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Robert O. Messing, M.D.


Stanford University


Residency, Neurology
University of California San Francisco

Fellowship, Neuroscience
University of California San Francisco


Robert Messing, M.D., is the director of the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research and a professor in the Department of Neurology.

Messing received his Bachelor of Arts with honors in history in 1974 and his medical degree in 1979, both from Stanford University. He trained in internal medicine from 1979 to 1981 at the University of Virginia, and then in neurology at the University of California, San Francisco from 1981 to 1984, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at UCSF from 1984 to 1986 with David A. Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. He joined the UCSF neurology faculty in 1986 and was a member of the UCSF neuroscience graduate program. He was a principal investigator at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, where he became vice president for internal affairs. He was the founding director of the NIAAA-funded Alcohol Center for Translational Genetics at UCSF from 2008 to 2013.

In 2013 he was recruited to The University of Texas at Austin and served until 2015 as the vice provost for biomedical sciences to help launch the Dell Medical School. From 2015 to 2017, he served as associate dean for research development for Dell Med. In September 2017 he became director of the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research at UT Austin. He is currently a professor in the Department of Neurology at Dell Medical School and Department of Neuroscience in the College of Natural Sciences, and he serves as senior adviser to the dean of Dell Medical School for research strategy.

Professional Affiliations
  • American Neurological Association
  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Research Society on Alcoholism
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics
Awards & Honors
  • Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award
    NIAAA, 2002-2012
  • Endowed Chair in Neurology in Honor of the Gallo Family
    UCSF, 2004-2013
  • Harrington Innovator-Scholar Award
    Harrington Discovery Institute, 2018-2019