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The Craving Brain: The Neuroscience of Uncontrollable Urges

Saturday, May 31, 2014
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Counseling . . . therapy . . . self-control. The path to curing addiction has never been easy. Addiction short-circuits the brain’s reward system, releasing dopamine and other feel-good chemicals that keep you coming back for more. But through a steadily developing understanding of the brain, scientists foresee a future in which a simple medical procedure—even a shot or a pill—could defuse addiction’s power. Join leading researchers studying how addiction changes the very fabric of the brain, and what new insights could mean for addicts trying to win back their lives.

This program is part of “The Big, the Small, and the Complex,” a series exploring the latest developments in Astrophysics, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience—fields recognized by The Kavli Prize. Sponsored by The Kavli Foundation, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General.


Elizabeth VargasJournalist

Emmy Award-winning journalist Elizabeth Vargas has traveled the world covering breaking news stories, reporting in-depth investigations, and conducting newsmaker interviews. She is the host of A&E Investigates.

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Nora D. VolkowPsychiatrist

Nora D. Volkow is the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at NIH. She pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the effects of drugs in the human brain and has demonstrated that drug addiction is a brain disease.

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Kim D. JandaChemist

Kim Janda is a professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute whose research efforts merge biology and chemistry. He has investigated using the immune system to target drug addiction, catalytic antibodies, and creating molecules to treat cancer.

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Eric NestlerNeuroscientist, Professor of Psychiatry

Eric Nestler is a neuroscientist, professor of psychiatry, and chair of the neuroscience department at Mount Sinai, and the director of the Friedman Brain Institute.

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Amir LevinePsychiatrist, Neuroscientist

Amir Levine is an adult, adolescent, and child psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Columbia University in New York and The Center of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

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