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School of Medicine profiles

October 2, 2009

Robert Balster, Ph.D.

balster.jpgThis summer, Robert Balster received the Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the largest and oldest organization for the scientific study of drug dependence and addiction.

More than three decades earlier, the CPDD’s annual scientific meeting was the venue for his first-ever presentation at a national scientific conference. That was 1973, the same year as Nathan Eddy’s death. Balster recalls: “As intimidated as I was by all of the assembled expertise in drug abuse research that was in the audience, it never occurred to me that I would stand before the College these many years later to receive the Nathan B. Eddy Award.”

But in the intervening years, Balster would go on to edit two books and author more than 270 scientific papers and 46 book chapters. He has had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1976 and has served in leadership roles with not only the CPDD, but also the World Health Organization, the FDA and the American Psychological Association.

He also points to being named to the Butler Professorship in 2003 and receiving VCU’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Service in 1999 as important factors in establishing his qualifications for the Eddy Award.