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Gayathri J. Dowling, PhD

Director of the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Project
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Gayathri J. Dowling, PhD, is the Director of the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Project at the National Institute on Drug Abuse — part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The ABCD Study®, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States, has enrolled nearly 12,000 children ages 9-10. The study will follow them through their teens and into early adulthood to explore how diverse experiences during adolescence shape brain, cognitive, social, emotional, and academic development. Previously, Dr. Dowling served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education, and Communications at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Chief of Science Policy at NIDA. In these positions, she provided evidence-based information to patients and their family members, health professionals, researchers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to inform policy and promote the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of diseases. Dr. Dowling earned a PhD in neurobiology from the University of California at Davis, where she studied the developing nervous system. She subsequently conducted research at the Parkinson’s Institute prior to joining NIH, where she initially worked at the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.