George F. Koob

George F. Koob

George F. Koob, Ph.D., received his Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. in Behavioral Physiology from The Johns Hopkins University. He was recently appointed (in 2014) as Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (currently on a leave of absence as Professor at The Scripps Research Institute, Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego, and Adjunct Professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California San Diego). As an authority on drug addiction and stress, he has contributed to our understanding of the neurocircuitry associated with the acute reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse and the neuroadaptations of the reward and stress circuits associated with the transition to dependence. Dr. Koob has published over 780 scientific papers. In collaboration with Dr. Michel Le Moal, he wrote the renowned book Neurobiology of Addiction (Elsevier, 2006). He was previously Director of the NIAAA Alcohol Research Center at The Scripps Research Institute, Consortium Coordinator for NIAAA's multi-center Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism, and Co-Director of the Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research. He has trained 75 postdoctoral fellows and 11 predoctoral fellows. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior and Senior Editor for Journal of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Koob taught for 35 years in the Psychology Department at the University of California San Diego, including courses such as Drugs Addiction and Mental Disorders and Impulse Control Disorders, courses that regularly matriculated 400-500 students each. He also taught Contemporary Topics in Central Nervous System Pharmacology at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UCSD for 9 years. Dr. Koob's research interests have been directed at the neurobiology of emotion, with a focus on the theoretical constructs of reward and stress. He has made contributions to our understanding of the anatomical connections of the emotional systems and the neurochemistry of emotional function. Dr. Koob has identified afferent and efferent connections of the basal forebrain (extended amygdala) in the region of the nucleus accumbens, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and central nucleus of the amygdala in motor activation, reinforcement mechanisms, behavioral responses to stress, drug self-administration, and the neuroadaptation associated with drug dependence. Dr. Koob also is one of the world's authorities on the neurobiology of drug addiction. He has contributed to our understanding of the neurocircuitry associated with the acute reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse and more recently on the neuroadaptations of these reward circuits associated with the transition to dependence. He has validated key animal models for dependence associated with drugs of abuse and has begun to explore a key role of anti-reward systems in the development of dependence. Dr. Koob's work with the neurobiology of stress includes the characterization of behavioral functions in the central nervous system for catecholamines, opioid peptides, and corticotropin-releasing factor. Corticotropin-releasing factor, in addition to its classical hormonal functions in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, is also located in extrahypothalamic brain structures and may have an important role in brain emotional function. Recent use of specific corticotropin-releasing factor antagonists suggests that endogenous brain corticotropin-releasing factor may be involved in specific behavioral responses to stress, the psychopathology of anxiety and affective disorders, and drug addiction.

Affiliations and Expertise

The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA