New Mexico Alcohol Research Center


1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

History

Med2 Building

Fetal alcohol research began in New Mexico within a few years of the first reports of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in the United States (Jones & Smith 1973; Jones et al., 1973). Beginning in the early 1980's, University of New Mexico investigators, led by Dr. Phillip May, made important contributions in the diagnosis, epidemiology and prevention of FAS. In the late 1980's, a separate group of UNM researchers, led by Dr. Daniel Savage, began building a basic fetal alcohol research program focused on the long-lasting effects of moderate ethanol exposure on synaptic plasticity and learning in affected offspring. 

In recent years, the scientific gap between the epidemiological and the pre-clinical research ends of UNM's FAS research spectrum has narrowed with the advent of clinical FAS studies in neurobehavioral assessment, led by Dr. Piyadasa Kodituwakku, followed more recently by the initiation of functional neuroimaging studies in adolescent subjects with FAS. Collectively, these developments have led to development of a broad-based New Mexico Alcohol Research Center (NMARC).

The NMARC is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program focused on fetal alcohol-related behavioral deficits. NMARC's prevailing philosophy is that significant progress towards the dual goals of better diagnoses and inventions for the behavioral deficits associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) requires a well-coordinated effort integrating basic research advances that elucidate the mechanistic consequences of fetal ethanol exposure with combined neuropsychological and functional neuroimaging studies in human subjects with FASD.

The NMARC maximizes the coordination and communication across lines of investigation to provide the best long-term prospect for overcoming the ongoing challenges of diagnosing fetal alcohol-induced behavioral deficits and devising more effective interventions to ameliorate these deficits. The NMARC integrates established fetal alcohol research investigators with a history of collaborative research interactions and outstanding investigators from other fields whose expertise and contributions synergizes the Center's research environment and facilitates progress towards achieving NMARC's strategic objectives.