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Yasmin Hurd

  • PROFESSOR Psychiatry
  • PROFESSOR Neuroscience
  • PROFESSOR Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics
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  • Ph.D., Karolinska Institute

  • Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

  • Neuroscience Center at St. Elizabeth's Hospital


    Dr. Yasmin Hurd is the Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and the Director of the Center for Addictive Disorders within the Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System.

    Dr. Hurd's multidisciplinary research investigates the neurobiology underlying addiction disorders and related psychiatric illnesses.  A translational approach is used to examine molecular and neurochemical events in the human brain and comparable animal models in order to ascertain neurobiological correlates of behavior.  A major focus of the research is directed to risk factors of addiction disorders including genetics as well as developmental exposure to drugs of abuse.

    Hurd Laboratory

    Center for Addictive Disorders

    In the News

    The recent push to legalize recreational and medical marijuana has put the spotlight on Dr. Yasmin Hurd and her pioneering work on the transgenerational effects of cannabis on the developing brain. Dr. Hurd's research was featured on the cover story of TIME magazine on May 25, 2015: The Great Pot Experiment. View the PDF.

    Dr. Hurd talks about studying addiction in The Daily News feature The Daily Check Up. View the PDF.

    Perception of marijuana as a "safe drug" is scientifically inaccurate August 27, 2013 - The nature of the teenage brain makes users of cannabis particularly at risk of developing addictive behaviors. Read more.


The research group investigates the neurobiology underlying drug abuse and related psychiatric disorders. The work is focused on the systematic study of the human brain of drug abusers and subjects with psychiatric disorders in relation to opioid neuropeptide, cannabinoid and dopamine neuronal systems. Drug abuse and, e.g., major depression are associated with alterations of mood, cognition, and motivation, thus, an important goal is to identify and map specific genes in the mesocorticolimbic system, which regulate emotional function. Techniques such as in situ hybridization, RT-PCR, DNA microarray, RNA-sequencing, chromatin immunoprecipitation, in vitro autoradiography, and general biochemical assays are used for the detailed analyses of genes, and respective protein products, in discrete mesocorticolimbic brain areas. Molecular, biochemical, and in vivo studies of the human brain are assessed in relation to individual genotype in order to identify neurobiological correlates of functional genetic polymorphisms linked to addiction and affective disorders. Epigeneic mechanisms, e.g., DNA methylation and histone modifications, are also evaluated in relation to the regulation of gene expression.

A significant area of investigation is related to assessing the impact of early developmental cannabis exposure on the human brain and translational animal models that may enhance later risk for substance abuse and psychiatric disturbances. Recent efforts involve combined in vivo imaging and molecular pharmacogenetic strategies to provide quantitative, dynamic and cell type-specific functional circuit mapping throughout the brain relevant to normal behavior and pathological states underlying neuropsychiatric disorders.

As complement to studies of the human brain, animal models are used to monitor in vivo neurotransmitter levels (e.g., dopamine as measured by the microdialysis technique) and virally manipulate specific genes and epigenetic mechanisms within discrete cell populations in discrete brain areas during behavior such as operant drug self-administration behavior (particularly heroin and cocaine). The animal studies are also designed to mimic the prenatal and adolescent drug exposure (particularly cannabis) seen in humans, and to track the protracted impact on adult behavior and molecular events in the same subject or across generations.

For more information, please visit the Hurd Laboratory website.


Michaelides M, Hurd Y. DREAMM: A biobehavioral imaging methodology for dynamic in vivo whole-brain mapping of cell type-specific functional networks. Neuropsychopharmacology 2014;.

Szutorisz H, DiNieri JA, Sweet E, Egervari G, Michaelides M, Carter JM, Ren Y, Miller ML, Blitzer RD, Hurd YL. Parental THC exposure leads to compulsive heroin-seeking and altered striatal synaptic plasticity in the subsequent generation. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2014 May; 39(6).

Tortoriello G, Morris CV, Alpar A, Fuzik J, Shirran SL, Calvigioni D, Keimpema E, Botting CH, Reinecke K, Herdegen T, Courtney M, Hurd YL, Harkany T. Miswiring the brain: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol disrupts cortical development by inducing an SCG10/stathmin-2 degradation pathway. The EMBO journal 2014 Apr; 33(7).

Michaelides M, Anderson SA, Ananth M, Smirnov D, Thanos PK, Neumaier JF, Wang GJ, Volkow ND, Hurd YL. Whole-brain circuit dissection in free-moving animals reveals cell-specific mesocorticolimbic networks. The Journal of clinical investigation 2013 Dec; 123(12).

Anderson SA, Michaelides M, Zarnegar P, Ren Y, Fagergren P, Thanos PK, Wang GJ, Bannon M, Neumaier JF, Keller E, Volkow ND, Hurd YL. Impaired periamygdaloid-cortex prodynorphin is characteristic of opiate addiction and depression. The Journal of clinical investigation 2013 Dec; 123(12).

Chadwick B, Miller ML, Hurd YL. Cannabis Use during Adolescent Development: Susceptibility to Psychiatric Illness. Frontiers in psychiatry 2013; 4.

Hurd YL, Michaelides M, Miller ML, Jutras-Aswad D. Trajectory of adolescent cannabis use on addiction vulnerability. Neuropharmacology 2014 Jan; 76 Pt B.

Sillivan SE, Whittard JD, Jacobs MM, Ren Y, Mazloom AR, Caputi FF, Horvath M, Keller E, Ma'ayan A, Pan YX, Chiang LW, Hurd YL. ELK1 transcription factor linked to dysregulated striatal mu opioid receptor signaling network and OPRM1 polymorphism in human heroin abusers. Biological psychiatry 2013 Oct; 74(7).

Jacobs MM, Ökvist A, Horvath M, Keller E, Bannon MJ, Morgello S, Hurd YL. Dopamine receptor D1 and postsynaptic density gene variants associate with opiate abuse and striatal expression levels. Molecular psychiatry 2013 Nov; 18(11).

DiNieri JA, Wang X, Szutorisz H, Spano SM, Kaur J, Casaccia P, Dow-Edwards D, Hurd YL. Maternal cannabis use alters ventral striatal dopamine D2 gene regulation in the offspring. Biological psychiatry 2011 Oct; 70(8).

Ren Y, Whittard J, Higuera-Matas A, Morris CV, Hurd YL. Cannabidiol, a nonpsychotropic component of cannabis, inhibits cue-induced heroin seeking and normalizes discrete mesolimbic neuronal disturbances. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2009 Nov; 29(47).

Watson CT, Szutorisz H, Garg P, Martin Q, Landry JA, Sharp AJ, Hurd YL. Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Profiling Reveals Epigenetic Changes in the Rat Nucleus Accumbens Associated With Cross-Generational Effects of Adolescent THC Exposure. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2015 Jun;.

Manini AF, Yiannoulos G, Bergamaschi MM, Hernandez S, Olmedo R, Barnes AJ, Winkel G, Sinha R, Jutras-Aswad D, Huestis MA, Hurd YL. Safety and pharmacokinetics of oral cannabidiol when administered concomitantly with intravenous fentanyl in humans. Journal of addiction medicine; 9(3).

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Dr. Hurd did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2015 and/or 2016: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.

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