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Larry Zweifel PhD

Assistant Professor
Phone: (206) 685-8520

Site: UW Medical Center
Health Sciences Building
1959 NE Pacific Street
Box 357280
Seattle, WA 98195
Link to CV


The research in my lab is directed toward understanding how the limbic system of the brain is involved in the processing emotion. Perturbations in the functioning of one or multiple components of the limbic system are a major contributor to mental disorders, affecting approximately 1 in 4 adults. We are particularly interested in how a small group of neurons located in the ventral midbrain that synthesize and release the neurotransmitter dopamine modulate limbic system function to direct behavior and influence our emotional state. Dopamine neuron activity and subsequent neurotransmitter release occurs in distinct patterns which are thought to have uniquely defined roles in modulating the function of the limbic system. Utilizing multiple genetic approaches integrated with multiunit in vivo electrophysiology, fiber-optic fluorescence microscopy, and behavioral assays in the mouse model system, we are exploring how select genes expressed in these neurons influence patterns of activity and ultimately behavior. We hope that by defining the basic neurobiology of this important neurotransmitter system we can better understand the underlying causes of numerous mental illnesses.

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