October 25, 2000

Brookhaven Lab Scientist Elected to the Institute of Medicine

UPTON, NY - Nora Volkow, Associate Laboratory Director for Life Sciences at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Volkow is one of 70 members elected to the institute this year and the first member from Brookhaven Lab to be elected in the institute's 30-year history.

Members are elected by the current membership on the basis of professional achievement and of demonstrated interest, concern and involvement with problems and critical issues that affect public health. Currently, the Institute of Medicine has about 1,380 members. The new members will be formally welcomed to the Institute at next year's annual meeting.

"I'm honored to be elected to the Institute of Medicine, and I plan to actively participate in its activities," Volkow said. "I am committed to the institute's goals of advancing health sciences and education and improving health care."

A board-certified psychiatrist and a world-leader in research on addiction, Volkow uses a medical imaging technique known as positron
emission tomography, or PET, to view how addictive drugs affect the brain. She is credited with being one of the first researchers to report that cocaine is toxic to the human brain. She has also used PET in pioneering studies of the biochemical changes in the brain
associated with alcoholism and aging. Her studies are focused on finding an effective pharmacological treatment of addiction and could
aid in finding avenues for delaying and counteracting the deleterious effects of aging.

After receiving her MD in 1980 from the National University of Mexico, Volkow did her residency at New York University's Department of Psychiatry, from 1981-84, and, during this time, she used the Brookhaven PET facility for research on schizophrenia. At the University of Texas Medical School from 1984-87, Volkow performed groundbreaking research on the toxic effects of cocaine on the brain. In 1987, she joined Brookhaven's staff as an associate scientist to continue this research. She became associate chief of staff of Brookhaven's Clinical Research Center in 1990, was appointed director of Brookhaven's Nuclear Medicine Program in 1994, became chair of the Laboratory's Medical Department in 1996, and was appointed Associate Laboratory Director for Life Sciences in 1999. She has been on the staff of the Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York at Stony Brook since 1987.

Volkow received Brookhaven Lab's 1995 Distinguished Research and Development Award and the 1998 Brookhaven Town Award to honor women in medicine. In 1999, she received the Kuhl-Lassen Award given by the Society of Nuclear Medicine for her pioneering work on the brain and the Esker Award by the American College of Psychopharmacology for her numerous contributions to drug abuse research. In that same year, she was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Psychopharmacology.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory creates and operates major facilities available to university, industrial and government personnel for basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences and in selected energy technologies. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a not-for-profit research management company, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.

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NOTE TO LOCAL EDITORS: Nora Volkow lives in Shoreham, NY