Porrino Named Chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine

June 2, 2009



WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – After a national search, Linda J. Porrino, Ph.D., has been named chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The appointment is effective July 1, 2009.
Porrino joined the medical school faculty in 1990 and has been professor of physiology and pharmacology since 1997. She was named interim chair of the department in 2008.

She follows James E. Smith, Ph.D., now chair emeritus, who headed the department for almost 20 years. Total research funding for the department last year was $14 million, a figure that places the department among the top 10 in the country. Research areas include substance abuse, aging, cardiovascular, neuropsychiatric disorders and cognitive behavior.

“Dr. Porrino brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in research, education and administration, both institutional and extramural, to her new position of leadership and will play a vital role in the future of the department and the institution,” said William B. Applegate, M.D., president of Wake Forest University Health Sciences and dean of the medical school.

A graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, Porrino received a Ph.D. in psychology from New York University, followed by postdoctoral work as a fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health. She has more than 10 years of experience at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including two years as chief of the Unit on Brain Imaging for the Surgical Neurology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. She has served continuously as a consultant to the NIH since 1991.

Porrino is scientific director of the Center for the Neurobiological Investigation of Drug Abuse at the medical school and principal investigator or project director on several federal grants and program projects. Her primary research focus is neuroimaging of structural and functional central nervous system changes that accompany chronic exposure to drugs such as cocaine and marijuana in both animal and human models. She is author or coauthor of nearly 30 books and book chapters and more than 100 journal articles, and has been editor-in-chief of the journal Neuroscience and Behavioral Review since 2005.

In addition, she is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and president-elect and member of the board of directors of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.

EDITORS: Click here for a photo of Porrino.


Media Relations

Paula Faria: pfaria@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-1279