National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., has announced the selection of George F. Koob, Ph.D., as Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
"With his distinguished reputation and vision, I am confident that George will encourage innovative ideas in the basic neurobiology of addiction, and will be dedicated to bridging the gap between our understanding of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and addiction and developing new, targeted treatments," said Collins.
As NIAAA director, Dr. Koob will oversee the institute's $458 million budget, which primarily funds alcohol-related research in a wide range of scientific areas including genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, prevention, and treatment.
The institute also coordinates and collaborates with other research institutes and federal programs on alcohol-related issues and national, state, and local institutions, organizations, agencies, and programs engaged in alcohol-related work.
Dr. Koob comes to the NIH from The Scripps Research Institute, California Campus, where he is Chairman, Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, and Director, Alcohol Research Center. He earned his Ph.D. in Behavioral Physiology at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Koob's early research interests were directed at the neurobiology of emotion, with a focus on the theoretical constructs of reward and stress. His contributions have led to the understanding of the anatomical connections of emotional systems and the neurochemistry of emotional function.
Dr. Koob also is one of the world's authorities on alcohol and drug addiction. He has contributed to the understanding of the neurocircuitry associated with the acute reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse and more recently on the neuroadaptations of these reward circuits associated with the transition to dependence.
Collins added, "I also would like to recognize and thank NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., for his exemplary and dedicated service. Ken ably led the NIAAA for five years, and those years have been full of uncertainty and change."