Eric Turner, MD-PhD

Personal Statement

​My research program focuses on understanding brain circuitry involved in mood regulation, including models of depression and anxiety, and also circuits related to substance abuse. Our experiments are conducted in mice that have been genetically engineered to disrupt the function of certain brain regions, or to allow the manipulation of brain activity with pulses of light, a method called “optogenetics.” Our studies uses neuroanatomical methods, electrophysiology, and behavioral assays to understand the the outcome of these genetic and optogenetic manipulations. Of current interest in the lab is the function of a poorly understood brain region called the habenula. Historically my laboratory has also focused on brain development and the role of regulatory molecules called transcription factors in determining the identity of specific kinds of neurons. We are continuing to study developmental gene regulation in the context of craniofacial development and birth defects. Our research is funded by grants from the NIH institutes NIMH and NIDA.


Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCSD Fellowship, 1993
University of California San Diego Residency, 1991, Psychiatry
University of Washington Division of General Internal Medicine Internship, 1988, Internal Medicine
University of Washington School of Medicine Medical education, 1987

Department Affiliations

Recent Publications

Genetically Targeted Connectivity Tracing Excludes Dopaminergic Inputs to the Interpeduncular Nucleus from the Ventral Tegmentum and Substantia Nigra.
(2021 May-Jun)
eNeuro 8(3):
Nasirova N, Quina LA, Novik S, Turner EE

Mapping Cell Types and Efferent Pathways in the Ascending Relaxin-3 System of the Nucleus Incertus.
(2020 Nov/Dec)
eNeuro 7(6):
Nasirova N, Quina LA, Morton G, Walker A, Turner EE

Finely Designed P3HT-Based Fully Conjugated Graft Polymer: Optical Measurements, Morphology, and the Faraday Effect.
(2020 Jul 8)
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 12(27): 30856-30861
Liu X, Turner EE, Sharapov V, Yuan D, Awais MA, Rack JJ, Yu L

GAD2 Expression Defines a Class of Excitatory Lateral Habenula Neurons in Mice that Project to the Raphe and Pontine Tegmentum.
(2020 May/Jun)
eNeuro 7(3):
Quina LA, Walker A, Morton G, Han V, Turner EE

Dual recombinase fate mapping reveals a transient cholinergic phenotype in multiple populations of developing glutamatergic neurons.
(2020 Feb 1)
J Comp Neurol 528(2): 283-307
Nasirova N, Quina LA, Agosto-Marlin IM, Ramirez JM, Lambe EK, Turner EE

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