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Researcher Tapped for Early-Career Honor

During a White House ceremony next month, Thomas L. Kash, assistant professor in the department of pharmacology and the UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at UNC’s School of Medicine, will receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

This is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

The award recognizes the promise Kash has demonstrated as a scientist and his research program on the effects of alcohol on neural circuits in the brain. The research is supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The winners, who will be presented with their awards by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony in October, receive research grants of up to five years to further studies that support critical government missions. This year, Obama named 94 researchers as recipients of the award.

The awards, established by President Bill Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

Sixteen federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate candidates for the PECASE award. Candidates are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

“The UNC Center for Alcohol Studies is thrilled that Tom Kash is recognized with this award,” said Fulton T. Crews, Bowles center director and John Andrews Distinguished Professor of pharmacology and psychiatry. “His pioneering discoveries on a small brain nuclei that integrate emotional and decision-making regions of brain provide new insights into the dysfunctional neurocircuitry that underlies addiction, alcohol abuse and other compulsive consuming behavior like obesity.”

Kash joined the UNC faculty in 2009. His wife, Zoe McElligott, is a post-doctoral fellow in UNC’s chemistry department.


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