Yale’s inaugural conference for alcohol research and education was held September 10, bringing together students, researchers, clinicians, and other members of the community to learn about alcohol-related research. alcohol conducted at Yale.
Courtesy of Dr. Now Big
On September 10, the inaugural Yale Conference for Alcohol Research and Education, or YCARE, was held on the Yale campus.
The conference was intended to bring attention to alcohol-related research at Yale — a topic that researchers say has a broad impact on nearly everyone in the university community.
“Alcohol is a commonly used addictive substance,” David Fiellin, an assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine, wrote in an email with the News. “Even those who consume alcohol at lower levels may experience [negative] health effects … we felt it was important to organize a conference to highlight the variety of research on this important health issue across the University.
The conference was sponsored by the Yale Liver Center, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Yale Program in Addiction Medicine, and the Yale Department of Psychiatry. Bubu Banini and Graeme Mason, both professors at the Yale School of Medicine, served as conference directors alongside Fiellin. More than 90 Yale researchers, clinicians, educators and community members participated virtually or in person.
The keynote address was delivered by NIAAA Director George Koob. In his talk, titled “Breaking down silos in alcohol research,” Koob highlighted the importance of cross-collaboration and providing new insights to academic and non-academic communities in alcohol-related research. ‘alcohol.
Mason and Fiellin then served as moderators for a series of lectures on alcohol-related research from different Yale faculty members and researchers. Topics included gender differences in alcohol use disorders, behavioral treatment options for alcohol use disorders, alcohol-induced liver injury, impaired driving and relationship between alcohol and stress and sleep.
In addition to faculty lectures, different Yale interns had the opportunity to present their own research on alcohol in a parallel poster session. Four of these trainees were recognized for their poster presentations: Farzaneh Dashti, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Internal Medicine; Nakul Raval, postdoctoral associate in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging; Noriyoshi Ogino, postdoctoral associate in the Department of Internal Medicine and Yasmin Zakiniaeiz, research associate in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging.
Ogino, who earned a doctorate and an MD from Kitakyushu University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Japan, first became interested in alcohol research after having young patients who died of severe alcoholic hepatitis, which is inflammation of the liver caused by heavy alcohol consumption. Ogino wrote in an email to the News that she was “struck that it’s not common in Japan, but very common in the United States.”
At the conference, Ogino presented his findings on how neutrophil infiltration during alcoholic hepatitis affects hepatocytes, or parenchymal tissue cells in the liver.
“In alcoholic hepatitis, many neutrophils infiltrate the liver, but what neutrophils do to hepatocytes was unknown,” Ogino told The News. “Our results indicate that neutrophils inject an enzyme called elastase into hepatocytes, which degrades calcium channels and regulates hepatocyte proliferation. This new mechanism may be a therapeutic target for the failure of liver regeneration that occurs in severe alcoholic hepatitis.
Raval, who is currently in Ansel Hillmer’s lab at the Yale School of Medicine, presented his lab’s research on how the brain’s neuroimmune system is affected by excessive alcohol consumption.
The study used positron emission tomography, or PET, a functional imaging technique measure changes in metabolic processes, to quantify the neuro-immune effect of excessive alcohol consumption. Subjects were scanned twice – once as a baseline and once after consuming alcohol.
Analyzes revealed that there was about a 10% increase in activated microglia in the subjects after consuming alcohol. Microglia are immune cells that responsible for the maintenance of central nervous system tissues and local responses to injury and infection. Research has indicated that overactivation of microglia can lead to neuronal damage.
“The neuroimmune response has been linked to the negative effects of alcohol on the brain,” Raval wrote in an email to The News. “However, the majority of this work is based on preclinical research. We demonstrate for the first time a neuro-immune response in the brain following excessive alcohol consumption.
Ogino believes it is important to organize events like YCARE, which highlight alcohol-related research, because many alcohol-related diseases are preventable, and comprehensive approaches to tackling these diseases are still in high demand in the United States.
YCARE directors hope to make the conference an annual or biannual event. Fiellin also said he hopes future YCARE conferences will focus more on educational efforts and include clinicians from the surrounding community.
Fiellin encouraged members of the Yale community to participate in educational events held regularly by the Yale Program in Addiction Medicinewhich are designed to connect Yale students, faculty, and other interns in learning about alcohol and substance abuse topics.
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