Medical Advisory Council

The Medical Advisory Council is made up of some of the world's foremost biomedical experts in neurology, genetics, biochemistry, and cardiology. They evaluate applications requesting financial support for scientific investigation in the biological, physiological, and clinical sciences.

Research projects typically seek to understand the mechanisms underlying the addiction process, such as inheritance of a genetic vulnerability to become alcoholic, neurological process associated with the development of tolerance to and withdrawal from alcohol, and the mechanisms underlying the effects of moderate alcohol consumption.


Laura E. Nagy, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Medicine
Case Western Reserve University
Staff, Department of Gastroenterology and Pathobiology
Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Lerner Research Institute


Dr. Nagy's research is aimed at understanding how alcohol consumption contributes to chronic diseases, including liver disease and diabetes. Dr. Nagy was named Young Investigator of the Year by the Research Society on Alcoholism in 1993.


R. Adron Harris, Ph.D.
M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Professor

Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research
The University of Texas at Austin


Dr. Harris' research focuses on the structure and function of ion channels with emphasis on molecular mechanisms responsible for alcohol and drug actions. He served as president of the RSA from 1993-1995 and was a recent president of the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism. 


Andrew C. Heath, Ph.D.
Spencer T. Olin Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychiatry
Associate Professor of Genetics
Washington University


Dr. Heath's research focuses on genetic studies of alcoholism, smoking and drug dependence, depression, suicidality and anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and methodological research in genetic epidemiology. He serves as director of Washington University's NIAAA center to study genetic and environmental factors that affect the risk of alcoholism in adolescents and young adults.


Michael F. Miles, M.D., Ph.D.
Departments of Neurology/Pharmacology and Toxicology
Virginia Commonwealth University


Dr. Miles' research interests include the use of functional genomics to understand the molecular mechanisms of experience-dependent plasticity occuring with drug abuse. He was awarded the NIAAA's Research Scientist Development Award, Level II in 1989. 


Gyongyi Szabo, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Dean 
Clinical and Translational Sciences
School of Medicine, Gastroenterology
University of Massachusetts Medical School


Dr. Szabo's research focus is on immunomodulation induced by acute alcohol consumption, immune mechanisms leading to liver injury in HCV plus alcohol, along with therapeutic studies in chronic hepatitis C, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). She serves on the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and she is on the editorial board of many journals including Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and Alcohol Research and Health.


C. Fernando Valenzuela, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Neurosciences
Director, M.D./Ph.D. Program
University of Mexico School of Medicine


Dr. Valenzuela's research focuses on the mechanism of action of neurosteriods and the role of these agents in fetal alcohol syndrome, the effects of ethanol on oscillatory activity in the immature brain, and the effects of alcohol in the function of neuronal circuits in the mature brain.


John J. Woodward, Ph.D.
Department of Neurosciences and Psychiatry
Medical University of South Carolina


Dr. Woodward's research focuses on defining the neural sites of action of alcohol and abused inhalants such as toluene and TCE. He currently serves as chair of the NIH Study Section on neurotoxicology and alcohol.