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NIAAA Newsletter

Two NIAAA Researchers Receive Neuroscience Awards

Andrew Holmes, Ph.D

Andrew Holmes, Ph.D.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) recently awarded Andrew Holmes, Ph.D., chief of NIAAA’s Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience, the 2012 Jacob P. Waletzky Award. That award specifically recognizes research in the field of neuroscience and substance abuse. Dr. Holmes received the $25,000 prize at the SfN annual meeting in New Orleans in recognition of his innovative research on the effects of alcohol and stress on cognitive functioning and emotional regulation. 

Dr. Holmes and his colleagues recently published a paper in the September 2012 issue of Nature Neuroscience showing how chronic alcohol use may increase the risk for posttraumatic stress disorder by altering the brain’s ability to recover from a traumatic experience. (Learn more about the finding)

 “Dr. Holmes’ recent work has given important insight into how heavy drinking affects the brain’s ability to recover from trauma,” said Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., acting director of NIAAA. “We are pleased that his significant contributions to the addictions field are being recognized by the Society for Neuroscience.”

“I’m honored to be receiving this award and appreciate the support of my staff and colleagues that help make my work possible,” said Dr. Holmes.

Rui M. Costa, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Rui M. Costa, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Also recognized at the SfN meeting was Rui M. Costa, D.V.M., Ph.D., a guest researcher in the NIAAA Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience. Dr. Costa works at the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown in Lisbon, Portugal. He received the $15,000 SfN Young Investigator Award, which is given to notable neuroscientists who have earned their advanced degree in the past 10 years to recognize and foster the growth of talented young neuroscientists.

Dr. Moses V. Chao, Ph.D., president of SfN, presented the award and said “Dr. Costa has made significant advances to complex neuroscience and neurological problems with elegant and innovative approaches. Rui Costa’s research has been instrumental in providing new insights about how we learn new skills. Using genetic, optogenetic, and electrophysiological tools, Costa revealed how the learning and consolidation of new skills involves different brain circuits connecting the cortex and the basal ganglia. He also pinpointed the discovery that region- and circuit-specific changes accompany different phases of skill learning.”