Portland Alcohol Research Center

The Portland Alcohol Research Center investigates genes that enhance risk of and convey protection against alcohol use problems. The goal of the PARC’s work is helping to find new therapies targeted toward particular genes in order to improve prevention and treatment.

Uncovering the Genes at the Foundation of Alcohol Dependence


One of 27 research centers funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, PARC focuses on uncovering the genetics of how the brain adapts to alcohol.

PARC supports the coordinated research efforts of 16 scientists at the Portland Veteran Affairs Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University in areas ranging from behavioral neuroscience to molecular biology. 


OHSU Equity Summer Internships for Undergraduate College Students 2015

FULL APPLICATION AVAILABLE HERE   The PARC funds 8-week internships for students who are interested in advanced graduate study in health sciences, and who come from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. All application materials due by February 9, 2015.


PARC Pilot Projects Funded January - December 2015.

Three PIs, Kari Buck, Lucia Carbone, and Angela Ozburn, awarded funding for pilot projects in 2015.


Fellowship Opportunities

The PARC offers training opportunities to graduate and post-graduate students interested in alcohol-abuse research. For details on current opportunities, please visit the OHSU Department of Behavioral Neuroscience

 "Tell Your Story! A Media and Communications Guide for Scientists" 

Strategies and practical tools to help scientists share their work effectively with the media and in presentations to the general public.

Free download available here


News and Awards

RSA President.  Tamara Phillips, PARC Center Director, is the 2014-2015 President of the Research Society on Alcoholism, the world's largest research society devoted to study and treatment of alcohol-related problems. The 2015 annual meeting is June 20-24, in San Antonio, Texas USA.

Nature cover article. PARC renewal PI Lucia Carbone's article, "Gibbon genome and the fast karyotype evolution of small apes," was the featured cover story of the September 11, 2014, issue of Nature.  The article investigates how a novel gibbon-specific retrotransposon might be the source of the gibbons' genome plasticity.

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for 2013.  Damien Fair, PARC renewal investigator, has been honored by the White House for his research on understanding and mapping the developing human brain. Dr. Fair uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to understand developmental aspects of health areas including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and addiction. More information

Complex Trait Community Meeting, June 8-11 2015, Portland, Oregon.  Details concerning the meeting will appear on this website http://www.ohsu.edu/parc/CTC2015 in early Fall 2014. Send questions and suggestions to Bob Hitzemann at

Oregon Brain Institute (OBI) 2014 Award. Behavioral Neuroscience graduate student Melanie Pina, mentored by PARC Investigator Chris Cunningham, received OBI's 2014 Neurobiology of Disease Fellowship which will pay Ms Pena's stipend for one year. Ms Pena's work focuses on neurobiological mechanisms that underlie drug reward and addiction. More information

APA 2014 Dissertation Research Awards. The American Psychological Association conferred three dissertation awards on PARC-mentored graduate students: Gaby Alarcón ($2750, PARC mentor Bonnie Nagel) for her thesis, The influence of self-referential processing on cognitive control during adolescence: Sex differences and implications for psychopathology. Leah Hitchcock ($1000, PARC mentor: K. Matthew Lattal) for her thesis, Neural substrates and epigenetic events that underlie drug-seeking behavior. Melanie Pina ($1000, PARC mentor Chris Cunningham) for her thesis, Glutamatergic inputs to midbrain dopamine: Origin and function in ethanol seeking. More information

Marquam Hill Lecture.  PARC renewal PI Bonnie Nagel was honored to give the October 2014 Marquam Hill Lecture at OHSU. Her public talk, Secrets of the developing brain, gave parents, friends and teenagers themselves a better understanding of developmental differences between the sexes, and how both positive and negative experiences impact the brain during adolescence. A video recording of the lecture is available here