Adolf Pfefferbaum

Adolf Pfefferbaum

Adolf Pfefferbaum is Distinguished Scientist and founding Director of the Neuroscience Program of SRI International and Professor Emeritus, Stanford University School of Medicine. He received his M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco, completed Internship in Medicine at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, was Research Associate at the NIH, and did Residency training at Stanford. For nearly 40 years, Dr. Pfefferbaum has combined medical clinical skills with scientific rigor and creativity to develop and apply electrophysiology and neuroimaging approaches for identifying in vivo brain markers of the effects of long-term, alcohol dependence. His longitudinal neuroimaging studies using quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have revealed alcoholism's scope and limits of recovery of brain structure and function. With diffusion tensor imaging to quantify the microstructure of white matter, Dr. Pfefferbaum has shown fiber degradation in alcoholic men that related to memory and attention; in alcoholic women, fiber compromise occurs in normal-appearing white matter. His seminal contribution using functional MRI revealed that alcoholics recruit broader areas of brain than controls to perform at equivalent levels on working memory tasks. In addition to naturalistic studies of human alcoholism, Dr. Pfefferbaum has an active research program using rodent models of alcoholism, employing macrostructural, microstructural, and functional imaging enabling translational research. Dr. Pfefferbaum has been the principal investigator on numerous NIH-funded grants, including a Merit Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). He has also served the NIAAA as a member and chair of the Alcohol Biomedical Research Review Committee and of the Center Reviews and Special Emphasis Panels. Most recently, he was named a member of the NIAAA National Advisory Council. Dr. Pfefferbaum is a member of a number of scientific societies and is a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He is on the editorial board of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Psychiatry Research, and was co-editor of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging for many years. He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed papers and 50 chapters and reviews. His many honors include Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Alpha Omega Alpha. In recognition of his innovative work in electrophysiology, the American Psychiatric Electrophysiology Association presented him with a Career Contribution Award. His scientific contributions to our understanding of alcoholism have been acknowledged through reception of the Keller Award from the NIAAA and the Begleiter Award for Research Excellence from the Research Society on Alcoholism.

Affiliations and Expertise

Neuroscience Program, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, USA