Charles P. O’Brien, MD, PhD

Professor and Vice Chair
Department of Psychiatry
School of Medicine
Director of the Center for Studies of Addiction
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dr. Charles O'Brien earned his medical degree and his doctorate degree in neurophysiology from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. He received residency training at Harvard, Tulane, University of London, and University of Pennsylvania in internal medicine, neurology and psychiatry. Currently he is Kenneth Appel Professor and vice chair of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, vice director of the Institute of Neurological Sciences, as well as director of the Center for Studies of Addiction.  At the VA Medical Center, he continues as director of research for the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center.

As chief of psychiatry at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Dr. O'Brien was responsible for over 9,000 psychiatric patients where he established and directed a clinical research program that had a major impact on the treatment of addictive disorders. His research group has been responsible for numerous discoveries on the nature of addiction and improved the results of treatment for addictive disorders. His work involves discovery of CNS changes involved in relapse, new medications, behavioral treatments and instruments for measuring the severity of addictive disorders.  Many of these discoveries are now utilized in common practice for the treatment of addictive disorders throughout the world. Dr. O'Brien was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous research awards, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Bordeaux. He has been an advisor on drug policy to local and national governments, and has chaired or served as a member of numerous IOM committees dealing with the science and policy matters of abused drugs. In addition, Dr. O’Brien is past president of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease. 

Last modified: June 5, 2012