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4:00 PM ceremony – Commencement Speaker

Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

National Institutes of Health


Nora D. Volkow, M.D., became Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health in May 2003.  Her work has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain.  She pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects and addictive properties of abusable drugs and has also made important contributions to the neurobiology of obesity, ADHD, and aging.

Dr. Volkow was born in Mexico, earned her medical degree from the National University of Mexico, and carried out her psychiatric residency at New York University. Prior to her tenure at NIDA she held leadership positions at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory including Director of Nuclear Medicine, Chairman of the Medical Department, and Associate Director for Life Sciences.  She was also a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Associate Dean of the Medical School at the State University of New York (SUNY)-Stony Brook.

Dr. Volkow has published more than 600 scientific articles and edited three books on neuroimaging for mental and addictive disorders.  Among her many awards have been selection for membership in the Institute of Medicine, and the International Prize from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research.  She was also named one of Time Magazine’s “Top 100 People Who Shape our World”, included as “One of the 20 People to Watch” by Newsweek magazine, and named “Innovator of the year” by U.S. News & World Report in 2000.