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The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

Abel Lajtha, Ph.D.

Abel Lajtha, Ph.D.

Department Director

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Neurochemistry as a research discipline was started by the New York State Office of Mental Health in 1963, with the establishment of the Research Institute for Neurochemistry and Drug Addiction at Wards Island. Dr. Abel Lajtha was appointed the Director, and he remains the Director of the Center for Neurochemistry at NKI. He was also appointed Research Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine in 1971.

In addition to directing the various research programs of the Center for the last 50+ years, Dr. Lajtha has organized numerous conferences and symposia, and served on several advisory boards. He has received several honors, including an honorary M.D. degree from the University of Padua, and has been President of the International Society of Neurochemistry (1975-77), and the American Society for Neurochemistry (1979-81). He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Handbook of Neurochemistry and of the journal Neurochemical Research.

Dr. Lajtha served as President of the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. for 40 years beginning in 1977. He also chaired NKI's Institutional Review Board for many years beginning in 1994.



  • Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • Armenian Academy of Sciences
  • Slovenian Academy of Sciences

Honorary Doctorate, University of Padua

Select Publications

Lajtha A, Sershen H. Nicotine: alcohol reward interactions. Neurochem Res 2010; 35(8):1248-1258.

Smith RC, Zhubi A, Maloku E, Sershen H, Lajtha A, Davis JM et al. Varenicline treatment decreases DNMT1 mRNA expression in lymphocytes of schizophrenic patients who are cigarette smokers. Schizophr Res 2010; 119(1-3):269-270.

Lajtha A, Sershen H. Heterogeneity of reward mechanisms. Neurochem Res 2010; 35(6):851-867.

Fallon S, Shearman E, Sershen H, Lajtha A. The effects of glutamate and GABA receptor antagonists on nicotine-induced neurotransmitter changes in cognitive areas. Neurochem Res 2007; 32(4-5):535-553.

Shearman E, Rossi S, Szasz B, Juranyi Z, Fallon S, Pomara N et al. Changes in cerebral neurotransmitters and metabolites induced by acute donepezil and memantine administrations: a microdialysis study. Brain Res Bull 2006; 69(2):204-213.