Yasmin Hurd, PhD
- DIRECTOR, ADDICTION INSTITUTE AT MOUNT SINAI
- PROFESSOR | Pharmacological Sciences
- PROFESSOR | Neuroscience
- PROFESSOR | Psychiatry
Research Topics:Addiction, Anatomy, Basal Ganglia, Behavior, Brain, Developmental Biology, Gene Expressions, Gene Regulation, Genetics, Neurobiology, Neuropeptides, Neuroscience, Neurotransmitters, Opioid/Cannabinoid Receptors
Dr. Yasmin Hurd is the Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and the Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai.
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 such as cannabis. The group also conducts human clinical trials in developing novel therapies for opioid use disorder.
In the News
The 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.
PBS/Netflix series Human: The World Within, 2021; Netflix series (The Business of Drugs)
Freakonomics radio 2020: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/mount-sinai/
Smart people podcase: https://www.mountsinai.org/about/newsroom/podcasts/real-smart-people/yasmin-barrier-breaker
CNN Documentary Weed Part 4 with Dr. Sanjay Gupta: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R90JW1fTw8U
Statnews 2018: https://www.statnews.com/2018/02/28/marijuana-cannabidiol-opioids-addiction/
Dr. Hurd podcast: March 15, 2017: The Gateway Hypothesis of Addiction | Listen
Dr. Hurd discusses medical marijuana in the media:
Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News — Marijuana Could Ease Burden of Opioid Addiction
Time magazine, Time Health - 7 Scientific Effects of Marijuana That Experts Want to Study
New York Daily News, 2017 - Opioid Addiction FAQ: Experts' guide to the hard facts
CUNY-TV Science Goes to the Movies: Dr. Hurd talk about addiction as its portrayed in films like Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and T2: Trainspotting, its sequel —
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.
Multi-Disciplinary Training AreasGenetics and Genomic Sciences [GGS], Neuroscience [NEU], Pharmacology and Therapeutics Discovery [PTD]
PhD, Karolinska Institute
Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Neuroscience Center at St. Elizabeth's Hospital
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 neural activity and to virally manipulate specific genes and epigenetic mechanisms within discrete cell populations in specific brain areas during behavior such as operant drug self-administration behavior (particularly heroin). 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. The group also conducts human clinical trials in developing novel treatments for opioid use disorders such as the use of cannabidiol.
For more information, please visit the Hurd Laboratory website.