Professor of Psychobiology, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University
Dr. Bertha K. Madras is Professor of Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS). She developed and chaired the Division of Neurochemistry at the HMS-NEPRC. A neuroscientist, her research focuses on addiction biology and neuropsychiatric disease. Her work is reported in over 150 manuscripts and book chapters. She is principal editor of books “The Cell Biology of Addiction” (2006), “The Effects of Drug Abuse on the Human Nervous System” (2012), and co-editor on “Imaging of the Human Brain in Health and Disease” (2012). As an educator, she developed and taught a course on addiction biology for 4th year HMS medical school students, and created an international course titled the “Cell Biology of Addiction” at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In public policy, she served as Deputy Director for Demand Reduction in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). At ONDCP, she advocated for medicalization of the diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders. She mainstreamed Drug and Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in healthcare systems as a component of the national drug control strategy. She also spearheaded approval of billing codes for these services resulting in reimbursement by Medicaid and health insurers, adoption by federal agencies. SBORT was endorsed by the UN. In service to public education, she directed creation of a museum exhibit, a CD (licensed by Disney Corp), “Changing your Mind: Drugs in the Brain” for the Boston Museum of Science and has delivered hundreds of presentations on the biology of drugs and addiction. She holds 19 patents, is a recipient of a NIDA Public Service award, a NIH MERIT award, American Academy Addiction Psychiatry Founders’ Award, and the Marian Hirschman Award. A brain imaging agent strategy she developed was cited by The Better World Report, 2006, as one of “25 technology transfer innovations that changed the world”. Her experiences in translational neurobiology, government, and public service afford her a unique perspective on science and public policy.