May 17, 2002
Volume XXXV, No. 20




Center featured in NIH Record



Dr. Bankole A. Johnson, Wurzbach Distinguished Professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the Health Science Center, and Dr. Nassima Ait-Daoud, assistant professor of psychiatry, participated in a two-part, invited presentation at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this spring. Dr. Johnson discussed the complexities of various brain mechanisms involved with alcoholism and highlighted research, conducted at UTHSC'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.