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NIAAA director Koob set for Nov. 5 virtual Discovery Lecture

Oct. 22, 2020, 8:29 AM


by Leigh MacMillan

The Discovery Lecture Series launches this fall with a webinar format, the first featuring George Koob, PhD, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

George Koob, PhD

Koob’s lecture, “Alcohol and Drug Addiction: The Gain in the Brain is in the Pain,” is on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 4 p.m. via Zoom. All participants need to register in advance to receive the webinar instructions.

Koob is an internationally recognized expert on the neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction. At NIAAA, he oversees a wide range of alcohol-related research and leads the national effort to reduce the public health burden associated with alcohol misuse.

Koob will discuss research that probes the neural circuitry of negative reinforcement — one of the sources of motivational dysregulation that drives addiction. His team’s studies suggest that overlapping engagement of brain circuits that mediate a “negative emotional state” and those that mediate response to pain is key for understanding the persistence and misery of addiction.

Before becoming the director of NIAAA in 2014, Koob spent more than three decades at The Scripps Research Institute, where he was most recently the director of the Alcohol Research Center and chair of the Scripps’ Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders. He received his PhD in Behavioral Physiology from Johns Hopkins University and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge.

Koob is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a recipient of numerous awards including the E.M. Jellinek Memorial Award and Knight of the Legion of Honor for developing scientific collaborations between France and the United States.

Koob’s lecture is sponsored by the Department of Anesthesiology and the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research. For a complete schedule of Discovery Lectures, archived video of previous lectures, and the webinar registration link, go to

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