The Medical University of South Carolina successfully competed in 1994-95 for an Alcohol Research Center award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). During this initial funding period, basic scientists and clinical researchers with expertise in behavioral neuroscience and pharmacotherapy were assembled as a research team poised to take on the challenge of working together to identify promising new pharmacological treatments for alcoholism and its comorbid disorders.
Subsequently, the Center successfully competed for three additional five years of funding, from 2001 through 2005, 2006 through 2010, and 2011 through 2015. This funding mechanism has provided the opportunity to conduct collaborative and interactive research and the infrastructure to facilitate productivity. Our very first application included basic and clinical science and a philosophy of translational research long before this approach became an NIH initiative.
Since 1995, our Center has enabled experienced basic scientists to work jointly with clinical researchers. Our basic scientists use their animal models, skill sets, and ever-advancing technologies in neuroscience to conduct research informs either new treatments for alcoholism, provides information about alcohol effects on neuroadaptation, and/or helps identify potential targets for therapeutic interventions. The goal then, as now, is to provide information from the pre-clinical work that guides complementary studies in humans, and to use findings in humans to guide basic research.