UC San Francisco researchers received six awards announced in October by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for high-risk, high-reward scientific research projects. Their work will focus on novel approaches for diagnosing and treating diseases ranging from autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases, to cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders. Glenn-Milo Santos, PhD who is among the first graduates of UCSF's Epidemiology & Translational Science PhD program is an awardee of the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. The Early Independence Award, established in 2011, provides an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists who have recently received a doctoral degree or finished medical residency to skip traditional post-doctoral training and move immediately into independent research positions.
Dr. Santos received $250,000 per year for five years to examine whether naltrexone can prevent binge drinking among men who are at high risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV. The men will take the drug, which blocks the pleasurable feelings of intoxication, when they think they are going to be drinking.
"Binge drinking is one of the drivers of sexual transmission of HIV," said Santos, who is an assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Community Health Systems in the School of Nursing and a research scientist with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, which is administering the grant. "And it's really highly prevalent for men who have sex with men. In San Francisco, three out of four report binge drinking in the past 30 days."
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