Robert Zucker to Receive Highest Award for Research on Alcohol Use, Abuse

Jun 15, 2010, 07:00 ET from University of Michigan Health System

Research Society on Alcoholism nominated Robert Zucker to receive Distinguished Researcher Award, the society's most prestigious honor, Wednesday, June 30

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Robert Zucker, Ph.D., director of the University of Michigan Addiction Research Center, and the Substance Abuse Section in the Department of Psychiatry, has been named recipient of the 31st annual Research Society on Alcoholism Distinguished Researcher Award. The award is given to an individual whose research has made significant contributions to the understanding of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and whose body of work demonstrates leadership in the field.



"Dr. Zucker has created and sustained a vibrant body of investigative work focused on substance abuse, surely one of the most important and ubiquitous challenges that faces our global society," says Gregory Dalack, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and chair of the Department of Psychiatry.  "He is a generative scientist with a truly translational focus, and has mentored a substantial portion of the next generation of investigators in this field, both in the US and in Eastern Europe. The RSA Distinguished Researcher Award is wonderful recognition of his work."

As the most esteemed research award given by the Society, it is traditional for the awardee to present one of the plenary session lectures at the RSA national meeting; this will occur from 8 – 9 a.m. Monday, June 28, in San Antonio, Texas.  Zucker will receive the award during the closing ceremony and dinner Wednesday, June 30.

Zucker, who is also a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, primarily focuses his research on a high-risk-for-substance use disorder longitudinal study, now 26 years in operation. It's currently the world's longest running and earliest beginning study specifically focused on the development of substance abuse.

The project involves more than 2,200 participants in more than 460 families, and has been following all family members since the children were in preschool. The study seeks to:

  • longitudinally distinguish behavioral course and risk for substance abuse into young adulthood,
  • investigate the social environmental factors that mediate or moderate risk development, and
  • examine the developmental course of alcoholism in adulthood.

Zucker's recent work also includes developmental studies of gene-behavior-environment relationships and the characterization of the intermediate neural circuitry that mediates the emergence and maintenance of risk.  

A U-M faculty member since 1994, Zucker's research activities center on the multi-level causes and course of alcohol and other drug use disorders.

In addition to his research, Zucker has long been involved in research training and policy development pertaining to the prevention of substance use disorders. For 15 years he was the director of a multidisciplinary National Institutes of Health postdoctoral training program for physicians and behavioral scientists at the University of Michigan.  

Zucker also started and still directs an NIH/Fogarty International Center/National Institute on Drug Abuse training program to develop substance abuse research capability in Central and Eastern Europe (currently the program is in Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, and the Ukraine).  As part of this work, Zucker was instrumental in establishing the Polish Society on Addiction Research and is a founding member of that society.  

Zucker's research has been funded by several NIH institutes, most often the NIDA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He is an editorial board member for six substance abuse and developmental science journals, is a past president of the American Psychological Association Division on Addictions, and has been a member of a number of NIH standing review committees and special panels.  

Zucker also serves as consultant to the director of the Polish State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems, the Polish equivalent of NIAAA and SAMHSA.  In 2007, he was elected to the Polish Society of Psychiatrists Hall of Fame. His current and past grant awards have totaled over $50 million. Zucker has published almost 200 articles and book chapters, as well as 10 books.


U-M Department of Psychiatry

Substance Abuse Section

SOURCE University of Michigan Health System