Marc A. Schuckit, M.D. 

Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
Editor, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Director of the Alcohol Medial Scholars Program

Contact Information

8950 Villa La Jolla Drive, Suite B-218
La Jolla, CA 92093-0866
T: (858) 822-0880
F: (858) 822-1002


Dr. Schuckit received a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, an M.D. from Washington University, interned at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and was a resident in psychiatry at Washington University and UCSD. He was a special advisor to the Commanding Officer of the Naval Health Research Center (1972–1974), and the first Director of the Alcohol and Drug Institute, University of Washington (1975–1978). He returned to San Diego in 1978 as Director of the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program, University of California, San Diego, and the VA San Diego Healthcare System, which he directed until July 1, 2009. His research focuses on genetic and environmental influences in alcohol and drug use disorders, comorbid psychiatric conditions in the context of alcohol and drug use, and diagnostic systems related to these conditions. Dr. Schuckit’s recent projects include increasing the understanding of the biologic underpinnings of the low sensitivity to alcohol through functional brain imaging techniques, and implementing a program to decrease heavy drinking in adolescents by teaching them about genetically influenced characteristics they carry that increase their risks for alcohol-related problems.

Research Interests

Research Focus

Dr. Schuckit’s major focus is alcohol and drugs. He was Chair of the DSM-IV substance disorders workgroup and a member of the DSM-V committee. In addition, he has published papers about the optimal diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders. Regarding the genetics of alcoholism, Dr. Schuckit has carried out adoption-type studies, identified a genetic characteristic that impacts on elevated alcoholism risk (the low level of response to alcohol), and is now uncovering related genes. He is currently completing a 25-year follow-up (94% success rate) of sons of alcoholics where he is identifying environmental events that might relate to how the biological predisposition toward alcohol dependence is mediated. An additional research area is co-morbidity between substance use disorders and major psychiatric conditions.

Clinical Focus

Dr. Schuckit directed the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and still supervises residents, medical students, and staff. He is also a major contact person regarding alcohol and drug problems in students, faculty, and staff at UCSD and the San Diego VA. Additional clinical interests include the treatment of depressive disorders, anxiety conditions, and geriatric psychiatric populations.


  • Schuckit MA , Kalmijn JA, Smith TL, Saunders G, Fromme K (2012) Structuring a college alcohol prevention program on the low level of response to alcohol model: a pilot study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 36:1244-1252.
  • Schuckit MA (2009) Alcohol use disorders. Lancet 373:492-501.
  • Ehlers CL, Gizer IR, Schuckit MA, Wilhelmsen KC (2010) Genome-wide scan for self-rating of the effects of alcohol in American Indians. Psychiatr Genet 20:221-228.
  • Schuckit MA, Smith TL (2011) Onset and course of alcoholism over 25 years in middle class men. Drug Alcohol Depend 113:21-28.
  • Dick DM, Aliev F, Krueger RF, Edwards A, Agrawal A, Lynskey M, Lin P, Schuckit M, Hesselbrock V, Nurnberger J Jr, Almasy L, Porjesz B, Edenberg HJ, Bucholz K, Kramer J, Kuperman S, Bierut L, as part of the SAGE and GENEVA Consortia (2011) Genome-wide association study of conduct disorder symptomatology. Mol Psychiatry 16:800-808.
  • Schuckit MA, Smith TL, Heron J, Hickman M, Macleod J, Lewis G, Davis JM, Hibbeln JR, Brown S, Zuccolo L, Miller LL, Davey-Smith G (2011) Testing a level of response to alcohol-based model of heavy drinking and alcohol problems in 1,905 17-year-olds. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 35:1897-1904.
  • Schuckit MA, Smith TL, Trim RS, Allen RC, Fukukura T,Knight EE, Cesario EM, Kreikebaum SA (2011) A prospective evaluation of how a low level of response to alcohol predicts later heavy drinking and alcohol problems. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 37:479-486.
  • Paulus MP, Schuckit MA, Tapert SF, Tolentino NJ, Matthews SC, Smith TL, Trim RS, Hall SA, Simmons AN (2012) High versus low level of response to alcohol: evidence of differential reactivity to emotional stimuli. Biol Psychiatry 72:848-855.
  • Schuckit MA, Smith TL (2013) Stability of scores and correlations with drinking behaviors over 15 years for the self-report of the effects of alcohol questionnaire. Drug Alcohol Depend 128:194-199.
  • Schuckit MA, Smith TL, Kalmijn J (2013) Relationships among independent major depressions, alcohol use, and other substance use and related problems over 30 years in 397 families. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 74:271-279.
  • Hasin DS, O'Brien CP, Auriacombe M, Borges G, Bucholz K, Budney A, Compton WM, Crowley T, Ling W, Petry NM, Schuckit M, Grant BF (2013) DSM-5 criteria for substance use disorders: recommendations and rationale. Am J Psychiatry 170:834-851.
  • Trim RS, Schuckit MA, Smith TL (2013) Predictors of initial and sustained remission from alcohol use disorders: findings from the 30-year follow-up of the San Diego Prospective Study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 37:1424-1431.
  • Schuckit MA, Smith TL, Kalmijn JA (2014) The patterns of drug and alcohol use and associated problems over 30 years in 397 men. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 38:227.234.
  • Schuckit MA (2014) A brief history of research on the genetics of alcohol and other drug use disorders. J Stud Alcohol Drugs Suppl 17:59-67.