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Leonard Howell, PhD

Yerkes Imaging Center

Phone: 404-727-7786

Fax: 404-727-1266


Lab Web Site:


Leonard Howell, PhD, is an expert in nonhuman primate models of drug addiction. His interests range from basic neurobiology of the central nervous system to medication development for treatment of cocaine addiction in humans.

Howell's research program focuses on the neuropharmacology of abused stimulants and includes basic neurobiological studies of drug mechanisms as well as medications development to treat stimulant abuse. The program is translational in its focus and bridges preclinical, nonhuman primate models with therapeutic applications in humans. Additional interests include the long-term consequences of chronic stimulant use on behavior and brain function. The long-range goal is to develop a unique, multidisciplinary research program in substance abuse that effectively integrates behavior, neurochemistry and functional brain imaging in nonhuman primates. To acknowledge Dr. Howell’s leadership and the promise his research offers, the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) recognized him in 2006 with a MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) Award, which provides long-term support for researchers whose competence and productivity are considered distinctly superior. He is also the recipient of a Senior Research Scientist and Mentorship Award (K05) from NIDA.

In his role as the Imaging Center director, Howell provides oversight of research projects to study non-invasively the living brain to better answer questions focused on neurophysiology, neuroscience, neurology and neurodegenerative diseases. The Imaging Center employs the latest generation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) equipment to perform novel basic studies in nonhuman primates and rodents, and translational studies to integrate new projects into clinical research applications.

Dr. Howell is a member of national and international committees, including the executive committee of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) , and he holds memberships in numerous professional organizations, including the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). He is also a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD).


View publications on PubMed