During this hour-long program, The Origins of Addiction, we’ll look at how the brain has changed over time, allowing it to adapt to some things in our lives, but not others. See how addiction changes the brain which can help explain why treatment is often so difficult. Find out how Swiss cheese can help explain addiction.

Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will take us into their labs and let us look at the science behind the science as they search for the areas of the brain addiction impacts most.

Key Concepts:

  • Learn how the brain has evolved over time to adapt to life changes
  • Find out how the brain is fragile but is built to protect itself
  • See how addiction changes the brain

Originally Aired: January 31, 2013


Ruben Baler, PhD.

Health Scientist, Science Policy Branch. Office of Science Policy & Communications. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Dr. Ruben Baler received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology from the University of Miami in 1993. He carried out his postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where he specialized in Molecular Chronobiology. He then moved to the National Institute of Mental Health, where he conducted basic research on the molecular basis of circadian gene expression in vertebrates.

In October 2004, Baler joined the Science Policy Branch in the Office of Science Policy and Communications at the National Institute on Drug Abuse as a Health Scientist. His early publications have focused on the temporal regulation of gene expression in the brain’s clock.

Since joining NIDA, he has written and lectured about the Neurobiology of Drug Abuse and Addiction. Baler has gathered critical insight from diverse disciplines, which he combines to advance NIDA’s scientific mission. These include cellular and molecular biology, genetics, immunology, bioinformatics, neuroscience, and neuroethics.

Steven Grant, PhD

Chief of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Dr. Steven Grant received his PhD. in Biological Psychology from the University of Georgia in 1979. He received postdoctoral training in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine in the area of monoamine neurophysiology and the role of the noradrenergic system in opioid withdrawal and anxiety.

In June 1993, he became a Senior Staff Fellow in the Neuroimaging and Drug Action Section of the NIDA Intramural Research Program. His work there included seminal studies on brain imaging of cocaine craving and impaired decision making in drug abusers.

In May 2004, Grant was appointed chief of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch. Throughout all of these positions, Grant has brought a broad interdisciplinary, translational perspective that incorporates advances from pre-clinical cellular neuroscience to human brain imaging.