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photo: Scott Novak

Scott Novak to Head New Battelle Research Program on Opioid Addiction and Treatment

Posted on Mar 21, 2017

Battelle expands its tobacco research program to include opioids, marijuana

COLUMBUS, Ohio (March 21, 2017)—In 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. 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. “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. He 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.

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614)424-7208 or at or contact T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or at

Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544