Dr. Kurt Rasmussen to lead NIDA’s therapeutics and medical consequences division

Brings expertise in neuroscience therapeutics

Dr. Kurt Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Dr. Kurt Rasmussen

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health, welcomed Dr. Kurt Rasmussen today as the Director of the Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences (DTMC). Dr. Rasmussen’s career spans more than 30 years of research and leadership experiences in pharmacology and neuroscience therapeutics. 

Dr. Rasmussen comes to NIDA from Eli Lilly & Co., where he served as a senior research advisor, leading drug discovery research programs. As an internationally recognized neuroscientist, he has over three decades of experience in basic addiction research and drug development. Dr. Rasmussen has extensive knowledge of neuropsychiatric and neurological therapeutics and is known for his expertise in pharmaceutical discovery research from hypothesis generation to clinical candidate evaluation. Much of his work has been directed towards identifying novel mechanisms for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders, including addiction. 

"Dr. Rasmussen’s wealth of knowledge and experience in the private sector and in academia will strengthen our medications development process as we continue to search for new pharmacotherapeutic treatments to help end addiction to opioids, nicotine, methamphetamine, and other substances," said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. "We are delighted he has joined NIDA."

At NIDA, Dr. Rasmussen will lead a team that supports and conducts studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of pharmacotherapies, behavioral therapies, and devices to treat substance use disorders through peer reviewed grants, contracts, and interagency agreements.

"I am honored to be joining the talented team at NIDA and look forward to contributing my efforts to address substance use disorders," said Dr. Rasmussen. "My goal is to help NIDA bring new treatment options to the millions of patients suffering from addiction to opioids and other substances."

Dr. Rasmussen received his A.B. in psychology with honors and distinction from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and his Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology from Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

DTMC’s Deputy Director Dr. Ivan Montoya has been serving as the Acting DTMC Director since February 2017. "I would like to thank Dr. Montoya for his gracious time, support and leadership during this transition period," added Dr. Volkow. "He has been instrumental in moving forward the important public health initiatives of this division, during a critical time for our nation.

NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. For more information about NIDA and its programs, visit www.nida.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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