NIAAA Announces New Extramural Research Division

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recently introduced the Division of Treatment and Recovery (DTR), formed from the merger of the Institute’s Division of Medications Development and Division of Treatment and Recovery Research. The new division focuses on identifying and improving pharmacological and behavioral treatments for alcohol use disorder (AUD), enhancing methods for sustaining recovery, and increasing the use of evidence-based treatments in real-world practice. DTR is led by Raye Litten, Ph.D., Acting Director, and Joanne Fertig, Ph.D., Acting Deputy Director, and is composed of a Medications Development Branch and a Treatment, Services, and Recovery Branch.

The Medications Development Branch oversees the development of medications for AUD by translating neuroscience discoveries into promising compounds and advancing them through the medications development pipeline. This includes funding studies to enable investigators to obtain Investigational New Drug status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for compounds that show promise, and conducting and supporting alcohol interaction, human laboratory, and Phase II clinical trials. The Medications Development Branch also seeks to:

  • Identify new targets for AUD medications in collaboration with the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior and Division of Metabolism and Health at NIAAA,
  • Develop screening models that predict a high probability of clinical efficacy and safety,
  • Engage pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies in medications development for AUD, and
  • Facilitate the use of alcohol treatment medications in clinical practice.

The Treatment, Services, and Recovery Branch supports a broad portfolio of behavioral treatment and recovery research. This includes:

  • Developing and improving behavioral interventions for AUD,
  • Increasing the use of evidence-based behavioral treatments in a wide range of practice settings,
  • Improving treatments for individuals with AUD and co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders,
  • Gaining a better understanding of the dynamics of recovery, and
  • Developing innovative methods and technologies for AUD treatment and recovery.

The Treatment, Services, and Recovery Branch is also interested in advancing research on topics focusing on special-emphasis and underserved populations, including minority populations, adolescents and young adults, older adults, individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and persons living with HIV/AIDS. Together both branches will facilitate the overall goals of the Division of Treatment and Recovery to advance precision medicine in the treatment of AUD and promote and facilitate treatment of AUD across all groups in our diverse society.