Upton, NY -- Nora Volkow, a board-certified psychiatrist who has made major contributions to the scientific community's understanding of addiction, has been appointed chair of the Medical Department at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. She succeeds Darrel Joel, who has completed his five-year term as chairman and will return to full-time research at the Laboratory.
In her new position, Dr. Volkow will oversee a broad range of research that includes the development of new diagnostic techniques in nuclear medicine, medical physics and radiation therapy. Brookhaven's Medical Department currently has about 80 employees.
Dr. Volkow said, "I am assuming the chair of the Medical Department in an exciting time -- just as the 21st century is about to begin -- and I welcome the opportunity to build on the strong programs we currently are working on, as well as encourage researchers in these programs to interact with each other. Also, I hope to develop new collaborations and to attract young researchers with fresh ideas to the department."
According to Dr. Volkow, the most important programs and facilities in the Medical Department include boron neutron capture therapy, an experimental technique to treat a type of potentially lethal brain tumor; the Brookhaven Linac Isotope Center, which produces several unique radioactive forms of chemical elements used in medicine, research and industry; and the development and application of neuroimaging techniques to study human brain function.
After receiving her M.D. in 1980 from the National University of Mexico, Dr. Volkow did her residency at New York University's Department of Psychiatry, from 1981-84. During this period, she collaborated with Brookhaven, using its positron emission tomography (PET) facility to study brain organization in schizophrenia and to develop a PET radiotracer to measure cell growth in brain tumors.
At the University of Texas Medical School from 1984-87, Dr. Volkow led a research program using PET to investigate the toxic effects of cocaine. In 1987, Volkow joined Brookhaven's Medical Department to continue this research. She became associate chief of staff of Brookhaven's Clinical Research Center in 1990, and was appointed director of the Nuclear Medicine Program in 1994. Since 1987, she also has been an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Dr. Volkow's pioneering studies at Brookhaven include investigations of the biochemical changes in the brain associated with drug addiction, alcoholism, smoking and aging. Her studies may lead to effective pharmacological treatment of addiction and may aid in finding avenues for delaying or counteracting the deleterious effects of aging.
Last year, Dr. Volkow was honored with Brookhaven Lab's Distinguished Research and Development Award for her outstanding research. She has more than 140 published scientific papers to her credit, and she is a member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the American Psychiatric Association.
Brookhaven National Laboratory carries out basic and applied research
in physical, biomedical and environmental sciences and in selected
energy technologies. Associated Universities, Inc., a nonprofit
research management organization, operates the Laboratory under
contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.