Larry Zweifel, PhD

Personal Statement

The main focus of my research efforts are to define how specific genes influence neuronal connectivity and function within neural circuits that regulate innate and motivated behaviors with a special emphasis on genes linked to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression.

My laboratory utilizes conventional mouse genetics approaches coupled to viral-based strategies for projection specific gene manipulation, optogenetic and pharmacogentic approaches, in vivo single unit electrophysiology recordings, whole-cell patch clamp, in vivo fiber-optic imaging, and behavior. We have recently demonstrated that a disease-related mutation in the human KCNN3 gene that encodes the calcium activated potassium channel SK3 significantly alters activity pattern regulation of midbrain dopamine neurons resulting in disruption of specific behavioral domains relevant to schizophrenia.

We have also shown that phasic activation of dopamine neurons potently influences fear processing by the amygdala and is critical for the prevention of generalized fear and anxiety. Other recent developments in the lab include the identification of CRF neurons in the central amygdala as key regulators of cued fear memory acquisition and the identification of a novel dopaminergic pathway within the hypothalamus that regulates social behavior


Ph.D. Neuroscience 2005, John Hopkins University
B.S. Biochemisty 1997, University of Missouri

Department Affiliations

Recent Publications

Cocaine Seeking And Taking Are Oppositely Regulated By Dopamine.
(2023 Apr 10)
Burgeno LM, Farero RD, Murray NL, Panayi MC, Steger JS, Soden ME, Evans SB, Sandberg SG, Willuhn I, Zweifel LS, Phillips PEM

A genetic variant of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) exacerbates hormone-mediated orexigenic feeding in mice.
(2023 Apr 11)
Elife 12():
Balsevich G, Petrie GN, Heinz DE, Singh A, Aukema RJ, Hunker AC, Vecchiarelli HA, Yau H, Sticht M, Thompson RJ, Lee FS, Zweifel LS, Chelikani PK, Gassen NC, Hill MN

Pharmacological characterization of the endocannabinoid sensor GRAB (eCB2.0).
(2023 Mar 6)
Singh S, Sarroza D, English A, McGrory M, Dong A, Zweifel L, Land BB, Li Y, Bruchas MR, Stella N

Netrin-1 regulates the balance of synaptic glutamate signaling in the adult ventral tegmental area.
(2023 Mar 17)
Elife 12():
Cline MM, Juarez B, Hunker A, Regiarto EG, Hariadi B, Soden ME, Zweifel LS

Whole-brain input mapping of the lateral versus medial anterodorsal bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the mouse.
(2023 Mar)
Neurobiol Stress 23(): 100527
Sun Y, Zweifel LS, Holmes TC, Xu X

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