Dr. Messing joined the Center in 2013 and became its director in 2017. He has coauthored over 150 articles, book chapters and reviews and is a recognized authority on the neurobiology of addiction. His major interests are in alcohol and opioid use disorders, and co-morbid pain, anxiety, and mood disorders. He received an MD in 1979 from Stanford University and trained in Neurology at UCSF from 1981-1984, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at UCSF from 1984-86 with David A. Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. He was a faculty member in Neurology at UCSF from 1986 until 2013 when he moved to UT Austin as Vice Provost for Biomedical Sciences to help launch the Dell Medical School. Dr. Messing was recipient of the 2002 MERIT Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and was founding Director of the NIAAA funded Alcohol Center for Translational Genetics at UCSF.
Dr. R. Adron Harris, a leading investigator of the molecular pharmacology of alcohol and related drugs, joined UT Austin in 1998 and became the Founding Director of the Center in 1999. Dr. Harris is author or co-author of more than 500 scientific articles which have been cited more than 30,000 times. He is the recipient of the 1999 Outstanding Researcher of the Year, 2010 Seixas Service and 2017 Marlatt Mentorship Awards from the Research Society on Alcoholism, and the 2004 Jellinek Memorial Award, an international prize given each year to the scientist who has made the greatest contribution to the understanding of alcoholism as a disease. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry.