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NIDA. (2015, March 2). Dr. Susan Weiss appointed division director at NIDA. Retrieved from

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NIDA scientist to lead new Division of Extramural Research

March 02, 2015

Dr. Susan WeissDr. Susan Weiss

Susan R.B. Weiss, Ph.D., has been selected to lead the Division of Extramural Research (DER), a newly formed Division at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. In addition to overseeing NIDA’s extramural research grant program, the new division will carry out NIDA’s research training and early career development program, and lead NIDA’s involvement in vital trans-NIH initiatives that include Collaborative Research on Addiction at NIH, the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, and Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. As DER Director, Dr. Weiss will establish scientific priorities and strategic goals for the Institute’s extramural research programs; manage the concept and peer review of all NIDA grant applications in coordination with NIH’s Center for Scientific Review; and coordinate and lead activities of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse.

“Dr. Weiss has shown exceptional talent in every position she has held here at NIDA and is the perfect choice for this immensely complex leadership position,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “She has a strong knowledge of addiction science and understands the challenges related to the grants process. She is also enormously skilled in the intricacies of science policy related to drug abuse issues.”

Dr. Weiss first came to NIDA in 2002 as a health scientist administrator working in the Science Policy Branch, where she became branch chief the following year. In 2011, she was asked to serve as acting director of the Office of Science Policy and Communications, overseeing all of NIDA’s interactions with its many stakeholders — students, researchers, community groups, the media, Congress, other NIH Institutes and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In 2012, she was asked to join NIDA’s executive leadership team as Associate Director for Scientific Affairs providing guidance and oversight on scientific matters relating to program development, management, research training, and science planning.  

Dr. Weiss received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and earlier in her career was chief of the Unit on Behavioral Biology at the National Institute of Mental Health, later serving as Senior Director for Research for the National Mental Health Association. She is one of NIDA’s foremost experts on the complex science of addiction; marijuana science and policy; and the many factors contributing to the nation’s prescription drug abuse problem.

“Throughout my professional career, I have worked across the spectrum of basic, clinical, and translational research where science, communications, and science policy meet,” said Dr. Weiss. “I am excited about my new role that will focus on the science we support through extramural grants and on strengthening the already robust collaborations between NIDA’s scientific interests and those of other NIH Institutes and Centers.” 

NIDA administers more that $775 million in grant funding for about 2,000 grants through funding opportunity announcements and research training programs.