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UT Health Science Center addiction researchers invited to speak at National Institutes of Health

Bankole A. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., Wurzbach Distinguished Professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Nassima Ait-Daoud, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, participated in a two-part, invited presentation at the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently.

Dr. Johnson discussed the complexities of various brain mechanisms involved with alcoholism and highlighted research, conducted at the Health Science Center's Southwest Texas Addiction Research and Technology Center (START), to develop innovative medications.

Dr. Ait-Daoud described how these innovative treatments at the START Center have benefited many patients. She also provided a vision of how the center has expanded its research to aid problem drinkers in the criminal justice system and the adolescent population.

Both physician-researchers expressed optimism that developments in pharmacogenomics, also being pioneered at the START Center in collaboration with the Waggoner Center at UT Austin, should, in the future, enable medications targeted at specific neurotransmitters to be developed for particular subtypes of alcoholism.

Dr. Ait-Daoud is the recent recipient of a five-year, $830,478 K23 award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The presentations of Drs. Johnson and Ait-Daoud were reported on the front page of the NIH Record in an article titled "New Treatments for Alcoholism on Horizon." The article is online at NIH Record is the biweekly employee newsletter of the National Institutes of Health.

Contact: Will Sansom