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Dr. Nora D. Volkow Named New Director of NIDA

For Release January 23, 2003

Bethesda, Maryland - National Institutes of Health Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., today announced the appointment of Nora D. Volkow, M.D., as the new director of the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Dr. Volkow is currently Associate Director for Life Sciences at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Director of Nuclear Medicine at BNL, and Director of the NIDA-DOE Regional Neuroimaging Center at BNL. She is also Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, SUNY-Stony Brook, and Associate Dean for the Medical School at SUNY-Stony Brook.

Dr. Volkow is expected to assume her new duties on April 15, 2003.

"I'm happy that Dr. Volkow accepted this important position to help expand scientific research and share NIDA results with health practitioners and the public," said Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

"Dr. Volkow's experience as a NIDA-funded researcher puts her in a unique position to lead the Institute into the future," added Dr. Zerhouni. "She will bring the full power of science to confront the critical issues of drug abuse and addiction."

Dr. Volkow replaces Glen R. Hanson, D.D.S., Ph.D., who has served as Acting Director of NIDA since December 2001.

"I am very excited with this new position, which will give me the opportunity to help fight one of the most serious problems facing our society - that of drug addiction," said Dr. Volkow.

Dr. Volkow is known for her work on the brain's dopamine system. Her research focuses on the investigation of the mechanisms underlying the reinforcing, addictive and toxic properties of drugs of abuse in the human brain. As a scientist, she has been supported by grants from NIDA, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Department of Energy.

Dr. Volkow's work includes more than 275 peer-reviewed publications, three edited books and more than 50 book chapters and non-peer reviewed manuscripts. A recipient of multiple awards, she was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences and was named "Innovator of the Year" in 2000 by U.S. News and World Report.

Dr. Volkow received her B.A. from Modern American School, Mexico City, Mexico, her M.D. from the National University of Mexico, Mexico City, and Postdoctoral training in Psychiatry at New York University.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and further information on NIDA research can be found on the NIDA web site at

For more information about any item in this Release:

  • NIDA Contact:
    Blair Gately
    Michelle Person

    Contacto en Español:
    Sara Rosario
  • NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison

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