2022 GSBS Distinguished Alumnus Award
This award is presented annually to a graduate who has made outstanding contributions in the area of service, involvement and leadership or has achieved special recognition in his or her professional career. This is the highest honor bestowed to an alumnus by the GSBS Associates.
Richard (Rich) De La Garza completed his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1996 followed by postdocs at Harvard Medical School and Yale University School of Medicine. He has held faculty positions at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Baylor College of Medicine, and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Currently, Dr. De La Garza is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. De La Garza is an addiction neuropharmacologist and conducts studies in humans to investigate the safety and efficacy of novel medications for opioid, methamphetamine, and cocaine use disorders. He is also interested in cancer prevention as it relates to smoking cessation research, including research on e-cigarettes. Dr. De La Garza has published more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific articles that have been cited more than 5,800 times. He has been funded over the past 25 years by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Cancer Institute. He has received numerous honors including being named a Distinguished Alumnus of his alma mater (Texas A&M Commerce) and being appointed a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. De La Garza was a member of the Board of Directors and is past President of the College on the Problems of Drug Dependence – the oldest and largest scientific society dedicated to addiction research in the country.