Dr. Yasmin Hurd is Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, USA. She is an internationally renowned neuroscientist whose translational research examines the neurobiology of drug abuse and related psychiatric disorders with primary focus on opioid abuse and the developmental effects of cannabis. She is highly published in the field and leads a team of investigators in molecular biology, behavioral neuropharmacology, genetics and neuroimaging to study the human brain as well as translational animal models. Dr. Hurd is also Director for the Addiction Institute within the Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System which covers one of the largest addiction populations in the US providing clinical care supported by science-based medicine and advanced state-of-the-art research. Based on her high impact accomplishments and her advocacy of drug addiction education and health, Dr. Hurd was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine that complements other honors she has received in the field.
We are in unprecedented times with a pandemic intertwined with an opioid epidemic that is entangled with changes in the legalization of cannabis use in many states. Age-old questions continue to be raised relevant to the neurobiological underpinnings of addiction vulnerability and the development of novel treatments, which still alludes the field. A central ethos of our research team is that decoding the biological underpinnings of psychiatric disorders such as addiction is critically linked to expanding insights obtained from human subjects. As such, significant effort is taken in delineating molecular events relevant to the human condition that can inform mechanistic preclinical animal models and the development of novel interventions. The talk will provide molecular insights gained from post-mortem studies of human subjects from early life and in adulthood relevant to the biological effects of cannabis and heroin that provides a framework for directing future efforts for addiction.