Stephan Lammel

Research Expertise and Interest

neuroscience, Optogenetics, dopamine, motivation, reward, electrophysiological techniques

Research Description

Stephan Lammel is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Weill Neurohub Investigator. 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 and in vivo electrophysiological studies as well as optogenetic and behavioral approaches. The general focus is on studying the neural circuits that mediate motivation and reward. 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. 

In the News

Food Insecurity Has Lasting Impacts on the Brains and Behavior of Mice

While food insecurity is a problem for a growing segment of the U.S. population — made even worse by the coronavirus pandemic — few studies have looked at the effect that feast or famine has on the developing brain in isolation from other factors that contribute to adversity. A new study by neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, simulated the effects of food insecurity in juvenile mice and found lasting changes later in life.

Secret Behind ‘Nic-Sickness’ Could Help Break Tobacco Addiction

If you remember your first hit on a cigarette, you know how sickening nicotine can be. Yet, for many people, the rewards of nicotine outweigh the negative effects of high doses. University of California, Berkeley, researchers have now mapped out part of the brain network responsible for the negative consequences of nicotine, opening the door to interventions that could boost the aversive effects to help people quit smoking.

New findings could improve diagnosis, treatment of depression

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.
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