Igor Grant, MD, FRCP(C), an internationally recognized neuropsychiatrist, whose research interests have ranged from the neurobiology of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse, psychobiology of stress, to the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis, has been named the new Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
Grant, who had been executive vice-chair, succeeds Lewis Judd, MD, who is stepping down after 36 years in the position – the longest serving department chair in the history of the university.
“Igor Grant has been at UC San Diego more than 40 years and has served as executive vice chair in the department for the past 20. No one could be more familiar with this magnificent department, and I am sure he will continue to guide it well through its next phase of development and excellence,” said Judd. “I know that with Dr. Grant as a leader, we are in good hands.”
Grant takes the reins of a psychiatry department that has consistently ranked among the top 10 in the nation, with a research and clinical faculty second to none. Over the years, Grant has been an essential contributor to much of that achievement, holding a variety of leadership positions. For example, he is currently director of the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program, comprised of scientists from multiple disciplines, and which includes the California NeuroAIDS Tissue Network, the Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center, the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center, the CNS HIV Anti-Retroviral Therapy Effects Research program and the UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. Over the past decade he was ranked among the top 10 clinical investigators in the nation in terms of funding from the National Institutes of Health.
He is also adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University.
“Dr. Grant embodies the extraordinary scope and depth of research in the Department of Psychiatry. Indeed, he has been fundamental to its rise and enduring excellence,” said David Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. “Dr. Grant has always been at the forefront of his science, pushing for answers to questions in new and sometimes controversial or difficult areas. I have no doubt that the Department of Psychiatry will continue to excel under his leadership.”
In tandem with research and academic responsibilities, Grant will also oversee development and achievement of strategic goals and growth related to clinical programs and quality, including patient access, satisfaction and experience within the UC San Diego Health System.
Grant is the founding editor of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society and founding co-editor of the journal AIDS and Behavior. He has authored or co-authored almost 700 published scholarly papers, written or edited eight books and been on the editorial boards of multiple journals. He has mentored numerous MD and PhD students and junior faculty.
Grant earned his MD from the University of British Columbia Medical School in 1966, and received psychiatric specialty training at the University of Pennsylvania, where he held an appointment as Instructor in Psychiatry until 1972. He became Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada in 1971.
After arriving in San Diego, Grant also assumed a variety of positions with the VA Medical Center where he was responsible for starting the Mental Health Clinic at that newly opened hospital. In addition, he was visiting professor at the Institute of Neurology of the University of London twice, in 1980 and 1987, and visiting professor of Immunology at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, also in London. From 2007 to 2010 he served on the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and is currently a member of the NIH Office on AIDS Research National Advisory Council.
Among his honors: A 2005 Health Sciences Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at UC San Diego; a Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Neuropsychology Award from the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN) in 2007 and the 2013 Nelson Butters Award for Research Contributions to Clinical Neuropsychology, also from the NAN.