Sandra Comer, PhD

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Overview

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Neurobiology (in Psychiatry) at CUMC

Dr. Sandra Comer is a Professor of Neurobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, and a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Comer received her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University (1987), and completed her graduate training at the University of Michigan, where she received her Master of Science (1988) and Doctorate in Philosophy (1992) degrees for her research on the effects of opioid drugs in the laboratory of Dr. James H. Woods. Following graduate school, Dr. Comer completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. There she received training in preclinical models of cocaine self-administration in rodents and non-human primates in the laboratory of Dr. Marilyn Carroll. In 1993, Dr. Comer began working in the Division on Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Here she received training in clinical studies under the mentorship of Drs. Marian Fischman and Richard Foltin. Dr. Comer's research focus has been on the development and testing of novel approaches to the treatment of opioid dependence, and the relationship between pain and opioid abuse. Dr. Comer has served as a regular member of various grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health, and was a voting member of the Institutional Review Board of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and of the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Comer is the author or co-author of more than 120 papers, chapters, and books dealing with several aspects of substance abuse. She currently is Past-President of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the longest-standing organization in the U.S. addressing substance use disorders.

Research

Dr. Comer's research focuses on the testing of novel compounds for the treatment of opioid dependence. In addition, she is currently studying the complex relationship between pain and opioid abuse.

For the past two decades, Dr. Comer has been investigating novel medications for the treatment of opioid dependence. She developed a unique laboratory model of drug self-administration in human research volunteers in order to study the ability of potential treatment medications to reduce drug taking behavior. Thus far, she has examined both agonist (buprenorphine, buprenorphine/naloxone) and antagonist opioid medications (depot naltrexone), as well as glutamate antagonists (memantine, dextromethorphan). Currently, she is studying glial cell modulators (pioglitazone, ibudilast, minocycline) as potential treatment medications. In addition to her search for medications that may be useful for treating opioid dependence, Dr. Comer is currently studying the complex relationship between chronic pain and opioid abuse. More recently, Dr. Comer has begun to evaluate the effects of methamphetamine on the blood-brain barrier in humans using a novel MRI technique.

Grants

THE UTILITY OF A POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL LABELING PROCEDURE FOR IDENTIFYING FRAUDULENT URINE SAMPLES (P&S Industry Clinical Trial)

Nov 18 2013 - Nov 18 2018

RISK AND BENEFITS OF OVERDOSE EDUCATION AND NALOXONE PRESCRIBING TO HEROIN USERS (Federal Gov)

Sep 15 2014 - Feb 28 2018

RISK AND BENEFITS OF OVERDOSE EDUCATION AND NALOXONE PRESCRIBING TO HEROIN USERS (Federal Gov)

Sep 15 2014 - Aug 31 2017

DYNAMIC CONTRAST-ENHANCED MRI TO MEASURE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER PERMEABILITY IN SUBSTANCE ABUSERS (Federal Gov)

Jul 1 2015 - Jun 30 2017

SHARED PHARMACOTHERAPEUTIC STRATEGIES FOR CANNABINOID & OPIOID USE DISORDERS (Federal Gov)

Sep 1 2014 - Jun 30 2017

CERC-501: KAPPA ANTAGONIST FOR NICOTINE DEPENDENCE (Federal Gov)

May 1 2016 - Apr 30 2017

RISK AND BENEFITS OF OVERDOSE EDUCATION AND NALOXONE PRESCRIBING TO HEROIN USERS (Federal Gov)

Sep 15 2014 - Aug 31 2016

VACCINES FOR PRESCRIPTION OPIOD AND HEROIN ABUSE (Federal Gov)

Sep 1 2015 - Jul 31 2016

ADHERENCE TO BUPRENORPHINE/NALOXONE IN OPIOID DEPENDENT INDI VIDUALS AND ITS CORRELATES: AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY ON INDIVID (Federal Gov)

Sep 20 2010 - Sep 19 2011

Selected Publications

  • Cooper ZD, Johnson KW, Pavlicova M, Glass A, Vosburg SK, Sullivan MA, Manubay JM, Martinez DM, Jones JD, Saccone PA, Comer SD: The effects of ibudilast, a glial activation inhibitor, on opioid withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent volunteers. Addict Biol 2015; in press
  • Comer SD, Mogali S, Saccone PA, Askalsky P, Martinez D, Walker EA, Jones JD, Vosburg SK, Cooper ZD, Roux P, Sullivan MA, Manubay JM, Rubin E, Pines A, Berkower EL, Haney M, Foltin RW.: Effects of acute oral naltrexone on the subjective and physiological effects of oral D-amphetamine and smoked cocaine in cocaine abusers. Neuropsychopharmacology 2013;38: 2427-38
  • Jones JD, Sullivan MA, Manubay J, Vosburg SK, Comer SD: The subjective, reinforcing and analgesic effects of oxycodone in patients with chronic, non-malignant pain who are maintained on sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone. Neuropsychopharmacol 2011;36: 411-422
  • Comer SD, Sullivan MA, Vosburg SK, Kowalczyk WJ, Houser J: Abuse liability of oxycodone as a function of pain and drug use history. Drug Alcohol Depend 2010;109: 130-138
  • Comer SD, Sullivan MA, Vosburg SK, Manubay JM, Amass L, Cooper ZD, Saccone P, Kleber HD: Abuse liability of intravenous buprenorphine/naloxone and buprenorphine alone in buprenorphine-maintained intravenous drug abusers. Addiction 2010;105: 709-718