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Vol. LXV, No. 24
November 22, 2013
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Koob Selected as NIAAA Director

On the front page...

Dr. George Koob will join NIAAA in January.

Dr. George Koob will join NIAAA in January.

Dr. George F. Koob, an eminent addiction neuroscientist at the Scripps Research Institute, will be the next director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. NIH director Dr. Francis Collins announced Koob’s selection on Oct. 31. Koob is expected to join NIH in January.

Koob is currently chairman, committee on the neurobiology of addictive disorders, and director, Alcohol Research Center, at Scripps’ campus in La Jolla, Calif. He earned his Ph.D. in behavioral physiology at Johns Hopkins University.

Continued...

“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.

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. 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.

NIAAA acting director Dr. Kenneth Warren was praised for his “exemplary and dedicated service” by NIH director Dr. Francis Collins. “Ken ably led the NIAAA for 5 years, and those years have been full of uncertainty and change,” Collins said.

NIAAA acting director Dr. Kenneth Warren was praised for his “exemplary and dedicated service” by NIH director Dr. Francis Collins. “Ken ably led the NIAAA for 5 years, and those years have been full of uncertainty and change,” Collins said.

As NIAAA director, Koob will oversee a $458 million budget, which primarily funds alcohol-related research in a wide range of scientific areas including genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, organ damage, 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.

“I look forward to applying evidence-based science to the challenges unique to alcohol including understanding, preventing and treating binge drinking, alcoholism, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcoholic liver disease and the contribution of alcoholism to myriad other medical/psychiatric disorders,” said Koob. “I also look forward to promoting the science of addiction and applying it to our understanding of alcohol use disorders and co-abuse of other drugs such as tobacco.”

“We look forward to having Dr. Koob, a renowned leader in alcohol and addiction science, take the helm at NIAAA,” adds Dr. Kenneth Warren, who has served as NIAAA’s acting director since 2008.

In his announcement, Collins noted Warren’s “exemplary and dedicated service” as NIAAA acting director. “Ken ably led the NIAAA for 5 years, and those years have been full of uncertainty and change,” Collins said.


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