Source: Interfolio F180

Barbara Mason

Pearson Family Chair; Director, Laboratory of Clinical Psychopharmacology; Director, Pearson Center For Alcoholism and Addiction Research
Department of Molecular Medicine


Research Focus

The focus of the research programs in Dr. Mason's Laboratory of Clinical Psychopharmacology is the clinical evaluation of potential medications for protracted abstinence and relapse prevention in alcohol use disorder and related conditions such as nicotine and cannabis use disorder. Research projects range from proof-of-concept early phase human laboratory studies to long-term, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical efficacy studies. A critical aspect of the conceptual framework under which the Laboratory of Clinical Psychopharmacology is predicated is the dynamic feedback from the research findings of pre-clinical and clinical studies, which are designed to streamline information and provide converging evidence for ultimate clinical use. The critical conceptual framework is that the pre-clinical animal studies will inform the clinical laboratory studies, and the clinical laboratory studies will in turn inform the pre-clinical animal studies to further refine basic research involving animal models and the neuropharmacological approach. This approach has identified neuropharmacological domains that are currently being translated into long-term clinical efficacy studies.

Dr. Mason conducted the seminal studies of nalmefene as a novel treatment for alcohol dependence; nalmefene (Selincro) has recently received regulatory approval for this indication throughout the European Union. Dr. Mason also served as overall Principal Investigator for the 21-site U.S. study of acamprosate for the treatment of alcohol dependence, conducted in support of FDA approval. Results from her studies of gabapentin for the treatment of alcohol dependence served as the basis for developing a pivotal trial of Horizant (gabapentin enacarbil) as a treatment for alcohol use disorder. Dr. Mason currently serves as Director of the P60 Alcohol Research Center of Excellence. Future Research Plans Future research will include human laboratory studies to rapidly screen potential relapse prevention medications and clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of novel medications to prevent relapse and reduce symptoms of protracted abstinence in outpatients with alcohol or cannabis use disorders.


Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology), Long Island University, 1983
B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts), Pratt Institute, 1972

Professional Experience

2003 - present Professor with Tenure, Departments of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience (formerly: the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders; Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Department; Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

2003-present Director, Laboratory of Clinical Psychopharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

2003-present Co-Director to Director, Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

1991-2003 Associate Professor to Professor with Tenure, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL

1993-2003 Director, Division of Substance Abuse, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL

1990-1991 Chief, Alcohol Disorders Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, New York, New York

1981-1991 Research Associate to Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York

1981-1984 Assistant Professor of Psychology, Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York

1980-1984 Psychology Intern, Roosevelt Hospital-St. Lukes Medical Center, New York, New York

Awards & Professional Activities

2017 Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award, American Society of Addiction Medicine
2009 Path to Recovery Hero, Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing; State of California Senate Recognition
2009 Weill Cornell Alumni Award, Weill Cornell Medicine
2007 Pearson Family Chair, Mark Pearson (donor; member Board of Directors)
2005 Elected Fellow, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
2003 MERIT Award for Medication Development, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
1999 Dean's Senior Clinical Research Award, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami School of Medicine
1997 Tenure Award, University of Miami School of Medicine
1989 Teacher-Scientist Award, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Cornell University Medical College

Selected Publications

Ray, L. A.; Mason, B. J.; Koob, G. F.; Mason, B. J.; Koob, G. F.; Becker, H. C.; Ray, L. A.; O'malley, S. S.; Mason, B. J.; Mackillop, J.; Leggio, L.; Koob, G. F.; King, A. C.; Jentsch, J. D.; Heilig, M.; Grodin, E. N.; Ewing, S. W.; Becker, H. C.; Bechtholt, A. J. The future of translational research on alcohol use disorder.. Addiction biology 2021, 26, e12903.

Loflin, M. J.; Kiluk, B. D.; Huestis, M. A.; Aklin, W. M.; Budney, A. J.; Carroll, K. M.; D'Souza, D. C.; Dworkin, R. H.; Gray, K. M.; Hasin, D. S.; Lee, D. C.; Le Foll, B.; Levin, F. R.; Lile, J. A.; Mason, B. J.; McRae-Clark, A. L.; Montoya, I.; Peters, E. N.; Ramey, T.; Turk, D. C.; Vandrey, R.; Weiss, R. D.; Strain, E. C. The state of clinical outcome assessments for cannabis use disorder clinical trials: A review and research agenda. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2020, 212.

Falk, D. E.; Ryan, M. L.; Fertig, J. B.; Devine, E. G.; Cruz, R.; Brown, E. S.; Burns, H.; Salloum, I. M.; Newport, D. J.; Mendelson, J.; Galloway, G.; Kampman, K.; Brooks, C.; Green, A. I.; Brunette, M. F.; Rosenthal, R. N.; Dunn, K. E.; Strain, E. C.; Ray, L.; Shoptaw, S.; Tiouririne, N. A.; Gunderson, E. W.; Ransom, J.; Scott, C.; Leggio, L.; Caras, S.; Mason, B. J.; Litten, R. Z. Gabapentin Enacarbil Extended-Release for Alcohol Use Disorder: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multisite Trial Assessing Efficacy and Safety. Alcoholism-Clinical and Experimental Research 2019, 43, 158-169.

Mason, B. J.; Quello, S.; Shadan, F. Gabapentin for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs 2018, 27, 113-124.

Mason, B. J. Emerging pharmacotherapies for alcohol use disorder. Neuropharmacology 2017, 122, 244-253.

Koob, G. F.; Mason, B. J. Existing and future drugs for the treatment of the dark side of addiction. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology 2016, 56, 299-322.