Contact Information

Professor and Director of Research
Department of Psychiatry
The University of Texas
MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd
Houston, TX 77030

Membership Information

Membership Category:
Research Scientists

Member Since: 2011



Richard De La Garza II, Ph.D.

Richard De La Garza, II, PhD.


Ph.D. in Neuroscience, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
M.S. in Biology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
B.S. in Biology, Texas A & M University-Commerce, Commerce, TX

About Me

Richard (“Rich”) De La Garza completed his Ph.D in neuroscience at the University of Texas Medical Branch followed by postdocs at Harvard Medical School and Yale University School of Medicine. At present, Dr. De La Garza is Professor with tenure in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine. He holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Pharmacology. He is also Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Psychiatry at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Behavioral Science.

Research Interests

Dr. De La Garza conducts laboratory studies in humans to investigate the safety and efficacy of novel medications for methamphetamine and cocaine addiction. He is also interested in cancer prevention as it relates to smoking cessation research and is conducting a study for alcoholism among veterans with traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. Dr. De La Garza has published more than 75 peer-reviewed scientific articles and he has 3 active National Institute on Drug Abuse grants as Principal Investigator and 4 active grants as Co-Investigator. He has received numerous honors including being named a Distinguished Alumnus of his alma mater, and being appointed a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. He is an appointed member of the National Institutes of Health study section Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health. Notably, Dr. De La Garza is a member of the Board of Directors and current President of the College on the Problems of Drug Dependence – the oldest and largest scientific society dedicated to addiction research in the country.

View Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

Kalechstein AD, Mahoney JJ 3rd, Verrico CD, De La Garza R 2nd. Short-term, low-dose varenicline administration enhances information processing speed in methamphetamine-dependent users. Neuropharmacology. 2014 Oct;85:493-8, PMID: 24930359.

Mahoney JJ 3rd, De La Garza R 2nd, Jackson BJ, Verrico CD, Ho A, Iqbal T, Newton TF. The relationship between sleep and drug use characteristics in participants with cocaine or methamphetamine use disorders. Psychiatry Res. 2014 Oct 30;219(2):367-71, PMID: 24951161.

Verrico, C.D., Haile, C.N., Mahoney, III, J.J., Thompson-Lake, D.G.Y., Newton, T.F., De La Garza R 2nd. Treatment with modafinil and escitalopram, alone and in combination, on cocaine-induced effects: A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled human laboratory study. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Aug 1;141:72-8, PMID: 24928479.

Baeza-Loya, S., Viswanath, H., Carter, A., Molfese, D.L., Velasquez, K.M., Baldwin, P.R., Thompson-Lake, D.G.Y., Sharp, C., Fowler, J.C., De La Garza, II, R., Salas, R. Perceptions about e-cigarette safety may lead into e-smoking during pregnancy. Bull Menninger Clin. 2014 Summer;78(3):243-52, PMID: 25247743.

Savjani, R.R., Velasquez, K.M., Thompson-Lake, D.G.Y., Eagleman, D.M., De La Garza, II, R., Salas, R. Characterizing white matter changes in cigarette smokers via diffusion tensor imaging. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Dec 1;145:134-42, PMID: 25457737.

Mahoney, III, J.J., Thompson-Lake, D.G.Y., Cooper, K., Verrico, C.D., Newton, T.F., De La Garza, II, R. A comparison of impulsivity, depressive symptoms, lifetime stress and sensation seeking in healthy controls versus participants with cocaine or methamphetamine use disorders. J Psychopharmacol. 2015 Jan;29(1):50-6. PMID 25424624.

De La Garza, II, R., Bubar, M.J., Carbone, C.L., Moeller, F.G., Newton, T.F., Anastasio, N.C., Harper, T.A., Ware, D.L., Fuller, M.A., Holstein, G.J., Jayroe, J.B., Bandak, S.I., Reiman, K.Z., Neale, A.C., Pickford, L.B., Cunningham, K.A. (2015) Evaluation of the dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DβH) inhibitor nepicastat in participants who meet criteria for cocaine use disorder. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 59: 40-48. PMID: 25602710.

Viswanath, H., Velasquez, K.M., Thompson-Lake, D.G.Y., Savjani, R., Carter, A.Q., Eagleman, D.M., Baldwin, P.R., De La Garza, II, R., Salas, R. (2015) Alterations in interhemispheric functional and anatomical connectivity are associated with tobacco smoking in humans. Frontiers Human Neuroscience 2015 Mar 9;9:116. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00116. eCollection 2015.