Public Release: 

Dr. Kenneth J. Sher to deliver 22nd Annual Mark Keller Honorary Lecture

NIH/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, announces that Kenneth J. Sher, Ph.D., will deliver the 22nd Annual Mark Keller Honorary Lecture. Dr. Sher is a nationally renowned scholar, researcher, and mentor whose work has greatly advanced our understanding of the etiology and course of alcohol use disorder (AUD), particularly as it relates to personality traits and their evolution. Dr. Sher has been at the forefront of research on the development of alcohol misuse, focusing on factors that affect drinking behavior throughout the lifespan, particularly in college students.


Dr. Sher is the Curators' Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri, where he directs predoctoral and postdoctoral training on alcohol studies and he is also the Associate Chair of Research Enhancement.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Sher has studied a wide range of topics contributing substantially to our understanding of the development of alcohol and other substance misuse. He has examined risk mechanisms that influence AUD onset and progression, premorbid predictors of future AUD, and the involvement of family history of AUD in multiple etiological pathways to problem drinking. His research interests include: personality, as well as developmental changes in personality, as predictors of alcohol misuse and AUD; gene-environment interactions in the development of AUD; and predictors and consequences of binge drinking among college students (including 21st birthday drinking and other extreme drinking occasions). Dr. Sher has also investigated the phenomenon of "maturing out" of harmful drinking, demonstrating that maturing out is associated with differences in age-related personality changes that are accompanied by decreased impulsivity and neuroticism, and not merely a consequence of the transition to adult roles. Dr. Sher led two major ongoing longitudinal cohort studies that have followed individuals beginning in their freshman year of college and into mid-life. In addition to the development of AUD, this research tracks drug use and comorbid psychiatric disorders.

A major focus of his current work is the critical evaluation of existing diagnostic approaches for AUD and the development of empirically-based criteria and algorithms for AUD diagnosis. This research holds promise for improving AUD diagnosis in clinical practice, and advancing research on the causes and correlates of AUD.


Thursday, November 30, 1:30 p.m. EST


Masur Auditorium, NIH Building 10, Bethesda, Md.


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