Our intramural laboratories and other major components are:

  •  Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience 
    The Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience specializes in using animal models to determine how exposure to stress and drugs of abuse affect an individual’s capacity for high-level cognitive and so-called executive functions. Executive functions include the ability to inhibit inappropriate behaviors such as aggression and excessive fear, and the capacity for controlling and  avoiding potentially self-destructive activities which capacity is often compromised  in drug and alcohol addiction.   
     
  • Laboratory of Cardiovascular Physiology and Tissue Injury
    The Laboratory of Cardiovascular Physiology and Tissue Injury seeks to identify new therapeutic targets against various forms of tissue injury, associated with increased oxidative/nitrosative stress and inflammation, using clinically relevant animal models of disease (e.g., ischemia reperfusion injury, cardiomyopathies, nephropathies, heart failure, diabetic complications, cardiovascular aging, and alcohol induced cardiovascular and liver injury and neuroinflammation).
  • Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience  
    The goal of the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience is to understand the genetic, molecular, and neurological determinants of the cognitive and behavioral bases of alcoholism.  In particular, the Laboratory studies the genetic and molecular mechanisms that influence neural circuit morphology, circuit plasticity, and a range of alcoholism-related behaviors.  The Section on Synaptic Pharmacology focuses on gene transcription, protein expression and cellular imaging.  The Section on Neuronal Structure examines the relationship between neuronal morphology, neurophysiology and behavior.  And the Section on In Vivo Neural Function examines the relationship between neural circuitry and task learning in transgenic mice.
     
  • Laboratory of Liver Diseases  
    The goal of the Laboratory of Liver Diseases is to elucidate the molecular pathways that underwrite the propagation of alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, and to identify therapeutic targets that can be used to reverse the course of these diseases.  The Laboratory is especially interested in role of inflammation in liver disease, as well as the mechanisms that protect the liver from chronic alcohol exposure.
     
  • Laboratory of Metabolic Control  
    The goal of the Laboratory of Metabolic Control is to examine the production and biochemical regulation of cellular energy.  The Laboratory is especially interested in the metabolism of acetate (the primary metabolite of ethanol) and development of ketones for the treatment of epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.
     
  • Laboratory of Molecular Physiology  
    The goal of the Laboratory of Molecular Physiology is to study the cellular and subcellular signaling pathways that mediate synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability.  The Section on Transmitter Signaling focuses on the regulation of calcium ions and the development neural imaging technologies.  The Section on Cellular Biophotonics specializes in the use of advanced microscopy to study the regulation and assembly of membrane proteins.  The Section on Model Synaptic Systems examines the molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission.
     
  • Laboratory of Molecular Signaling
    The goal of the Laboratory of Molecular Signaling is to understand the metabolism of poly unsaturated fatty acids in the brain.  The Laboratory is particularly interested in how the accumulation and metabolism of docosahexaenoic acid in the brain promotes cognitive and memory functions, and how the inhibition of these metabolic processes contributes to psychiatric disorders.
     
  • Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics
    The goal of the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics is to understand how chronic alcohol use affects the structure and function of cellular membranes.  The Laboratory is particularly interested in the role of docosahexaenoic acid on membrane function.  The Section on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance studies how polyunsaturated fatty acids influence cellular functions by altering the biophysical properties of lipid membranes and by interacting with membrane proteins.  The Section of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology focuses on the involvement of two enzymes in the metabolism of ethanol, increased oxidative/nitrosative damage, and signaling mechanisms during cell death.  The Section on Nutritional Neuroscience examines the impact of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids on the development of substance use and psychiatric disorders.
     
  • Laboratory of Neurogenetics
    The goal of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics is to identify genetic variations that contribute to the inheritance of alcoholism and related addictive and psychiatric disorders.  The Laboratory uses a number of genetic, genomic, behavioral, and bioinformatic techniques to identify associations between genotypic variations and intermediate phenotypes that are involved in disease progression.  The Section on Human Neurogenetics focuses on genotypic analyses, while the Section on Comparative Behavioral Genomics concentrates on the behavioral consequences of genetic variation.
     
  • Laboratory of Neuroimaging
    The Laboratory of Neuroimaging uses neuroimaging technologies to understand the molecular mechanisms of compulsive disorders.  The laboratory is especially interested in comparing the way that drugs of abuse (such as alcohol and cocaine) and non-drug reinforcers (such as food and gambling) influence reward processes in the brain.
     
  • Laboratory of Physiologic Studies
    The goal of the Laboratory of Physiological Studies is to understand the molecular and cellular bases of alcohol-induced organ damage.  The Laboratory is especially interested in the effects of alcohol on cardiovascular disease.  The Section on Neuroendocrinology focuses on the biology of endogenous cannabinoids and receptors, and their role in energy metabolism and cardiovascular regulation.  The Section on Oxidative Stress Tissue Injury examines molecular mechanisms related to alcohol-induced cardiovascular damage.
     
  • Chemical Biology Research Branch (joint lab with NIDA)
    The goal of this Section, which is jointly administered by NIAAA and NIDA, is to develop a wide range of new compounds for clinical and research purposes.  The Section focuses on novel analgesics, antagonists of the Toll-like 4 receptors, agonists of
    the corticotropin releasing hormone, and interleukin-6 agonists. 
     
  • The goal of the Office of the Clinical Director's Clinical Core Laboratory (CCL) is to provide a shared laboratory space for NIAAA researchers in the Clinical Research Center to facilitate human alcoholism research. 
     
  • This unit conducts both functional and structural brain imaging studies related to alcoholism. These include the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques, positron emission tomographic (PET) studies, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. 
  • The focus of the Section of Comparative Behavioral Genomics is the examination of intra- and inter-specific variation in genomic sequence and epigenetic effects as they relate to variation in behavioral traits that are known risk factors for the alcohol use disorders. 
  • Section on Human Psychopharmacology 
    The Section on Human Psychopharmacoplogy conducts studies characterizing the pharmacokinetics and CNS pharmacodynamics of alcohol in humans using behavioral, neuroendocrine, electrophysiological and functional imaging measures.
     
  • Section on Clinical Genomics and Experimental Therapeutics 
    The CGET conducts pre-clinical studies and translational clinical studies with focus on genomics and epigenetics related to the pathophysiology and treatment of alcohol use disorders and addictions.