Mary Jeanne Kreek, M.D. is a graduate of Wellesley College where she received Durant Scholar honors in chemistry and biology, and also of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where she received the M.D. degree and the Borden Award for research.
During her post-graduate work at Cornell University-New York Hospital Medical Center in internal medicine, gastroenterology and neuroendocrinology, on a research rotation, Dr. Kreek joined the Rockefeller Institute in 1964, and with Dr. Vincent P. Dole and the late Dr. Marie Nyswander, who also joined the team at that time, performed the initial studies of the use of a long-acting opioid agonist methadone in chronic management of heroin addiction, studies leading to the development of the first effective pharmacotherapy for treatment of an addiction.
This initial research, in turn, led to a number of prospective long-term studies of the safety and the physiological effects of methadone as used in the treatment of heroin addiction, and the medical status of addicts before and during treatment. By the early 1970s, her research work increasingly focused on the molecular and neurobiological basis of addictive diseases. Dr. Kreek has published on a wide range of topics and issues, germane to addictive diseases, including laboratory as well as basic and applied clinical studies.
Dr. Kreek is Professor and Head of Laboratory, the Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at The Rockefeller University and Senior Physician of The Rockefeller University Hospital in New York City. She is also Principal Investigator and Scientific Director of an NIH-NIDA Research Center, "Treatment of Addictions: Biological Correlates" ongoing since 1987. Dr. Kreek has been a recipient of a NIH-NIDA Senior Research Scientist Award since its inception in 1978.
Currently the Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at The Rockefeller University, headed by Dr. Kreek, includes molecular biologists, analytical chemists, cell biologists, neuroscientists and experimental psychologists, in addition to physicians, both psychiatrists and internists with various specialty interests, and clinical psychologists working in a coordinated manner to study the molecular and behavioral neurobiology of addictive diseases and related clinical neurobiology of addictions. Since 1994, her work has been expanded to include the study of human molecular genetics including studies of polymorphisms of genes of special interest; and also, family studies for which in 1999 she was awarded a NIH-NIDA grant along with the continuation of a collaborative grant focused on the mu opioid receptor gene.
Dr. Kreek is author and co-author of over 350 scientific reports, concept papers, and review articles. She is a Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a Member of the American Association of Physicians and the Council on Foreign Relations. She has received several awards for her scientific research related to the biology and treatment of addictive diseases including the prestigious Betty Ford Award for Research in the Neurobiology of Addiction presented by the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award and Lecture presented by the American Society on Addiction Medicine and the Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award for Lifetime Excellence in Drug Abuse Research presented by the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, one of the highest recognitions in the field of drug abuse research.
In May 2000, she was conferred with the Doctor Honoris Causa by University of Uppsala, Sweden. In September, 2000, Dr. Kreek was made a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences. In May, 2004, Dr. Kreek received the annual Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons’ Alumni Gold Medal Award for “lifetime excellence in medicine” (academic medicine and research in any biomedical field).
Submitted By: Dr. Calum Macpherson, Director of WINDREF.