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Spirit Lecture March 20

By NIEHS
March 2006

Nora Volkow
(Photo courtesy of Nora Volkow)

Addiction: The Neurobiology of Free Will Gone Awry

Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will deliver the 2006 Spirit Lecture on March 20 in the Rodbell Auditorium. This year, the title is "Addiction: The Neurobiology of Free Will Gone Awry."

Volkow became NIDA director in 2003. She was the first woman to head that institute in its history. She came to NIDA from Brookhaven National Laboratory, where she held concurrent positions of associate director for life sciences, director of nuclear medicine and director of the NIDA-Department of Energy Regional Neuroimaging Center. She also was a professor in the department of psychiatry and associate dean of the medical school at State University of New York - Stony Brook.

The NIEHS Spirit Lecture was inaugurated in 2002 by the Diversity Council in honor of Women's History Month and as a means of honoring the accomplishments of women. Speakers are selected who exemplify the successful navigation of responsibilities for families, jobs, mentoring and outreach in the community.

Volkow brought to NIDA a long record of accomplishment in drug addiction research. She is a recognized expert on the brain's dopamine system with her research focusing on the brains of addicted, obese, and aging individuals. Her studies have documented changes in the dopamine system affecting the actions of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, drive, and pleasure and the decline of brain dopamine function with age.



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