Alexander Herman Joins Medical Discovery Team on Addiction at University of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, MN- July 22, 2019 – The University of Minnesota Medical School has announced Alexander B. Herman, M.D., Ph.D., will join the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, as well as the Medical Discovery Team (MDT) on Addiction.

“We are extremely excited to recruit Dr. Herman to the team,” said Tim Ebner, M.D., Head of the Department of Neuroscience, and Interim Director of the Medical Discovery Team (MDT) on Addiction at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “Physician-scientists, like Dr. Herman, provide a perspective that is essential to our goals of translating research discoveries into therapeutic options for those suffering with addiction. In addition to his clinical expertise in psychiatry and addiction, Dr. Herman’s research background in computational science, decision-making and neuromodulation therapies will enhance the Team’s capabilities to conduct high impact science leading to new, more effective addiction treatments.”

The overarching vision of the Medical Discovery Team on Addiction is to link basic research to new therapeutic approaches to treating addiction. The MDT is a multi-departmental endeavor across the University of Minnesota Medical School to advance research and treatment in the field of drug addiction.

“I am excited to join the MDT on Addiction and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. As a physician-scientist, I see clearly how fundamental progress in understanding and treatment depends on the interdisciplinary, bench to bedside approach being pioneering by the MDT,” said Herman when asked about joining the faculty. “These exceptional young scientists, coming from a wide-range of backgrounds, create an ideal community for me to help develop novel therapeutic approaches to treating addiction. I am honored to join this initiative started by the University of Minnesota, and supported by the governor and legislature.”

“Dr. Herman will be a vital component to our team of exceptional scientists who work together to discover what drug addiction is and determine how to tackle it,” said Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the Medical School and Vice President for Academic Clinical Affairs. “We are grateful for the support of state lawmakers, who have made this initiative possible.”

Herman joined the faculty in the summer of 2019. Prior to joining the MDT on Addiction, he was a MnDRIVE neuromodulation fellow and psychiatry resident at the University of Minnesota as well as at the University of California, San Francisco. He obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Francisco as part of the prestigious NIH Medical Scientist Training Program. Prior to that, he studied complex systems at the Santa Fe Institute. He obtained his B.A. in Physics with High Honors from Wesleyan University. Dr. Herman’s work has been published in top journals including the Journal of Neuroscience and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Dr. Herman’s human neuroscience lab studies neural mechanisms of decision making that are impaired in addiction and amenable to treatment with neuromodulation. His lab combines invasive and non-invasive methods including intracranial electrophysiology, direct brain stimulation, magnetoencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Advanced computational methods are utilized to find underlying connections between brain activity, stimulation and behavior. Clinically, Dr. Herman is developing a specialty practice in refractory mood and anxiety comorbid with addiction and chronic pain disorders. 

“Dr. Herman has a unique background as a psychiatrist focused on addiction and a biomedical engineer versed in the measurement of brain circuits,” said Sophia Vinogradov, M.D., Head of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Minnesota Medical School. “These skills are aligned with the department’s focus on connecting behavior with what is going on in the brain. I believe that insights from this approach will provide us with new treatments that are so urgently needed for addiction.” 

The Medical Discovery Team on Addiction is recruiting up to eleven basic scientists and physician-scientists from diverse disciplines, including pharmacology, neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry, and radiology.

About the University of Minnesota Medical School
The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. Visit med.umn.edu to learn how the University of Minnesota is innovating all aspects of medicine.

Contact: Kelly Glynn
Media Relations Coordinator, University of Minnesota Medical School
glynn040@umn.edu
414-758-3191

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