Novak to Head New Battelle Opioid Addiction Research Program

Durina a time of increasing acceptance of marijuana use and a growing crisis of opioid addiction, Battelle intends to boost its research into the effects of these substances with scientific insight and observations.

The platform for doing so is based on forty years of experience in clinical and behavioral research on tobacco and its physical and psychological effects on users.

As new state laws legalizing marijuana have swept the nation in the past few years, Battelle leveraged that experience to include studying recreational and medical marijuana. Now, it looks to support new partnerships with federal, state and local stakeholders in the fight against opioid abuse.

To that end, Scott Novak, PhD, has joined Battelle as a Senior Research Scientist and Research Director for Substance Abuse in its Health and Consumer Solutions unit.

His extensive career has focused on prescription drugs, including prescription opioid abuse and medical marijuana.

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At Battelle, he will lead a transdisciplinary and translational team of data scientists, policy and evaluation experts and bench scientists to characterize how biological pre-disposing factors, such as genetic and neurological function, help shape positive medication utilization across different state and federal policy environments.

The program will enrich an already robust portfolio of substance use research and contribute to Battelle’s rapidly growing body of research into the potential health consequences of marijuana use which is led by Erica Peters, PhD.

“As we analyze the public health needs we can address as a scientific organization, it’s become apparent that we should apply our existing expertise to the growing problem posed by opioid use,” said Joe Berger, Battelle’s General Manager of Health and Consumer Solutions.

Joe Berger, Battelle’s General Manager of Health and Consumer Solutions
Joe Berger, Battelle’s General Manager of Health and Consumer Solutions

“And marijuana acceptance and availability is on the rise as more states legalize it for medical or recreational use.”

“Policy makers need clear research to aid the understanding of the public health implications of marijuana product. Bringing Scott Novak aboard is a big step toward realizing those organizational goals.”

Prior to joining Battelle, Novak worked for RTI International, where he directed the program of research on prescription drug abuse within RTI’s Behavioral Health Epidemiology Program.

He has served as Principal Investigator on numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and commercial projects.

Novak holds a Ph.D. in Quantitative Sociology from the University of Kentucky at Lexington; an M.A. in Medical Sociology from the University of Kentucky at Lexington; an M.S. in Statistics (Honors) from Harvard University; a B.S. in Statistics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


He has authored more than 100 papers and presentations and continues to publish extensively.

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