Harriet De Wit is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and the Grossman Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, where she has worked her entire career.
She is an academic researcher that studies the behavioral and neurobiological effects of drug abuse in human volunteers to understand why people use drugs and which individuals are at high risk for problematic drug use. She has studied the effects of a wide range of drugs in humans, including alcohol, nicotine, stimulant drugs, cannabis and most recently, MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD. Her research has been funded continuously by the National Institutes of Health for the past 40 years.
Harriet De Wit received her bachelor's degree from the University of Calgary in 1970 and then worked for several years as a research technician in Oxford, England.
She returned to Canada and obtained her PhD in experimental psychology from Concordia in 1981 under the supervision of professor Jane Stewart. Her dissertation research at Concordia set the stage for her future career in addiction research. Some of the behavioral procedures she developed in her doctoral research, with Stewart, have become standard methods in current addiction studies.
Harriet has contributed to both national and international initiatives in advancing our understanding of substance abuse. She serves on editorial boards of several journals and is a principal editor of the journal, Psychopharmacology. She was the 2019 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society. Harriet currently serves as director of a training grant on addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.