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Story Landis, PhD and Nora Volkow, MD

Directors, National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute on Drug Abuse

53 minutes
Story Landis, Nora Volkow


Story Landis has been Director of the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) since 2003. Throughout her research career, Dr. Landis has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of nervous system development. She has garnered many honors, is an elected fellow of the Institute of Medicine, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Neurological Association, and in 2002 was elected President of the Society for Neuroscience. Together with NIMH and NIA directors, she co-chairs the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, a roadmap-like effort to support trans-NIH activities in the brain sciences. In 2007, Dr. Landis was named Chair of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force.

Nora Volkow is Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health. NIDA supports most of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. Dr. Volkow's work has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain. As a research psychiatrist and scientist, Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects of drugs and their addictive properties. Her studies have documented changes in the dopamine system affecting the actions of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, drive, and pleasure and the decline of brain dopamine function with age. She has also made important contributions to the neurobiology of obesity, ADHD, and the behavioral changes that occur with aging. Dr. Volkow spent most of her professional career at the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York, where she held several leadership positions including Director of Nuclear Medicine, Chairman of the Medical Department, and Associate Director for Life Sciences. In addition, Dr. Volkow was 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 440 peer-reviewed articles and more than 75 book chapters and non-peer reviewed manuscripts, and has also edited three books on the use of neuroimaging in studying mental and addictive disorders. During her professional career, Dr. Volkow has been the recipient of multiple awards, including her selection for membership in the Institute of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences and the International Prize from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research for her pioneering work in brain imaging and addiction science. She was recently named one of Time Magazine's "Top 100 People Who Shape our World", and was included as one of the 20 people to watch by Newsweek magazine in its "Who's Next in 2007" feature. She was also included in Washingtonian Magazine's 2009 list of the "100 Most Powerful Women" and named "Innovator of the Year" by U.S. News & World Report in 2000.