WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest Baptist has been awarded a grant worth $8 million by the National Institutes of Health for a new alcohol addiction research center.

According to Baptist, alcohol abuse continues to be a major problem in the U.S. with an estimated 90,000 deaths from alcohol-related problems in the past 15 years.

The center will be called the Wake Forest Translational Alcohol Research Center (WF-TARC) and will build on a previous alcohol research program supported by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“This will be the only center in the country to focus specifically on understanding why some people are more vulnerable to becoming addicted to alcohol than others,” said Jeff Weiner, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest Baptist and the center's director.

The center will focus on preclinical and clinical research studying behavioral and neurobiological factors in alcohol use disorder, using sophisticated brain imaging provided by functional MRI to identify neural signatures that differentiate vulnerable from resilient people.

The co-director of the WF-TARC is Sara Jones, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology, and the scientific director is Brian McCool, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology, at Wake Forest Baptist.

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