Celeste T Napier, PhD

Department of Pharmacology, Rush Medical College
Department of Pharmacology, Graduate College
Role: Researcher, Faculty, Director
Joined Rush in October 2006


I am a professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. I am also the Director of the Center for Compulsive Behavior and Addiction at Rush University.

My academic background includes a PhD in Pharmacology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas and post-doctoral training in Neurobiology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I have conducted research sabbaticals at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut and the University of Washington Health Sciences Center, Seattle, Washington.

I have received continuous research support from the National Institute of Health (NIH) since 1990. My scientific interests include the neuroscience of motivational behaviors, including those that regulate healthy decision-making versus those associated with drug and behavioral addictions. My work also encompasses addiction co-morbidity with other mental and neurological diseases. I have authored over 200 publications on topics that span molecular biology, biochemistry, neurophysiology and behavior. My research directly translates into medication development for mental health disorders.

My extensive academic service includes President of the Chicago Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, membership in NIH scientific review committees, an organizer of numerous international conferences and editor or reviewer for over thirty scientific journals and books. I am the Scientific Advisor for the Robert Crown Center for Health Education (Hinsdale, Illinois), a Board Member for Epworth Village (York, Nebraska), a home for disadvantaged children, and the Illinois Council on Responsible Gaming. I have provided expert testimony to the US Congress’s Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology, and to the Illinois House of Representatives’, Heroin and Youth Task Force Hearing. I am frequently sought after by the news media to comment on matters related to neuropharmacology, drug addiction and the adolescent brain. For my outstanding contributions to neuroscience education, research and outreach in Chicago, I received the 2015 Career Achievement Award from the Chicago Chapter of the International Society for Neuroscience.

What inspired you to get into your field?

I loved the idea of being able to study the brain and to contribute to neurotherapeutics.

What excited you about your work at Rush?

The work being done at Rush in the field of neuroscience neuropharmacology excited me.

What is your opinion of mentoring and sponsorship?

I think it is very important to train young scientists. I am pleased that Rush is sponsoring this effort via the Mentoring Program.

Do you have tips or advice you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

You must love it.

What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your free time?

How I spend my free time is not relevant.