Brain Scientist

Date: March 27, 2015
Place: Bethesda, MD
Interview: Dr. Dave Thomas, Brain Scientist, National Institute on Drug Abuse

Video Description:

Meet Dave. He is a scientist who studies the brain and how addiction affects the brain.

Video Transcript:

What’s cool about Science is scientists have these ideas and they don’t know whether they’re [ideas are] true or not. And to convince other people, they do experiments [a scientific test]. They try to prove it [their idea] and it’s really fun when they finally do prove it and say “A-ha! I was right!” and then they share it [their idea] with the world and people see the world a different way.

Why did you want to study the brain?

I think I thought the brain was interesting because it’s a lot of “us,” who we are. But when you learn about how it works, all the little machinery in it, all the things it does, it actually is [a] really sophisticated machine.

I am at the National Institute on Drug Abuse so we’re interested in how the brain relates to addiction.  An addiction is when you do something that’s bad for you, but you just can’t stop.  Like some people get addicted to drugs; they take the drugs they know they’re bad for them, but they just can’t stop doing it.  

And we believe that addiction is a brain disease [illness or sickness] and that’s why we study the brain is we want to understand how the brain gets addicted to drugs and how we can get a person to be un-addicted by changing the brain.

What’s your day like?

Each day is different.  Some days I go and talk to kids at schools about brains.  Some days I talk to famous scientists. They call me with great ideas about what they discovered. It’s almost like, as if Albert Einstein would call me and say “Hey Dave! I just came up with the theory of relativity!” Everyday involves some learning, something new I learn about the world in Science.

Do you have any advice for kids?

Keep asking questions. Keep trying to discover things. Don’t accept things for just the way they are. I mean, scientists that’s what they do. They question.

Narrator: Learn the facts about how drugs affect the brain and body at

Discover how your brain works at

And for more about other Science careers, visit

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