NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NIDA/
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Biographical Sketch of NIDA Director
Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.
Dr. Leshner received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Franklin and Marshall
College, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physiological psychology from Rutgers
From 1988 to 1994, he was deputy director of NIMH. He also served as acting director of
the institute from 1990 to 1992.
Dr. Leshner spent 10 years at Bucknell University where he was professor of psychology.
While on the Bucknell faculty, he also held long-term visiting appointments at the
Postgraduate Medical School in Budapest, Hungary, at the Wisconsin Regional Primate
Research Center of the University of Wisconsin, and as a Fulbright scholar at the Weizmann
Institute of Science in Israel. From Bucknell, he went to the NSF, where he held a variety
Most recently, he was director of the office of science and technology centers
development, responsible for a foundation-wide program to develop and support major
research centers around the country across all fields of science and technology. Before
assuming that position in 1987, he had been deputy to the NSF assistant director for
biological, behavioral and social sciences since 1985.
Dr. Leshner served in numerous other positions since joining the NSF staff in 1979,
including overseeing the National Science Board Commission on Precollege Education in
Mathematics, Science and Technology, one of the two national commissions of the early
1980s that brought renewed attention to the Nation's severe problems in elementary
and secondary education.
His research has focused on the biological bases of behavior. His laboratorys
work emphasized the role of peptide and hormone effects on appetitive behavior,
motivation, learning and memory, and such social behaviors as aggression and submission.
Dr. Leshner is the author of An Introduction to Behavioral Endocrinology, a
major text on the relationship between hormones and behavior. He has written numerous book
chapters and papers in professional journals and has published extensively in the areas of
science and technology policy and education.
He has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and
the New York Academy of Sciences. He has received awards for his national leadership from
such diverse groups as the American Psychiatric Association, the National Alliance for the
Mentally Ill, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the National Mental
Health Association, and the National Prevention Coalition.
Directors of NIDA