Three University of Memphis professors, Drs. Tom Sutter, Guy Mittleman, and Doug Matthews, have received a $4.3 million grant from the National Institute of Health as part of the Tennessee Mouse Genome Consortium.
Matthews, who will receive a $1.39 million cut of the pie, will create stress in mice by significantly reducing their food intake. In human terms that s sort of like being laid off just before the bills are due. Alcohol will be readily available to the presumably despondent mice and the mice will be allowed to self-administer. This will allow Matthews to observe which of the downtrodden rodents get hooked on the hooch before passing the boozy baton to Mittle-man. Mittleman, who is receiving $400,000, will be checking to see if certain strains of mice are more prone to excessive potation, while Sutter, who gets the rest of the dough, will actually analyze the biological make-up of the mice, hoping to isolate the specific genes that determine both stress levels and a proclivity for alcohol abuse.
Mittleman has been quoted as saying, This study is different because the drinking is voluntary. It s necessary to put [the mice] in a frustrating environment, then record if they drink at really robust levels. Some animals will drink really high amounts amounts that would be well over the legal limits if extrapolated to humans.