About INIAstress

Stress and anxiety have long been implicated in the development of harmful drinking, its escalation to alcoholism and relapse to drinking following a period of abstinence. The INIAstress consortium uses a state-of-the-art translational approach (mice and monkeys) to understand the complex interaction of stress and excessive drinking and identify novel, effective and tailored treatment strategies for alcoholism.

Since its inception in 2002, INIAstress has had the primary goal of coordinating and facilitating translational, multidisciplinary and integrative research aimed at elucidating genetic and environmental influences on brain mechanisms that mediate excessive alcohol (ethanol) consumption, the response to stress, and the reciprocal relationship between excessive drinking, the physiological state of stress, and the subjective state of anxiety. Through this characterization we have helped to define factors that contribute to an individual's risk for the development of alcoholism, revealed underlying mechanisms and conditions that promote excessive and harmful drinking, and forged progress towards discovering novel, more effective, and tailored treatment strategies. We continue our cross-species approach and have further refined our INIAstress projects and cores to inform us about unique adaptations in brain circuitry following chronic intermittent ethanol exposure (ethanol-allostasis) that impact subsequent interaction of stress and ethanol to promote further excessive drinking. Collectively, these collaborative studies directly integrate behavioral, endocrine, neural and genetic data from animal models to humans within a scope of expertise and thematic inquiry.

Administrative core (ONPRC)

Consortium Coordinator: Kathleen Grant, ONPRC

Scientific Director: Howard Becker

Project Manager: Louise Sacha

Intramural Collaborator: David Lovinger

Research steering committee

*Kathleen Grant, ONPRC

*Howard Becker, MUSC

*Jenica Patterson, NIAAA

*David Lovinger, NIAAA

 Project Officer, NIAAA

 Christopher Lapish, IUPUI

 Sara Jones, Wake Health

 Tom Kash, UNC-CH

*Executive committee members

Scientific advisory panel

James Herman, U-Cincinnati

Klaus Miczek, Tufts

Rajita Sinha, Yale University

Kay Tye, Salk Institute

Collaborative research projects

1/8: Becker (MUSC) Role of DYN/KOR and oxytocin systems in stress-enhanced drinking, relapse & behavioral flexibility.

2/8: Jones, Holleran (WUFHS) Alcohol/stress effects on kappa opioid receptors in the amygdala and nucleus accumbens. 

3/8: Vazey, Moorman (UMASS) NE modulation of corticostriatal networks underlying cognitive effort in chronic alcohol & stress.

4/8: Rinker, Mulholland (MUSC) Role of CRF in cortico- & thalamo- striatal pathways in regulating alcohol-stress interactions.

5/8: McElligott, Kash (UNC) Probing brain circuits that regulate alcohol stress interactions.

6/8: Grant (ONPRC) Stress and ethanol self-administration in monkeys.

7/8: Kroenke, Cuzon Carlson (ONPRC) Cross-species studies of metabolic allostasis and altered striatal circuitry.

8/8: Siciliano (Vanderbilt U) Cross-species plasticity signatures of alcohol and stress.

Research resource cores

1/2: Lapish (CSAC) Computational and statistical analyses core

2/2: Lopez, Mulholland (BAMC) Brain activity mapping core