25.18   Kristen Lee (Grotewiel Lab) awarded F31 to study role of glia in alcohol sedation in Drosophila

9.24.18   Megan O'Brien and Rory Weston (Miles lab) publish study on alcohol effects on synaptic transcriptome and exon utilization

9.06.18   Andrew van der Vaart (Miles lab) publishes study on GSK-3Beta in Neuropsychopharm.

9.01.18   Ken Kendler awarded R01 to perform GWAS of severe alcohol use disorder

7.31.18   Jill Bettinger awarded R01 to study natural variation effects on behavioral responses to alcohol

6.13.18   Jennifer Wolstenholme awarded R01 to study histone effects following adolescent binge alcohol

5.22.18   Drs. Wolstenholme and Bettinger publish the effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on ethanol behaviors