How cool would it be to work closely with a world-renowned neuroscience researcher who also attended Penn State? It’s like meeting Albert Einstein! Well, at
least for this Penn State honorary alum of 1991. Marc Azar, who graduated with a doctoral degree from the Behavioral Health Department met Dr. George F. Koob, Professor and Chair of the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1999. Dr. Koob has written many publications on alcohol and drug addiction disorders world-wide, and now serves as the Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Marc learned about Dr. Koob in his science classes at Penn State, and finally was able to collaborate with him on research projects in his lab at TSRI. Penn State opened many other opportunities for Marc Azar, and most importantly – Inspiration.
“Knock on a thousand doors, and someone will let you in,” reflects Marc, who received his Ph.D. at Penn State University and quoting his father, who was a physician and the owner of the Pennsylvania Pain Rehabilitation Center. Marc learned from his wise guidance and challenged himself in many opportunities even at Penn State when he was having academic difficulties.
His father and Dr. Koob weren’t the only mentors who challenged Marc to work smarter and be persistent. During his first two years at Penn State Abington, Marc met his undergraduate advisor and mentor Carole DeBunda, who according to Marc helped him value education and the importance of studying. Marc went onto becoming the founding principal and Chief Scientific Officer at Behavioral Pharma, Inc.
Marc remembers and still smiles about his memories and friendships at Penn State Abington. He recalls long study sessions in the library and the forging of relationships that still last today. Marc reflects respectfully of some professors at Penn State who he made great friends with – including Dr. Dynis, a psychology professor and Professor Ellen, a social work professor. Apart from relationships and academia, Marc chuckles and reminisces on a particular awkward kissing scene he had to perform during an act in his drama class. Moving past that experience, drama was one of his favorite classes because of the “cool” professor.
As a father and hockey fanatic, Marc’s two young boys, Addison, 13 and Hudson, 9 play ice hockey for the San Diego Jr. Gulls and enjoy traveling, skiing, surfing, fishing and spending time outdoors. Marc is actively involved with southern California youth hockey development and serves as co-president of the San Diego Amateur Hockey Club, which helps support the San Diego Jr. Gulls program. His wife Tania, who is a former Vice President of Field Operations for Jenny Craig International, is also a big sports enthusiast and serves as co-president of the San Diego Amateur Hockey Club as well as multiple nonprofit education boards.
Beyond his leadership oversight for Behavioral Pharma, Marc is currently an active collaborator in the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders at The Scripps Research Institute, where he completed his postdoctoral training in the Department of Neuropharmacology. As an expert on addiction and CNS disorders, according to his company’s website, Dr. Azar and his research team at Behavioral Pharma Inc. focus their current research primarily on alcohol and nicotine addiction.
Soon, a future highlight for Marc is taking his family to a Penn State Hockey game!
Written By: Hinaa Noor