Marilyn A. Huestis, Ph.D.

Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Cannabinoid Pharmacotherapies

Professor Dr. Dr. (h.c.) Marilyn A. Huestis brings an extraordinary breadth and depth in clinical and forensic toxicology, anti-doping, diagnostic screening and confirmation drug testing, and cannabinoid agonists and antagonists. Through her research, she focused on improving people’s lives by reducing deaths from drugged driving, finding novel medications to treat drug dependence and using drug testing as a tool for drug dependence treatment. Her research encompassed the mechanisms of action of cannabinoid agonists and antagonists, effects of in utero drug exposure, and the neurobiology and pharmacokinetics of novel psychoactive substances.

In 2016, Marilyn retired as a tenured senior investigator and Chief, Chemistry and Drug Metabolism Section, IRP, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, after 23 years of conducting controlled drug administration studies. Her research program focused on discovering mechanisms of action of cannabinoid agonists and antagonists, effects of in utero drug exposure, alternative matrices drug testing, driving under the influence of drugs, and the neurobiology and pharmacokinetics of novel psychoactive substances. She also was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine until 2017.

Currently, she is a Senior Fellow at the Institute on Emerging Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University on the Steering Committee of The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, Thomas Jefferson Medical School, both in Philadelphia, on the Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Science Advisory Board, a Senior Scientific Advisor of NMS Labs, Consultant to the US Department of Transportation, and President of Huestis & Smith Toxicology, LLC.

She has published 474 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and more than 800 abstracts were presented at national and international meetings. Professor Huestis received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College (cum laude), a master’s degree in clinical chemistry from the University of New Mexico (with honors), and a doctoral degree in toxicology from the University of Maryland (with honors). Professor Huestis received a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki in Finland in 2010.

Other important awards include the 2018 National Safety Council’s Borkenstein Award for her “significant and prolific contributions to forensic toxicology”, 2017 Sir Kenneth Standard Distinguished Lecturer for the University of the West Indies, 2016 Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Orator, Melbourne, Australia, 2016 Marian W. Fischman Lectureship Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, 2016 Saferstein Memorial Distinguished Lecturer at Northeastern University, 2015 Excellence in Scientific Research, Women Scientist Advisory NIDA Investigator Award, 2015 Norman P. Kubasik AACC Lectureship Award, 2015 Distinguished Fellow from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), 2010 The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) Alan Curry Award, 2008 American Association for Clinical Chemistry Outstanding Contributions in a Selected Area of Research Award, 2007 International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology (IATDMCT) Irving Sunshine Award, 2005 AAFS Rolla N. Harger Award, and 1992 Irving Sunshine Award for Outstanding Research in Forensic Toxicology.

The journal Clinical Chemistry featured her as an “Inspiring Mind”. She currently serves on the Organization of Scientific Area Committee on Toxicology, World Anti-doping Agency’s Prohibited List Committee, Transportation Research Board Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs, the National Safety Council’s Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division Executive Board, and on the National Commission on Forensic Sciences prior to its termination. She is past president of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists, past Chair of the Toxicology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and past president of The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists.