The Biology of Addiction

Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 2:00 pm EDT
Meet the Scientist - March 2019

Drugs of abuse target discrete collections of nerve cells—called circuits—in the brain that normally regulate responses to natural rewards in the environment, like food, sex, and social interactions. The areas of brain involved in these circuits are referred to as brain reward regions. Drugs corrupt these brain regions and circuits by activating them with abnormal power and persistence, actions that trigger adaptations at the molecular and cellular levels that are aimed to compensate for the drug-induced effects. These adaptations enable a drug to gradually and progressively take control over a vulnerable individual's life. During this Webinar, Dr. Nestler will describe these molecular, cellular, and circuit actions of drugs of abuse and how knowledge gained from this work can be used to develop more effective treatments of addiction.

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Presented by 
Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior expert on anxiety and addiction research
Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience

Chair, Department of Neuroscience

Director, Friedman Brain Institute

Scientific Council Member (Joined 1997)

2009 Falcone Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Affective Disorders Research (Colvin Prize)

2008 Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience Research

1996 Distinguished Investigator Grant

Dr. Nestler studies the molecular basis of addiction and depression in animal models, focusing on the brain pathways that regulate responses to natural rewards such as food, sex and social interaction. His research has established that drug- and stress-induced changes in genetic transcription factors and chromatin remodeling mechanisms in reward pathways mediate long-lived behavioral changes relevant to addiction and depression.

Before moving to Mount Sinai, Dr. Nestler was Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the Director of the Abraham Ribicoff Research Facilities and the Division of Molecular Psychiatry at Yale.

Moderated by 
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

President and CEO

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy Award-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host of the series. The program, which is broadcast nationwide, focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Borenstein is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and serves as the Chair of the Section of Psychiatry at the Academy. He has served as the President of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems. Among the many honors to his credit are the National Alliance on Mental Illness of NY State Connie Lieber Award, the American Psychiatric Association Special Presidential Commendation, and the Federation of Organizations Community Mental Health Man of the Year Award.