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Eric Nestler

  • PROFESSOR & CHAIR Neuroscience
  • PROFESSOR Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics
  • PROFESSOR Psychiatry
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  • Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


  • MD, Yale University School of Medicine

  • Ph.D., Yale University

  • Internship, Medicine/Psychiatry
    Mclean Hospital

  • Residency, Psychiatry
    Yale University School of Medicine

  • Fellowship, Pharmacology
    Yale University School of Medicine

  • Fellowship, Psychiatry
    Yale University School of Medicine



  • 2010 -
    Sarnat Prize, Institute of Medicine

  • 2005 -
    American Academy of Arts and Science

  • 1998 -
    Institute of Medicine


Specific Clinical/Research Interest: Molecular neurobiology of drug addiction and depression; transcriptional and epigenetic regulation in the brain.

Current Students: Hannah Cates, Caroline Dias, Diane Damez-Werno, Caroline Dias, and Haosheng Sun

Postdoctoral Fellows: Rosemary Bagot, Michael Cahill, Jian Feng, Deveroux Ferguson, Elizabeth Heller, Pamela Kennedy, Ja-Wook Koo, Benoit Labonte, Catherine Pena, Kimberly Scobie, Deena Walker

Research Personnel: Marie Doyle, Eileen Harrigan, Zeke Mouzon (Lab Manager)

Our research focuses on identifying the neurobiological basis of drug addiction and depression in rodent models. We study the molecular and cellular changes that occur in regions of the brain important for reward and motivation in response to chronic administration of a drug of abuse or chronic exposure to stress. We are particularly interested in long-lasting changes that are mediated via alterations in gene expression and chromatin remodeling. The result of the research will guide future efforts toward the development of more effective treatments for addiction and depression.

For more, please visit Selected Publications:


Scobie KN, Damez-Werno D, Sun H, Shao N, Gancarz A, Panganiban CH, Dias C, Koo J, Caiafa P, Kaufman L, Neve RL, Dietz DM, Shen L, Nestler EJ. Essential role of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in cocaine action. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2014 Feb; 111(5).

Koo JW, Mazei-Robison MS, Chaudhury D, Juarez B, LaPlant Q, Ferguson D, Feng J, Sun H, Scobie KN, Damez-Werno D, Crumiller M, Ohnishi YN, Ohnishi YH, Mouzon E, Dietz DM, Lobo MK, Neve RL, Russo SJ, Han MH, Nestler EJ. BDNF is a negative modulator of morphine action. Science (New York, N.Y.) 2012 Oct; 338(6103).

Dietz DM, Sun HS, Lobo MK, Cahill ME, Nestler EJ, Chadwick B, Gao V, Koo JW, Mazei-Robison MS, Dias C, Maze I, Damez-Werno D, Dietz KC, Scobie KN, Ferguson D, Christofell D, Ohnishi Y, Hodes GE, Zheng Y, Neve RL, Hahn KM, Russo RJ, Nestler EJ. Essential for Rac1 in cocaine-induced structure plasticity of nucleus accumbens neurons.. Nat Neurosci 2012; 15: 891-896.

Lobo MK, Covington HE, Chaudhury D, Friedman AK, Sun HS, Damez-Werno D, Dietz D, Zaman S, Koo JW, Kennedy PJ, Mouzon E, Mogri M, Neve RL, Deisseroth K, Han MH, Nestler EJ. Cell type specific loss of BDNF signaling mimics optogenetic control of cocaine reward. Science 2010; 330: 385-390.

Maze I, Covington HE, Dietz DM, LaPlant Q, Renthal W, Russo SJ, Mechanic M, Mouzon E, Neve RL, Haggarty SJ, Ren YH, Sampath SC, Hurd YL, Greengard P, Tarakovsky A, Schaefer A, Nestler EJ. Essential role of the histone methyltransferase G9a in cocaine-induced plasticity. Science 2010; 327: 213-216.

Dong Y, Nestler EJ. The neural rejuvenation hypothesis of cocaine addiction. Trends in pharmacological sciences 2014 Aug; 35(8).

Feng J, Wilkinson M, Liu X, Purushothaman I, Ferguson D, Vialou V, Maze I, Shao N, Kennedy P, Koo J, Dias C, Laitman B, Stockman V, LaPlant Q, Cahill ME, Nestler EJ, Shen L. Chronic cocaine-regulated epigenomic changes in mouse nucleus accumbens. Genome biology 2014; 15(4).

Maze I, Chaudhury D, Dietz DM, Von Schimmelmann M, Kennedy PJ, Lobo MK, Sillivan SE, Miller ML, Bagot RC, Sun H, Turecki G, Neve RL, Hurd YL, Shen L, Han MH, Schaefer A, Nestler EJ. G9a influences neuronal subtype specification in striatum. Nature neuroscience 2014 Apr; 17(4).

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Below are financial relationships with industry reported by Dr. Nestler during 2013 and/or 2014. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.


  • Berg Pharma (Berg Biosystems); Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C.

Scientific Advisory Board:

  • Merck & Co., Inc.; PsychoGenics, Inc.

Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website at Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.

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