Rita Valentino, Ph.D.

Rita Valentino, Ph.D.
Rita Valentino, Ph.D.

Director of the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Scientific Council Member (Joined 2011)

2002 Distinguished Investigator Grant

Dr. Valentino’s research has shown that corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), the orchestrator of the stress response, regulates the activity of the brain monoamine systems. As these systems have been implicated in affective disorders, her studies provide a window into how stress increases vulnerability to these diseases. Her laboratory also studies the neurobiological basis for sex differences and developmental differences in stress reactivity and stress-related disorders. In addition, a branch of her research is focused on central control of pelvic visceral function. To this end, her group identified a neural circuit through which pelvic visceral activity and cortical activity are coordinated and that may also account for the comorbidity of psychiatric and pelvic visceral symptoms.

Dr. Valentino received her B.S. with Highest Distinction from the University of Rhode Island and her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Michigan. She completed two post-doctoral fellowships in neurobiology at the University of North Carolina and The Salk Institute.

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