Photo of Yasmin Hurd

Yasmin Hurd

  • PROFESSOR Psychiatry
  • PROFESSOR Neuroscience
  • PROFESSOR Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics
Print ProfilePrint Profile


  • Ph.D., Karolinska Institute

  • Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    Pharmacology Research Associate (PRAT Fellow) NIH, Section on Functional Neuroanatomy

  • Neuroscience Center at St. Elizabeth's Hospital
    NIMH, Clinical Brain Disorders Branch


    Dr. Yasmin Hurd is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, and Neuroscience.  She is the Chief of the Center of Excellence in Mood and Motivation in the Brain Institute.  She also serves as Chair of the Minority Health Research Committee (MHRC).

    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

    In the News

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


The Hurd Laboratory

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, 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, are also evaluated in relation to the regulation of gene expression.

A significant area of investigation is related to assessing the impact of prenatal drug exposure on human fetal brain development that may enhance later risk for substance abuse and psychiatric disturbances. Recent collaborative efforts involve in vivo imaging of the developing mesocorticolimbic system to examine the neurobiological association between behavioral traits (e.g., inhibitory control deficit) that appear to increase risk for substance abuse disorders.

As complement to studies of the human brain, animal models are used to examine in vivo neurotransmitter levels (e.g., dopamine as measured by the microdialysis technique) in discrete mesocorticolimbic brain areas during, e.g., operant drug self-administration behavior. The animal studies are designed to mimic the prenatal and adolescent drug exposure (particularly cannabis) seen in humans, and subsequent adult behaviors are linked to in vivo neurochemical fluctuations as well as molecular and biochemical events in the same subject.

For more information, please visit the Hurd Laboratory website.


Michaelides M, Anderson SA, Ananth M, Smirnov D, Thanos PK, Neumaier JF, Wang GJ, Volkow ND, Hurd YL. In vivo cell-specific mesocorticolimbic whole-brain circuit dissection in freely-moving animals. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2013;.

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. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2013;.

Hurd YL, Michaelides M, Miller ML, Jutras-Aswad D. Trajectory of adolescent cannabis use on addiction vulnerability. Neuropharmacology 2013 Aug;.

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).

Manini AF, Jacobs MM, Vlahov D, Hurd YL. Opioid receptor polymorphism A118G associated with clinical severity in a drug overdose population. Journal of medical toxicology : official journal of the American College of Medical Toxicology 2013 Jun; 9(2).

Jutras-Aswad D, Jacobs MM, Yiannoulos G, Roussos P, Bitsios P, Nomura Y, Liu X, Hurd YL. Cannabis-dependence risk relates to synergism between neuroticism and proenkephalin SNPs associated with amygdala gene expression: case-control study. PloS one 2012; 7(6).

Tomasiewicz HC, Jacobs MM, Wilkinson MB, Wilson SP, Nestler EJ, Hurd YL. Proenkephalin mediates the enduring effects of adolescent cannabis exposure associated with adult opiate vulnerability. Biological psychiatry 2012 Nov; 72(10).

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).

Okvist A, Fagergren P, Whittard J, Garcia-Osta A, Drakenberg K, Horvath MC, Schmidt CJ, Keller E, Bannon MJ, Hurd YL. Dysregulated postsynaptic density and endocytic zone in the amygdala of human heroin and cocaine abusers. Biological psychiatry 2011 Feb; 69(3).

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).

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 2013 and/or 2014: 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 at Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.

Edit profile in Sinai Central


Hess CSM Building Floor 10 Room 105 Office
1470 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029

Tel: 212-824-9314
Fax: 646-537-9598


Hess CSM Building Floor 10 Room 201 Laboratory
1470 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029

Tel: 212-241-9975