University of Texas at Austin receives $7 million grant for alcoholism research

WHAT: The University of Texas at Austin's Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research announces $7 million in grant funding for new initiatives at UT Austin.

WHEN: 4 p.m., Wednesday (Oct. 3).

WHERE: Anna Hiss Courtyard, immediately west of the new, three-story Molecular Biology Building. 2500 Speedway between 24th and 26th streets. To reach the courtyard, enter through the large central archway in the middle of the building and go west. (Maps of the university can be obtained at the following Web site:

BACKGROUND: The National Institutes of Health is providing $7 million in research money to the Waggoner Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research. The Waggoner Center supports research on the genetic and molecular basis for alcoholism, seeking to identify specific genes and the role they play in alcoholism and other chemical dependencies. Dr. R. Adron Harris, one of the world's leading investigators into the biology of alcoholism, said the funding will support six projects at The University of Texas at Austin to study chemical changes linked to genetic predisposition to drink, as well as changes in brain wiring (or neurocircuitry) linked to the genetic predisposition toward alcoholism. In one of these projects, Harris and Dr. Vishy Iyer, an assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences, will develop special techniques and methods that will allow the study of thousands of brain genes in animal models. Federal support for alcoholism research is the lowest for any major public health problem. Loss of life due to alcoholism and alcohol abuse is, however, greater than loss of life due to cancer, AIDS or heart disease. The cost to society annually in lost productivity and burdens on the health care system is estimated at $148 billion.

CONTACT: Dr. R. Adron Harris (512) 232-3514 or (512) 232-2512.

For more information: see Waggoner Center or Dr. Harris.