Antonello Bonci, M.D., one of the world's leading researchers in neuropsychopharmacology, has joined NIDA as scientific director of the Intramural Research Program (IRP) in Baltimore.
Dr. Bonci is known for the elegance and multidisciplinary breadth of his studies on the long-term effects of drug exposure on the brain. Dr. Bonci and colleagues were the first to demonstrate that drugs of abuse, such as cocaine, modify the strength of the connections between neurons. This finding cast drug addiction in a new light—as a process of maladaptive learning.
"We think Dr. Bonci will bring tremendous strength to our already robust intramural research portfolio," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "His impressive background as a superb neuroscientist with strong clinical training brings NIDA an exceptional investigator committed to translational science and will bring us closer to new and better medicines for the treatment of addiction."
Prior to joining NIDA, Dr. Bonci was in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, where he held the Howard J. Weinberg Endowed Chair in Addiction Research. In 2009, he received the Daniel H. Efron Award for outstanding basic and translational research at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He also received the 2004 Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Award, given to young scientists for innovative research in drug addiction and alcoholism.
"I am thrilled to be a part of one of the world's most important scientific organizations looking at the challenging problem of drug abuse and addiction," says Dr. Bonci. "I especially look forward to working with Dr. Volkow and her colleagues in the extramural program, as well as the many top-level investigators at the IRP who have been responsible for many advances in addiction science."
Dr. Bonci replaces Dr. Barry Hoffer, who had served as the IRP scientific director since 1996.