Congratulations to Dr Karen Ersche, Department of Psychiatry, who has been awarded the prestigious Waletzky Award by the Society of Neuroscience (SfN). The Award recognizes young scientists who have conducted or plan to conduct independent research leading to significant conceptual and empirical contributions to the understanding of drug addiction. Dr Ersche was the co-recipient of the award alongside Dr Garret Stuber of the University of North Carolina.
“It is important to recognize the work of scientists combatting the global crisis of drug addiction,” SfN President Eric Nestler said. “We could not have two candidates more deserving of this year’s Waletzky Award than Karen Ersche and Garret Stuber, who have illumined new approaches to treatment and a more foundational understanding of how drug addiction affects the brain, respectively.”
Dr Ersche is regarded as one of the top researchers studying the etiology and treatment of human addiction, with an emphasis on cocaine addiction. Her research focuses on neuropsychological correlates and neurochemical processes underlying addictive behavior, as well as the translation of these findings into therapeutic interventions.
She takes both behavioural and immunological approaches to treating substance disorders and recreational drug users. This holistic approach includes assessments of cognitive domains inherent in drug addiction, and exploring substance-related neurobiological and neurocognitive alterations both apparent prior to the onset of addiction and/or resulting from addiction. Her findings have contributed to new behavioural and pharmacological treatment approaches for drug addiction.