Suzanne K. Vosburg, Ph.D.

Dr. Suzanne K. Vosburg is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, and a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, her Master's of Science degree from the Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and her Doctorate from the University of Bergen in Norway. Dr. Vosburg's graduate research investigated the relationship between mood and creative problem solving, during which time she developed an enduring interest in data analysis and research methodology. This interest led to her joining the Division on Substance Abuse first as a data analyst, and subsequently as an investigator. In the process of acquiring the knowledge and training necessary to conduct studies investigating the effects of medications and drugs of abuse, Dr. Vosburg has worked with many members of the Division. She is particularly interested in the effects of opioids, and she and Dr. Sandra Comer collaborate on multiple protocols that study opioid self-administration. In addition, she oversees the Columbia University Buprenorphine Program, under the guidance of Dr. Herbert Kleber, where she directs the developing research program.


Current Research Activities:

Buprenorphine taper after extended periods of maintenance.
Much of the work that has been conducted on detoxification from buprenorphine has focused on short taper schedules. It has also been driven by the study of patients who have not experienced extended periods of maintenance. Dr. Vosburg has proposed that patients who fail short buprenorphine tapers may require longer periods of dose reduction, versus longer periods of maintenance, a paradigm that may be more reflective of the clinical setting.

Abuse liability of prescription opioids.
Prior data have shown that opioid self-administration varies as a function of drug abuse history and pain. Drs. Vosburg and Comer have proposed studying patterns of prescription opioid self-administration across groups of participants with varying degrees of opioid abuse and pain to attempt to disentangle the interaction between these two characteristics. Dr. Vosburg is the lead investigator on this protocol.

Abuse liability of tamper resistant formulations. To begin to address the public health concern of prescription opioid abuse, pharmaceutical companies have begun to develop tamper resistant formulations of opioid medications. Drs. Vosburg and Comer are studying the effects of the formulations on their abuse liability. Dr. Vosburg is the lead investigator on these protocols.

Effects of marijuana and cocaine on creative problem solving. There has been virtually no work done examining the effects of drugs of abuse on creativity, although the idea of a relationship existing between the two has been a popular concept. Dr. Vosburg has collected data addressing this relationship, and will pursue this work incorporating other licit and illicit drugs that are abused.

Teaching Activities and Training Opportunities:

Dr. Vosburg has advised Ph.D. candidates on matters related to research design and data analysis. She provides statistical counsel to faculty and fellows within the Division, and has lectured at the undergraduate, graduate, and research fellow levels. She is developing an applied statistics course for T32 research fellows in the Department of Psychiatry.

Recent Publications