Research Summary

"Imaging-genomics approach to identify a composite cognitive endophenotype in the risk to develop Alcohol Dependence"


Principal Supervisor (Clinical):

Professor Dr. Vivek Benegal,

National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore




     Co- Supervisor (Basic Science):

     Dr. Ravi Muddashetty

     Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine,

     National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore


Several endophenotypic measures in vulnerable population suggest that the susceptibility to alcoholism is likely to be linked to a neurodevelopmental process and to its externally manifest behaviours like inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity and conduct related symptoms, in childhood, continuing into adolescence and young adulthood.

In our preliminary fMRI study, involving a small group of high-risk alcohol naïve subjects, we found that a cingulo-fronto-parietal brain network underlying error detection and resolution was defective. In this research project, we will further characterize this endophenotype in 30 subjects at High Risk and compare it with 30 subjects at Low Risk by multimodal imaging (fMRI & DTI) and followed by preliminary genetic analysis to study if these deficits are due to variations in few key dopaminergic and glutamatergic candidate genes that are thought to be involved in cognitive control and learning or the epigenetic changes in these systems following early life environmental stress.

Figure Legend: Investigating critical links between genetic, epigenetic, imaging findings in pathways to externalizing disorders and addiction