Garret Stuber, PhD


Associate Professor

Research Description

My primary research goal is to further delineate the synaptic mechanisms and functional neural circuitry that underlie motivated behavioral processes that are perturbed in neuropsychiatric disorders such as addiction, depression, and eating disorders.  Throughout my graduate and postdoctoral training, I utilized both in vivo and in vitro methodologies to study rapid dopamine signaling as well as synaptic plasticity during or immediately following behavior.  My lab's current research focuses on the synaptic and neural circuit mechanisms that underlie adaptive and maladaptive behavioral states.  To accomplish this, we employ multiple cutting-edge techniques both in vivo and in vitro.  Specifically, we use in vivo fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to monitor the release of dopamine, in vivo electrophysiology to monitor neural activity during behavior, and ex vivo patch-clamp electrophysiology to measure additional synaptic alterations following learning.  These experimental approaches also incorporate optogenetic stimulation or inhibition in vitro and in vivo to allow for pathway-specific perturbation of neural function.  Collectively, my lab aims to generate a holistic understanding of neural circuit function that underlies complex motivated behavioral processing, with the long term of goal of identifying novel neural circuit elements to therapeutically target for the treatment of neuropsychiatric illnesses.

Selected Publications

Stuber GD, Sparta DR, Stamatakis AM, van Leeuwen W Harjoprajitno JE, Cho S, Tye KM, Kempadoo KA, Zhang F, Deisseroth K, Bonci A. (2011). Excitatory transmission from the amygdala to nucleus accumbens facilitates reward seekingNature. 475: 377-380.  PMID: 21716290

Sparta DR, Stamatakis AM, Phillips JL, Hovelsø N, van Zessen R, Stuber GD. (2011) Construction of implantable optical fibers for long-term optogenetic manipulation of neural circuits.  Nature Protocols. 7,12–23. PMID: 22157972

Stuber GD, Britt JP, Bonci A. (2011) Optogenetic modulation of neural circuits that underlie reward seeking.  Biological Psychiatry. PMID: 22196983

van Zessen R, Phiilips JL, Budygin EA, Stuber GD. (2012) Activation of VTA GABA neurons disrupts reward consumption.  Neuron. 73, 1184–1194. PMID: 22445345

Stamatakis AM, Stuber GD. (2012) Activation of lateral habenula inputs to the ventral midbrain promotes behavioral avoidance. Nature Neuroscience. 15:1105-1107. PMID: 22729176

Jennings JH*, Sparta DR*, Stamatakis AM, Ung RL, Pleil KE, Kash TL, Stuber GD. (2013) Distinct extended amygdala circuits for divergent motivational states. Nature. 496, 224-228. PMID: 23515155

Contact Information


Office: (919) 843-7140
Lab: (919) 843-7143
Fax: (919) 966-1050