Olivier George, Ph.D. is a Professor at the University of California San Diego, School of Medicine in the department of Psychiatry. He serves as the Co-Director of the Animal Core of the Scripps Research Alcohol Research Center, and Director of the Cocaine and Oxycodone Biobanks. Dr. George also teaches for the departments of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pharmacy at the University of California San Diego.
Dr. George received his B.S., M.S., and his Ph.D. from the University of Bordeaux in France where he worked with Drs. Michel Le Moal, Pier Vincenzo Piazza and Willy Mayo on identifying the role of cholinergic neurons in age-related sleep and memory impairments.
He went on to conduct postdoctoral work on animal models of addiction at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla with Dr. Koob, before joining the faculty in 2013. In 2019, Dr. George moved his laboratory to the University of California San Diego School of Medicine in the department of Psychiatry and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
He has studied alcohol, nicotine and drug addiction for more than 15 years, starting with his postdoctoral studies that were the first to identify the role of corticotropin releasing factor in escalation of nicotine self-administration and demonstrating that escalation of cocaine, methamphetamine and alcohol intake produces a dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex leading to cognitive impairment.
Dr. George has made several breakthrough discoveries including identifying the neuronal ensembles of alcohol and nicotine addiction and discovering a novel neuronal population that drives negative emotional states in nicotine addiction. Dr. George has also pioneered the development of novel animal models of nicotine, opioid and alcohol addiction using electronic cigarette vapor self-administration.
His recent work focuses on unveiling the genetic basis of addiction and identifying brain-wide functional architecture remodeling in animal models of drug addiction using single-cell whole brain imaging. His studies span multiple levels of approaches from molecular to integrated systems using state-of-the-art animal models of addiction with strong translational relevance.
Using these approaches, he has contributed to the development of several Investigational New Drugs and hold several patents. He has given over 115 talks to audiences of all levels, from high school, undergraduate and graduate students, to the general public and scientific colleagues in various fields. Dr. George has published more than 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals. His work is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP).
"The brain is truly one of the last unknown territories in science, studying it is a little bit like sailing a ship to an imaginary world. Finding what you where looking for is an amazing feeling, but the best day is the one where you find something you never expected." Dr. George.