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Nathan Burnham, a graduate student in Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience, is the recipient of the 2017 King Research Excellence Award.

This award honors the late Dr. Richard King, a Professor of Psychology at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, for his many contributions to our department over the years. This award recognizes research excellence.

Nathan plans to use the research award to enhance his novel research program investigating the role of brainstem norepinephrine (NE) circuits that modulate binge alcohol drinking in mouse models. His work has discovered that NE circuits between the brainstem and a forebrain region called the lateral hypothalamus reduce binge drinking when activated, suggesting that this circuit serves as a protective “braking” mechanism against excessive drinking. Nathan has also found evidence that this circuit is weakened followed repeated binge drinking, a mechanism that may contribute to escalating and uncontrolled drinking associated with alcohol use disorders.

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