Understanding The Brain Mechanisms Involved in Alcohol Use and Misuse

Vladimir Vladimirov, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in psychiatric genetics were sparked by the clinical and behavioral complexity of psychiatric disorders and by the overwhelming number of people suffering from them. Some of Dr. Vladimirov’s closest friends suffer from major depression, alcohol use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Seeing them struggling on an everyday basis has motivated him to study these disorders on both clinical as well as genetic and molecular levels.

Dr. Vladimirov’s current research interests involve investigating the genome-wide expression patterns of genes and miRNA in the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex from subjects with alcohol dependence (AD) and healthy controls. The goals of his current project are two-fold: i) identify AD-relevant gene and miRNA networks and ii) detect genetic polymorphisms found to be associated with AD from genome-wide association studies that affect the expression of certain key (hub) genes within the AD-relevant gene and miRNA networks. As Dr. Vladimirov explained, “the novelty of this comes from our approach of integrating genetic and molecular studies to provide a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of AD. To our knowledge, we are the first group in the human alcohol research field to propose such integration.” Dr. Vladimirov hopes that the results from his current study will help us understand the brain mechanisms involved in alcohol use and misuse, ultimately leading to the development of better diagnostic definitions as well as identification of novel pharmacological targets. “By understanding the mechanisms of how individuals become addicted,” Dr. Vladimirov explained, “we hope to prevent young adolescents from developing addiction to alcohol and to develop better treatment options for those already addicted.

“You’ll have a whole eternity to think inside the box.”


When Dr. Vladimirov is not working, he enjoys reading (a lot), hiking, and running. Also, last but not least he’s also an avid video gamer.


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