$5 million in funding awarded to expert multidisciplinary team to develop new treatments for alcohol use disorder

22 Oct 2021

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Turning Point, Monash University, the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and the Florey Institute have been awarded a $5 million NHMRC Synergy Grant over five years to investigate new treatments for alcohol use disorder.


Glass of red wineThe project will bridge clinical and basic science discovery to identify new treatment options for people with alcohol problems and to develop approaches for personalised treatment. 

Turning Point and Monash University researchers are involved in all three components of the research program, from discovery through to clinical trials, with the project drawing on previous clinical trials and health service research led by Turning Point’s Professor Dan Lubman AM, Associate Professor Victoria Manning and Dr Shalini Arunogiri.  

"We're thrilled to be in a position to leverage our respective discoveries in novel pharmacological, cognitive and behavioural treatments to truly revolutionise the therapeutic landscape for people with alcohol problems," said A/Prof Victoria Manning, Head of Research and Workforce Development.

Deputy Clinical Director, Dr Shalini Arunogiri, says the grant will capitalise on Turning Point’s existing alcohol research – from trials of the telephone-based intervention Ready2Change to innovative brain training sessions utilising Cognitive Bias Modification – to offer individuals and families truly innovative treatment options.

“Through this collaborative grant, we will have a unique opportunity to host and train multidisciplinary early career researchers in cutting-edge bench to bedside research,” said Dr Arunogiri.

Alcohol use disorder is a leading cause of injury, chronic disease and mortality in Australia and globally. The chronic consumption of alcohol is implicated in over 200 diseases and conditions, including cancer, liver and cardiovascular disease, mental disorders and suicide. Despite public policy measures to reduce consumption, the burden of disease is increasing in Australia.

“We’re incredibly excited to be part of this extraordinary interdisciplinary team who are at the forefront of alcohol research. This funding recognises the significant impact alcohol has on the community and the importance of bridging clinical and basic science to develop innovative treatment approaches that help reduce the burden of disease in Australia,” said Prof Dan Lubman, Executive Clinical Director.

Professor Paul Haber of the University of Sydney will lead the interdisciplinary team with Professor Andrew Lawrence, head of the addiction neuroscience laboratory at the Florey Institute leading the discovery science component.

“We aim to develop more effective and individually tailored treatments for which, a targeted, inter-disciplinary research program is needed. Our vision is to achieve this by strengthening the links between basic and clinical researchers and bridging the translational gap from basic discovery into proof-of-concept clinical testing,” said Prof Lawrence.

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Synergy Grants support outstanding multidisciplinary teams of investigators to work together to addresses major problems across all areas of human health and medical research.