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NIAAA Staff Profile


National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Focus Area

Clinical Research; Molecular Pharmacology; Neuroscience; Social and Behavioral Sciences

Biographical Summary

Dr. Leggio is a physician-scientist whose clinical work and clinical research have been primarily focused on the treatment of alcohol and substance use disorders and on the medical consequences of alcohol use disorder, especially alcohol-associated liver and cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Leggio, together with his team of trainees, colleagues, and collaborators, have conducted research on medication development, on the role of the microbiome-gut-liver-brain axis, on the role of neuroendocrine pathways in addiction, via human laboratory studies and clinical trials as well as via translational and reverse translational experimental medicine approaches in animal models. Dr. Leggio received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Rome and Agostino Gemelli Hospital, where he also completed residency and received Board Certification in Internal Medicine. He was a postdoctoral research associate in Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, Providence, RI, where he joined the core faculty of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies as Assistant Professor in 2010. As PI at Brown University, he received extramural research funding from NIAAA and NIDA, as well as from several foundations. Dr. Leggio was recruited as a Tenure-Track Clinical Investigator (joint NIAAA/NIDA) at the NIH IRP, where he also serves as a NIH Senior Attending Medical Staff. In 2018, Dr. Leggio was awarded NIH tenure through the Central Tenure Committee and promoted to Senior Investigator (Clinical).

Dr. Leggio currently serves as the NIDA Clinical Director and Deputy Scientific Director. He was the founder in 2012 and current Chief of the Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology Section, a joint NIDA and NIAAA laboratory. He was the founder in 2020 and current Chief of the NIDA IRP Translational Addiction Medicine Branch. Dr. Leggio serves as the Director for the NIDA IRP Translational Analytical Core and senior medical advisor to the NIAAA Director. He is also Adjunct Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown University, Adjunct Professor of Addiction Medicine at Johns Hopkins University and Adjunct Professor of Neuroscience at Georgetown University. He previously served on other NIH IRP roles, including Associate Director for Clinical Research for the NIDA IRP Medication Development Program, NIDA Acting Clinical Director, Chair of the joint NIAAA/NIDA Scientific Review Committee, and Vice-Chair of the joint NIDA/NIAAA Addictions Institutional Review Board.

In 2022, Dr. Leggio was elected Fellow of the American College on Neuropsychopharmacology. Among other honors, Dr. Leggio received the 2008 Nordmann Award from the European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism, a 2010 Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the 2016 Early Career Investigator Award from the Research Society on Alcohol, the 2018 Eva King Killam Award from the American College on Neuropsychopharmacology, the 2020 Jacob P. Waletzky Award from the Society for Neuroscience and the 2023 Ward & Ryan Donovan Lectureship Award from the American College of Medical Toxicology.








Updated 6/2023

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