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NIDA appoints new DBNBR Director

May 9, 2014
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has announced that Joni Rutter, PhD has been named Division Director for the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research (DBNBR). For the past three years, Rutter has served as acting director of DBNBR, leading her staff to build strategic directions for the science supported by the division. 

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Rutter as the new DBNBR Division Director,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “Her extensive experience with how the study of genetics ties into drug abuse strengthens her role as a leader in a division dedicated to fundamentally preventing and stopping drug abuse.”

The division’s primary goal is to support basic biomedical and behavioral research to address the public health problem of drug addiction, including the neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms of drugs of abuse and their consequences. 

Rutter’s career spans 15 years of basic and clinical research in human genetics and the study of genetic and environmental risk factors in the fields of cancer and addiction. She has earned a national and international reputation for her diverse and unique expertise in more than 50 publications in journals, and she received several scientific achievement awards, including a SmithKline Beecham Student Award in Pharmacology and a Janssen Research Foundation Young Investigator Award. Rutter has also built, supported, and maintained the NIDA Genetics Consortium, a group of more than 20 investigators who study addiction genetics.

“I am delighted to lead this division’s efforts to advance the basic science of drug abuse and addiction,” said Rutter. “My background as a geneticist fits well with NIDA’s commitment to staying at the forefront of scientific discovery, maximizing available resources to foster innovative ideas and scientific collaborations.”