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Vol. LXVII, No. 6
March 13, 2015

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Wand To Deliver NIAAA’s Mendelson Lecture, Mar. 19

Dr. Gary Wand

Dr. Gary Wand will deliver the 2015 Jack Mendelson Honorary Lecture on Thursday, Mar. 19 at 1:30 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. The title of his talk is “Cortisol Dysregulation and Alcoholism: Consequence, Correlation or Causality?” Wand is an internationally recognized neuroendocrinologist and the inaugural Rivière professor in endocrinology and metabolism at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Wand’s work has advanced understanding of the genetic and environmental determinants of the stress response and has elucidated how excessive stress hormone production may contribute to neurobiological conditions such as alcohol or drug disorders.

Bridging the fields of neuroendocrinology and substance abuse, Wand’s research is based on the hypothesis that certain stress hormones may contribute to alcohol- and other drug-seeking behaviors by altering the brain’s reward and reinforcement pathways. Some of his seminal discoveries include identifying unique pharmacological responses to naloxone in individuals at increased risk for alcohol use disorders, identifying specific hormonal responses in subjects with alcohol use disorders and characterizing human brain neurochemical changes using imaging in subjects with substance use disorders.

Currently, Wand is studying the epigenetic modulation of stress and cortisol exposure in rodent and human models, based on the hypothesis that specific epigenetic events affect how much cortisol an individual produces, which in turn influences dopamine transmission.

Wand received his medical degree and subsequent training in internal medicine from George Washington University. Following postdoctoral training in endocrinology and metabolism at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he was a fellow in the peptide laboratories of Dr. Richard Mains and Dr. Betty Eipper in JHU’s department of neuroscience. Wand then joined the JHU School of Medicine faculty, where he remains to this day.

In 2000, NIAAA and NIH honored Wand with a 10-year MERIT Award to continue his research on the role of the HPA axis in alcoholism. He has also received numerous local and national “Best Doctor” awards. Wand is the author of more than 175 articles and chapters and is on the editorial board of several journals.

NIAAA established the lecture series as a tribute to Dr. Jack Mendelson, who made remarkable contributions to the field of clinical alcohol research. Each spring, the series features a lecture by an outstanding alcohol investigator whose clinical research makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of alcohol susceptibility, alcohol’s effects on the brain and other organs and the prevention and treatment of alcohol use disorders.

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