Laura J. Bierut, MD
K12 Program Director


Dr. Bierut is Alumni Endowed Professor and Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Psychiatry. She is an accomplished educator and research mentor of physicians and PhDs and, she is an internationally recognized expert in the genetics of substance use disorder. She has held numerous national advisory positions, including a 4-year term as a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse, which serves a crucial role in advising the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on identifying, reviewing, and supporting the highest caliber of scientific research.

She recently became a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Human Genome Research Institute to similarly advise the National Institutes of Health on genomics research. She is a member of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, which advises the FDA on the scientific basis of regulating tobacco products, and she is Co-Chair of the Smoking Cessation Panel for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Dr. Bierut is also an active member in the NIDA Genetics Consortium, a national group of scientists who are leading NIDA’s efforts to understand genetic causes of substance use disorder. In recognition of her mentoring, Dr. Bierut was awarded the Distinguished Educator-Postdoctoral Research Mentoring Award – the highest such recognition at Washington University. She is the recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award from the Washington University medical students, a Washington University Distinguished Faculty award, and a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical School Education from the American Psychiatric Association.

Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, PhD
K12 Program Co-Director


Dr. Cavazos-Rehg is Professor and Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in the Department of Psychiatry. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in the implementation of effective treatments for substance use disorder in clinical and community settings.

Dr. Cavazos-Rehg has successfully mentored numerous pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees as well as several junior faculty over the course of her career. In 2017, she was named Director of the Mentored Training Program in Clinical Investigation (MTPCI), which promotes the career development of junior faculty and postdoctoral fellows who have committed their careers to academic medicine by training them to become clinical and translational researchers. In 2019, Dr. Cavazos-Rehg received NIH funding to co-lead the Training Leaders to Accelerate Global Mental Health Disparities in Research (LEAD), a program funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities that focuses on global mental health disparities and trains advanced pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral trainees from diverse backgrounds in the US. In 2020 Dr. Cavazos-Rehg was named Outstanding Global Health Mentor by the Institute of Public Health at Washington University, and in 2014, 2018, and 2021 she was named Course Master of the Year in the Master of Science in Applied Health Behavior Research program.