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Alcohol Use Disorders: Old Insights, New Treatments

Markus Heilig, M.D., Ph.D.
Clinical Director
Chief, Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Photo of Steven M. Holland

Dr. Markus Heilig came to NIH in 2004 from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, where he served as Chief of Research and Development in the Division of Psychiatry, Clinical Neuroscience Department.

Dr. Heilig oversees investigations into the effects of acute and chronic alcohol consumption and the effects of drug treatments on patients with a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and dependence. His research involves preclinical target discovery and validation and he conducts early clinical trials in addiction medicine. He is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking research on neuropeptide Y, a peptide with a major role in emotionality and alcohol-seeking behavior.

Dr. Heilig obtained his M.D. in 1986 and his Ph.D. in Psychiatric Neurochemistry in 1989 from Sweden’s Lund University. From 1990-1992, he was a postdoctoral fellow with Professor George Koob at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, where he continued to study neuropeptide systems in emotionality and stress. Following his return to Sweden, Dr. Heilig completed his clinical psychiatry training in 1995, and served in different clinical and academic leadership roles at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden from 1995-2004.

He has published more than 100 original research reports, numerous reviews and book chapters. Dr. Heilig is also author of the Swedish addiction medicine textbook, Dependence. In addition to research and academic teaching, Dr. Heilig has been an advocate for public education to remove the stigma of addiction and counter the popular perception that addiction is the product of a character defect.

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