NIH institute director George F. Koob, Ph.D., to speak on neurobiology of addiction at Research!Louisville

NIH institute director George F. Koob, Ph.D., to speak on neurobiology of addiction at Research!Louisville

George F. Koob, Ph.D.

A greater understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying addiction could help communities such as Louisville and Southern Indiana cope with the opioid crisis, alcoholism and other problems related to substance use. George F. Koob, Ph.D., an internationally-recognized expert on alcohol and stress and the neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction, will discuss his research on this topic in the keynote address for Research!Louisville.

Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, one of the National Institutes of Health, will discuss “The Neurobiology of Addiction: View from the Dark Side,” on Friday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. in the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building (KCCTRB) at the University of Louisville.

Koob’s talk will address how addiction is perpetuated by the motivation to alleviate emotional and physical distress created by abstinence from the drug. Addicted individuals compulsively use the drug in order to reduce the hypohedonia, anxiety, irritability and other symptoms of drug abstinence. Such negative reinforcement is known as the “dark side of addiction.” Koob’s research presents compelling evidence that plasticity in the brain’s emotional systems adapts to repeated drug taking and contributes to the development and persistence of compulsive drug seeking.

Research!Louisville is the annual exposition of health-related research in the Louisville Medical Center. The 2017 event, scheduled for Sept. 12-15, showcases scientific research, lectures and activities for scientists of all ages. Investigators from high school through professional faculty will present their research in five poster sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Awards for top research presentations will be announced on Friday following the keynote address. Research!Louisville is co-sponsored by UofL, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation/KentuckyOne Health and Norton Healthcare.

Events during the week include:

  • Women innovators – A panel of women entrepreneurs and innovators will discuss their experiences with the commercialization of university research by licensing to an established company and/or forming a new start-up company.  Panelists will share lessons they have learned and will discuss the "commercialization culture shift" of moving from academic research to working with industry. Tuesday, Sept. 12, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. in KCCTRB, 550 S. Hancock St., Room 124.
  • Kentucky Science Center – A preview in health-care training for biomedical-focused middle and high school students. Co-sponsored by UofL and Jewish Hospital and St. Mary's Foundation/KentuckyOne Health and in collaboration with the Greater Louisville Medical Society and Louisville Women in Medicine and Science (L-WIMS), students will work in sessions and hear from leaders in the science community. Students will be introduced to alternative science career opportunities and educational advancements with a biomedical focus. Pulse of Surgery will be one of the highlights, providing students the opportunity to observe a live-streamed open-heart surgery while asking questions of the operating room staff in real time. Pre-registration is required. Sessions are Wednesday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Kentucky Science Center, 727 W. Main St.
  • Beer with LOTS of Scientists – This evening gathering will be a get-to-know-you event, with seven or more UofL researchers introducing themselves and their work, then mixing and mingling with guests. Topics will include 3-D printing, pain, nanoparticles, cancer, aging and precision medicine. Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m. at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St.
  • Translational Research Symposium – Seven areas of translational research will be highlighted with 10-minute presentations. Areas include cancer, environmental health, neurosciences and spinal cord injury, digestive health, cardiovascular disease, the microbiome, and clinical trials research and services. Thursday, Sept. 14, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. in room 124 of KCCTRB.
  • Across Sectors, Across Generations:  Achieving Health Equity for All – Rachel Thornton, M.D., Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease risk, health disparities and social determinants of health. She has expertise in racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. Thornton is committed to informing the development of novel interventions to eliminate health disparities by addressing individual, family and community level factors that contribute to disparities in child and adolescent obesity and cardiovascular disease risk. Thursday, Sept. 14, at noon in room 101/102 of KCCTRB.

For additional information, poster abstract booklet and a program of events for the 22nd annual Research!Louisville, visit