Dietz is new chair of UB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

His research on individual susceptibility to drug abuse has led to a better understanding of how brain “rewiring” leads to relapse

Release Date: July 23, 2018

David Dietz with arms folded in lab

David M. Dietz, Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

A faculty member since 2011, Dietz's research focuses on how molecular and behavioral plasticity in the brain mediates how susceptible individuals are to drug abuse and relapse.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — David M. Dietz, PhD, associate professor, has been appointed chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.

The announcement was made by Michael E. Cain, MD, UB vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School. He said Dietz has the best administrative, investigational, scientific, leadership, educational and visionary skills needed to move the department forward, expand its research programs and enhance the excellence of its graduate education and mentored research training programs, as well as create new degree programs in neuroscience.

A faculty member since 2011, Dietz has developed a nationally and internationally recognized innovative research program focused on understanding how molecular and behavioral plasticity in the brain mediates how susceptible individuals are to drug abuse and relapse. The work is geared toward developing novel pharmacotherapeutic approaches for treating substance abuse and addiction.

Noting that Dietz has published in Science, Nature Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and other high-impact journals, Cain said: “His work has moved the field.”

Currently the principal investigator on two National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute for Drug Addictions grants to study cocaine-induced changes in the brain during addiction, Dietz and his colleagues have used an innovative “molecules-to-behavior approach” to developing a comprehensive understanding of how drugs of abuse hijack the brain’s reward circuits, creating addiction. He also is beginning to look at the neurobiology of heroin addiction.

Dietz trains postdoctoral fellows and graduate students under training grants in both his own department and UB’s Research Institute on Addictions. A reviewer of ad hoc grants for the NIH, he also has been a reviewer for the international Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, and for the top journals in his field.

He earned his PhD in neuroscience/psychology from Florida State University and subsequently was a postdoctoral fellow in the Friedman Brain Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

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