Stephan Lammel is an Assistant Professor of Neurobiology. Research in his laboratory employs state-of-the-art methods to explore the contribution of defined neural circuits to behavior with the goal of understanding the pathological changes that occur in these circuits as a consequence of mental illness. His work spans a variety of techniques including immunocytochemistry, neural circuit tracing, ex vivo brain slice patch clamp studies as well as in vivo optogenetic and behavioral approaches. The general focus is on studying the neural circuits that mediate motivation and reward. Currently, they are investigating midbrain dopamine neurons and their role in substance abuse. Another major focus in his lab is on elucidating neural circuits underlying mood disorders (e.g., major depression). Ultimately, his goal is to identify and define suitable targets within complex neural circuits that that will lead to the development of highly‐specific therapeutic intervention for mental illness. Drugs that selectively target neural circuits or cells, defined by their anatomical or biochemical properties, may also reduce the occurrence of unwanted side effects which are currently associated with these treatments.
Research Expertise and Interest
neuroscience, Optogenetics, dopamine, addiction, depression
October 28, 2019
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have identified biomarkers — genes and specific brain circuits in mice — associated with a common symptom of depression: lack of motivation. The finding could guide research to find new ways to diagnose and potentially treat individuals suffering from lack of motivation and bring closer the day of precision medicine for psychiatric disorders like depression.
December 10, 2018
For decades, psychologists have viewed the neurotransmitter dopamine as a double-edged sword: released in the brain as a reward to train us to seek out pleasurable experiences, but also a “drug” the constant pursuit of which leads to addiction.