Sandra Comer, PhD
Dr. Sandra Comer is a Professor of Neurobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, and a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Comer’s research focuses on the testing of novel compounds for the treatment of opioid dependence. In addition, she is currently studying the complex relationship between pain and opioid abuse. For the past two decades, Dr. Comer has been investigating novel medications for the treatment of opioid dependence. She developed a unique laboratory model of drug self-administration in human research volunteers in order to study the ability of potential treatment medications to reduce drug taking behavior. Thus far, she has examined both agonist (buprenorphine, buprenorphine/naloxone) and antagonist opioid medications (depot naltrexone), as well as glutamate antagonists (memantine, dextromethorphan). Currently, she is studying glial cell modulators (pioglitazone, ibudilast, minocycline) as potential treatment medications. In addition to her search for medications that may be useful for treating opioid dependence, Dr. Comer is currently studying the complex relationship between chronic pain and opioid abuse. More recently, Dr. Comer has begun to evaluate the effects of methamphetamine on the blood-brain barrier in humans using a novel MRI technique.