Senior Medical Staff Clinician, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, a board certified Nuclear Medicine physician, working at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) Medical Department in 1990. His work with Nora Volkow, MD and others has led to a revolution in thinking about whether drug abuse is or is not a disease of the brain. Their group and their data led to the “Drugs Hijack the Brain” campaign at NIDA. He is interested in using PET to study the neuro-psychiatric mechanisms and manifestations of alcoholism, drug addiction, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity and eating disorder in humans and in animal models. He used PET to study the effects of drug expectation on the ability of psychostimulants to increase extracellular dopamine and the relationship to the reinforcing and addictive properties of stimulant drugs in cocaine addicted subjects. In methamphetamine abusers, he uses PET to assess the effect of long-term detoxification to the recovery of the brain dopamine system. He is currently comparing the changes in brain dopamine activity in response to food stimulation for two subtypes of obese subjects, those with and those without binge eating disorders. He predicts that the two subtypes will differ in their brain dopamine activity.
Dr. Wang’s other interests include the study of brain and gut interaction as well as the effect of diet control drug to brain satiety circuit using fMRI. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers on his imaging research. The National Institute of Health (NIMH, NIDA and NIAAA), the Department of Energy (DOE/OBER) and pharmaceutical companies fund his ongoing research. In addition to performing his own research, he is the Chairman of the BNL Medical Department and continues to hold a joint appointment as a Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He also practices Nuclear Radiology at Glen Cove Hospital.