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Dr. Marilyn Huestis retires


February 05, 2016

Dr. Marilyn Huestis

This week the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced that Dr. Marilyn Huestis, Chief of Chemistry and Drug Metabolism at NIDA’s Intramural Research Program (IRP) in Baltimore, Maryland, has retired from government service. Dr. Huestis is internationally known and respected for her work at the IRP and as Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine.

Dr. Huestis started at NIDA in 1988 as a research fellow while completing her Ph.D. After receiving her degree in 1992, she left and started her own company, but in her words, "I missed the research so much, gave it all up, and came back!" Her retirement marks a 23-year career at NIDA.

Dr. Huestis’ research program has sought to discover mechanisms of action of cannabinoid agonists and antagonists, effects of in utero drug exposure, and the neurobiology and pharmacokinetics of novel psychoactive substances, the emerging face of drug abuse. Her work has yielded more than 400 manuscripts, most recently with a focus on the effects of marijuana use on driving impairment. Dr. Huestis has also been an inspiration to hundreds of young scientists. She has directly mentored 13 doctoral students (and is still mentoring two others) and has mentored more than 25 Visiting Scientists sponsored by more than 20 countries around the world. In addition, she has served as co-mentor or external examiner for eight international students.

As a world-renowned expert on human drug testing, Dr. Huestis currently serves on the new National Commission on Forensic Science; the Organization of Scientific Area Committee on Toxicology; the World Anti-doping Agency’s Prohibited List Committee; the Scientific Working Group on Toxicology; the Transportation Research Board Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs; and the National Safety Council’s Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division Executive Board. Dr. Huestis is past president of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists, past chair of the Toxicology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), and the first female president of The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists. In April 2016, she will be awarded the Saferstein Memorial Distinguished Lecturer at Northeastern University. She has received numerous other awards for her work, including the Distinguished Fellow Award from AAFS in 2015. The journal Clinical Chemistry once featured her as an "Inspiring Mind."

Dr. Huestis received her Bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in Biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College, a Master's in Clinical Chemistry with honors, and a Ph.D. in Toxicology with honors. In 2010, she was selected for a Doctor Honoris causa in Medicine and Surgery from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland. We know she will continue to advance the important field of addiction science as she embarks on the next phase of her impressive career.

To hear from Dr. Huestis about her work, visit www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2013/09/q-dr-marilyn-huestis.

To learn more about Dr. Huestis' impaired driving studies, visit www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/VrLSr_O7e0Y?rel=0.

NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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