Public Release:  Gallo Research Center announces new round of awards for $20m US Army-funded research program

University of California - San Francisco

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IMAGE:  "The IMN Program represents an important new strategy for combating substance abuse and related post-traumatic stress or other combat injuries, " said John A. De Luca, Ph.D., chairman of the board... view more

Credit: Gallo Center

The UCSF-affiliated Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center has issued a second round of grants under its U.S. Army-funded research program intended to accelerate the discovery and development of new medications to treat alcohol and substance abuse in the context of post-traumatic stress and combat injury.

The program, known as the Institute for Molecular Neuroscience (IMN), relies on the expertise of a team of national experts who are unaffiliated with grant applicants to conduct an independent peer-review process.

The second round of pilot research grants will support a broad range of projects to investigate potential new treatments for substance abuse, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress. The total funding for this round of awards is $1.25 million. Together with the $3.7 million awarded in round one, the IMN has to date awarded approximately $5 million in proof-of-principle grants.

"The IMN Program represents an important new strategy for combating substance abuse and related post-traumatic stress or other combat injuries," said John A. De Luca, PhD, chairman of the board and president of the Gallo Center. "These medical conditions are national security health issues. The IMN seeks to address these problems through its multidisciplinary, competitive national research program."

Grant recipients in this round of funding are:

Michael E. Charness

Boston VA Research Institute (Harvard)

$300,000

Lori A. Knackstedt

University of Florida

$306,207

Kenneth M. Lattall

Oregon Health and Science University

$370,881

Eric P. Zorilla

The Scripps Research Institute

$273,088

"It is gratifying that Congress and the Defense Department have embraced the IMN Program and its new approach to accelerating the discovery of new medications to address substance abuse, post-traumatic stress and other conditions facing our military personnel and veterans," said William R. Sawyers, chief administrative officer of the IMN and the Gallo Center.

The UCSF-affiliated Gallo Research Center was selected to manage the IMN Program in recognition of its expertise in the neurobiology of addiction and in managing large research projects. The strategy of the IMN, which funds short-term pilot projects, and then selects only the most compelling for advancement, represents a new approach to the development of medications for the U.S. Military.

The IMN Program is comprised of a consortium of 18 leading research universities and research institutions across the country. Institutions which have received IMN funding previously include Columbia University, Oregon Health and Science University, the Medical University of South Carolina, Yale University, the University of Texas, Austin, the Northern California Institute for Research and Education (NCIRE) and UCSF.

Congressional appropriations for the IMN Program to date total $20.1 million, said De Luca. Later this year, the IMN will select the most promising of its first round of pilot projects to be advanced into the next stage of medications development, said Sawyers.

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The UCSF-affiliated Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center is one of the world's preeminent academic centers for the study of the biological basis of alcohol and substance use disorders. Gallo Center discoveries of potential molecular targets for the development of therapeutic medications are extended through preclinical and proof-of-concept clinical studies.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic biomedical, translational and population sciences, as well as a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

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