Kim Fromme, Ph.D., is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and is also the Director of the Studies on Alcohol, Health, and Risky Activities (SAHARA) Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. from The University of Washington, and is a Fellow and former President of the Society of Addiction Psychologists (Division 50) of the American Psychological Association.
Her program of research focuses on the etiology and prevention of alcohol abuse and risk-taking behaviors among adolescents and young adults. With support from a $2.3 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Dr. Fromme recently launched the Genes and New Experiences Study (GENES). This project includes the collection of DNA and survey data from 1,060 participants who previously participated in the "UT Experience!" which was a 6-year longitudinal study of first time college students. For this project, Dr. Fromme and the GENES team are examining 5.6 million genetic markers in relation to individual differences in alcohol response, externalizing personality traits, and trajectories of alcohol use over 10 years.
Dr. Fromme also conducts alcohol challenge studies in her bar laboratory, which is one of seven simulated barroom facilities in the U.S. These studies include tests of the effects of alcohol intoxication on decision-making processes and impulsive behavior, as well as individual differences in alcohol response. As part of the GENES project, 181 participants completed an alcohol challenge session in the SAHARA simulated bar laboratory. Their behavioral lab data are currently being analyzed and will also be incorporated into the genetic data to better understand individual differences in responses to alcohol.
Findings from these studies will be used to develop and evaluate new approaches to the prevention of alcohol abuse and involvement in other potentially hazardous behaviors.