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Kenneth Blum

Kenneth Blum

University of Florida


Blum received his B.S. in pharmacy from Columbia University in 1961, his M.S. in medical science in 1965 from the New Jersey College of Medicine, and his Ph.D. in pharmacology in 1968 from the New York Medical College. Blum completed post-doctorate research in psychopharmacology at the Southwest Foundation for Research and Education where Irving Geller was his mentor. He also completed a fellowship in pharmacogenetics under Gerald McClearn at the University of Colorado College of Pharmacy (Boulder) in 1977. Blum's most important work was a 1990 study he co-led with Ernest Noble, the former director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, that correlated the dopamine D2 Receptor Taq 1 allele with alcoholism. This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Blum expanded his research of genes involved in brain reward circuitry. By the early 1980s there were many suggestions that alcoholism had genetic antecedents and a high heritability. This research stimulated further studies of gene associations. Though the press has called his finding the "alcoholic gene," Blum believed his work to be of broader scope, calling this gene a "reward gene" which covers other addictive behaviors including drug addiction, smoking, overeating, and pathological gambling.


Neuropsychiatry and Genetics, Nutritional Genetics, and Pharmacogenetics