Research Focus

First exposure to alcohol occurs in utero due to maternal drinking, or more commonly, during the key developmental transitions of adolescence and emerging adulthood. DEARC projects focus on these two developmental periods when the developing brain is especially vulnerable.

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The Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center (DEARC) is a highly collaborative Alcohol Research Center funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) since 2009. The center is supported through the P50 mechanism and utilizes an infrastructure of two cores, the Administrative Core and the BRAIN Core, to support 4 Main Research Components and a competitive Pilot Project Core.


The overarching goal of DEARC research projects is to understand the functional and neural effects of alcohol exposure throughout brain development. Using preclinical (rodent) models, DEARC projects seek to better understand the molecular, genetic, and behavioral mechanisms by which early alcohol exposure promotes vulnerability to Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs) later in life.

Training Opportunities

DEARC faculty are highly committed to training the next generation of scientists. Training opportunities include Graduate and Post-Doctoral Fellowships through an institutional training grant (T32) supported by NIAAA, and a Diversity Fellowship program for Undergraduates.