Dr. Comer is a Professor of Neurobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University and a Research Scientist VI at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Following her PhD studies at the University of Michigan and post-doctoral research at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Comer joined Columbia University in 1993, where her research focus has been on the development and testing of novel approaches to the treatment of opioid dependence. She is the Director of the Opioid Laboratories in the Division on Substance Abuse and runs a very active research program devoted to examining various aspects of the abuse liability of opioid medications.
Dr. Comer served on the Institutional Review Board at the NYSPI for 10 years, becoming well-versed with the regulatory requirements of research with human volunteers. In addition, she is an active member of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), the longest standing group in the United States addressing problems of drug dependence and abuse. She served on the Ethics Committee of CPDD from 2004-2006, and on the Program Committee of CPDD from 2007-2013. From 2010-2013, Dr. Comer was Chair of the Program Committee. Furthermore, from 2010-2013, she served on the Board of Directors of CPDD. She was elected President of CPDD and will serve her term from 2015-2016. In 2009 and 2010, Dr. Comer co-chaired meetings sponsored by the Initiative on Methods, Measurements, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials (IMMPACT group) to develop a consensus statement by abuse liability experts, senior regulatory agents from the Food and Drug Administration, and industry representatives on the most appropriate primary and secondary dependent measures to use in abuse liability trials. She has published over 115 papers, chapters, and books on issues related to drug dependence.