Volume 11, Number 4
Colorado Professor Becomes Director of NIDA's Division of Intramural Research
Dr. Barry J. Hoffer, a neuropharmacologist, has been named scientific director of NIDA's Division of Intramural Research (DIR). Dr. Hoffer succeeds Dr. George R. Uhl, who had been acting scientific director of the DIR since 1994 while also heading the Division's Molecular Neurobiology Branch. Dr. Uhl continues as chief of that Branch.
Dr. Barry J. Hoffer
"Dr. Hoffer's research has furthered scientific knowledge of how the brain functions and responds to different drugs and has produced significant advances in the treatment of a number of brain diseases," notes NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner. "NIDA is fortunate to gain a scientist of his caliber to guide our Division of Intramural Research in the development of innovative approaches that will advance our understanding of the complex brain disease of drug addiction," Dr. Leshner says.
As head of the DIR, Dr. Hoffer directs NIDA's Intramural Research Program, which operates the Addiction Research Center in Baltimore.
It is the largest facility in the United States devoted to studying drug abuse and addiction. The Division has an annual budget of more than $25 million and consists of six research branches - molecular neurobiology, preclinical pharmacology, neuroscience, clinical pharmacology, treatment research, and etiology - and medical affairs and administrative services branches.
"This position presents an outstanding opportunity to make major contributions to a better understanding of the mechanisms of drug abuse and more rational ways to treat the problem," says Dr. Hoffer. "We are going to expand and augment the kind of cooperative, multidisciplinary research currently being conducted at the DIR that leads to major advances," he says.
Dr. Hoffer comes to NIDA from the University of Colorado Medical School where he had been a professor in the Department of Pharmacology since 1976 and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry since 1989. While at the University of Colorado, Dr. Hoffer directed the Medical School's Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program.
"This position presents an outstanding opportunity
to make major contributions to a better understanding
of the mechanisms of drug abuse and more rational
ways to treat the problem."
Dr. Hoffer's research has focused on neurotransmitters, developmental neurophysiology, and the physiology of the central autonomic nervous system. Much of his research has applications for brain diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease and for developmental disorders. For example, he was a member of the research team that first demonstrated in an animal model of Parkinson's disease that neural transplants of fetal tissue can greatly reduce parkinsonian symptoms. Dr. Hoffer's drug abuse and addiction research has focused primarily on the effects of psychomotor stimulants such as amphetamines and phencyclidine (PCP) on brain circuits. He also has studied the actions of opiates and enkephalins, which are naturally occurring neurotransmitters that produce opiate-like effects.
Dr. Hoffer received a Ph.D. in physiology and an M.D. from the University of Rochester in New York. He has served on advisory panels of Federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute on Aging.
Dr. Hoffer has published more than 300 scientific articles on his research and has received numerous scientific awards, including the A.E. Bennett Award for Basic Research from the Society of Biological Psychiatry.
From NIDA NOTES, September/October, 1996
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