The Scripps Research Institute Alcohol Research Center

The Scripps Research Institute ARC


Our Mission

For over 35 Years The Scripps Research Institute Alcohol Research Center (TSRI-ARC) has been devoted to the study of the effects of alcohol on the brain and how these effects lead to alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Alcoholism can be defined as a behavioral disorder characterized by an obsession with obtaining and using alcohol and disregarding other important activities that do not involve alcohol use. Other serious problems that can occur in alcoholism are an inability to control alcohol use, medical and psychological problems caused by alcohol use, craving alcohol, and difficulty staying sober once a person has stopped drinking.

Barbara Mason, PhD.

Administrative Core


The Mason laboratory is focused on the clinical evaluation of potential medications for alcohol use disorder and related conditions such as nicotine and cannabis use disorders. Within the ARC, I oversee and coordinate group meetings and seminars and ensure the efficiency of center-related research.

Marisa Roberto, PhD.

Administrative Core Scientific Director

Cellular Neurobiology Component

The Roberto laboratory studies the effects of alcohol on neuronal function and synaptic transmission using electrophysiological, pharmacological, and molecular methods. Within the ARC, we focus on extended amygdala CRF, opioid and eCB roles in binge drinking and dependence.

Cindy Ehlers

Clinical Neurobehavioral Component

The Ehlers laboratory studies genetic variation between ethnic groups in alcohol metabolizing enzyme structure. Within the ARC, we are studying the relationship between risk and protective factors for binge drinking and alcohol use disorders in Mexican American young adults.

Eric Zorrilla

Neuroendrocrinology Component

The Zorrilla laboratory investigates genetic, epigenetic and neuroadaptive differences in circuitry involved in appetitive and stress-related behaviors. Within the ARC, we are studying alterations in glutamatergic and CRF signaling in the amygdala during ethanol withdrawal.

Remi Martin-Fardon

Neurochemistry Component

The Martin-Fardon laboratory studies the role of the orexin (Orx/Hcrt) system in alcohol seeking.  Within the ARC, a primary focus is on Orx/Hcrt in the PVT as a novel neural substrate for the compulsive nature of alcohol seeking as opposed to behavior motivated by natural rewards.

Chitra Mandyam, PhD.

Cellular Physiology Component

The Mandyam laboratory studies the neurogenic mechanisms altered by complex behaviors, including alcohol addiction and dependence. Within the ARC, we are examining aberrant neurogenesis during withdrawal, its role in relapse, and its inhibition it as a potential therapeutic strategy.

Candice Contet, PhD.

Viral Vector Core

The Contet laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms mediating the behavioral effects of alcohol, with a focus on neuroadaptations driving excessive alcohol drinking. Within the ARC, we provide validated viral vectors to manipulate gene expression in the rodent brain.

Olivier George, PhD.

Animal Models Core

The George laboratory studies the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the transition to alcohol and drug addiction and novel treatments to reduce compulsive use. Within the ARC, we provide animal models, biochemical measures, and a database for ARC and Center-at-Large investigators.

David Gilder

Education Core

Dr. Gilder is a psychiatrist with interests in psychopharmacology of depression, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, addiction and dementia. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Gilder has a special interest in the study of risk and protective factors in addiction disorders.