Eric Rubin, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Eric Rubin is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in the Division on Substance Abuse, Columbia University. He is a neuroscientist (Ph.D., Washington University) and research and clinical psychiatrist (M.D., University of Rochester, psychiatric residency Columbia University/NYSPI). Dr. Rubin completed an NIH fellowship at Columbia (conjointly in brain imaging and Affective and Anxiety Disorders) before joining the Division on Substance Abuse in 1996. In 1999, he was named Florence Irving Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University. In 2005 he became medical director of the Human Psychopharmacology Laboratory, Division on Substance Abuse, Columbia University. He directs a variety of functional brain imaging projects aimed at understanding the acute and chronic effects of drugs of abuse on the human brain.


Current Research Activities:

Brain imaging studies of cocaine dependence and depression
This NIH-funded work uses positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging to examine how long-term cocaine use may alter brain systems regulating mood, in an effort to better understand the high degree of depression found as a comorbid condition with cocaine dependence.

Identification of brain changes related to treatment response in substance dependence
Individuals with comorbid cocaine dependence and depression undergo PET scans before and after combined medication and cognitive-behavioral treatment. This work aims to identify brain changes related to treatment response in this difficult-to-treat population. Additional PET studies aim to understand the neural basis for cognitive impairments in drug-dependent individuals that may impede retention in treatment. Extending this work, studies planned for the near future will apply functional magnetic resonance imaging to study neural and cognitive changes related to successful treatment for cocaine dependence.

Training Opportunities:

Dr. Rubin mentors postdoctoral research fellows through Dr. Herbert Kleber's Postdoctoral Fellowship as well as teaching medical students and psychiatric residents.

Recent Publications