Eric J. Nestler

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Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D., is the Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience, Chairman of the Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Friedman Brain Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.[1][2] His focus in neuropsychopharmacology concentrates on forming a molecular approach to psychiatry and furthering the understanding of the molecular basis of both depression and drug addiction, using animal models to study the way drug use or stress affects the brain.[1] His addiction research largely centers around ΔFosB (a master control protein that induces addiction) and associated epigenetic remodeling in the medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens.[3][4]

Nestler is the author (with Dennis S. Charney) of Neurobiology of Mental Illness (ISBN 0195189809), of Molecular Neuropharmacology (with Steven E. Hyman and Robert C. Malenka; ISBN 978-0-07-148127-4), and more than 450 chapters and peer-reviewed publications.[5] He is active in seven research projects funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health.



Nestler is a graduate of Herricks High School in New Hyde Park, New York. He received his B.A., his Ph.D. and his M.D. from Yale University. He completed his residency in psychiatry at both McLean Hospital in Massachusetts and Yale in 1987.[1]


Nestler served as the Director of the Division of Molecular Psychiatry at Yale until 2000, and as Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.[1] He joined Mount Sinai in 2008. He has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, on the National Advisory Mental Health Council for the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Advisory Drug Abuse Council for the National Institute on Drug Abuse,[6] as Council Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (for which he served as president in 2011) and the Society for Neuroscience. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression (now known as the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation) and of the International Mental Health Research Organization,[7] as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the McKnight Endowment Fund in Neuroscience.[8] He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1998 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005.[8][9]


Dr. Nestler's awards and honors include the Pfizer Scholars Award (1987), the Sloan Research Fellowship (1987), the McKnight Scholar Award (1989), the Jordi-Folch-Pi Memorial Award from the American Society of Neurochemistry (1990), the Efron Award of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (1994), the Pasarow Foundation Award for Neuropsychiatric Research (1998), the NARSAD Established Investigator Award (1996), the Bristol-Myers Squibb Freedom to Discover Neuroscience Research Grant (2004), the Patricia S. Goldman-Rakic Award and the Falcone Prize both from NARSAD (2008, 2009),[10] and the Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health from the Institute of Medicine (2010). He received an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University in Sweden in 2011, and the Anna Monika Prize in Depression Research (2012).[11][12]

Grants and research[edit]

Role Source, Title Identifier
Principal Investigator NIDA, Molecular Neurobiology of Drug Addiction[13] P01 DA08227
Principal Investigator NIMH, Pharmacological Actions of Stress & Antidepressants Treatments[14] R01 MH51399
Principal Investigator NIDA, Role of Neurotrophic Factors in the Actions of Drugs of Abuse[15] R01 DA14133
Principal Investigator NIDA, Molecular Studies of Cocaine Action in Brain[16] R01 DA07359
Principal Investigator NIMH, Epigenetic Mechanisms of Depression[17] P50 MH096890
Principal Investigator NIMH, Pharmacological Actions of Stress & Antidepressants Treatments R01 MH51399


Partial list:

  • 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 M, Nestler EJ, Shen L. “Chronic cocaine-regulated epigenomic changes in mouse nucleus accumbens.” Genome Biol 2014; 15: R65. PMID 24758366
  • 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 Neurosci 2014; 17: 533-539. PMID 24584053
  • 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.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2014; 111: 2005-10. PMID 24449909
  • Koo JW, Mazei-Robison MS, Chaudhury D, Juarez B, LaPlant Q, Ferguson D, Feng J, Sun HS, Scobie K, Damez-Werno D, Crumiller M, Ohnishi YN, Ohnishi YH, Mouzon E, Dietz DM, Lobo KM, Neve RL, Russo SJ, Han MH, Nestler EJ. “Novel role of BDNF as a negative modulator of morphine action.” Science 2012; 338: 124-128. PMID 23042896
  • Vialou, V., Robison, A.J., LaPlant, Q.C., Covington, H.E. III, Dietz, D.M., Ohnishi, Y.N., Mouzon, E., Rush, A.J. III, Watts, E.L., Wallace, D.L., Iñiguez, S.D., Ohnishi, Y.H., Steiner, M.A., Warren, B., Krishnan, V., Neve, R.L., Ghose, S., Berton, O., Tamminga, C.A., and Nestler, E.J. (2010) ∆FosB in brain reward circuits mediates resilience to stress and antidepressant responses. Nature Neurosci. 13:745-752. PMID 20473292
  • Maze, I., Covington, H.E. III, Dietz, D.M., LaPlant, Q., Renthal, W., Russo, S.J., Mechanic, M., Mouzon, E., Neve, R.L., Haggarty, S.J., Ren, Y.H., Sampath, S.C., Hurd, Y.L., Greengard, P., Tarakovsky, A., Schaefer, A., and Nestler, E.J. (2010) Essential role of the histone methyltransferase G9a in cocaine-induced plasticity. Science 327:213-216. PMID 20056891
  • Lobo, M.K., Covington, H.E. III, Chaudhury, D., Friedman, A.K., Sun, H.S., Damez-Werno, D., Dietz, D., Zaman, S., Koo, J.W., Kennedy, P.J., Mouzon, E., Mogri, M., Neve, R.L., Deisseroth, K., Han, M.H., and Nestler, E.J. (2010) Cell type specific loss of BDNF signaling mimics optogenetic control of cocaine reward. Science 330:385-390. doi:10.1126/science.1188472 PMID 20947769
  • Renthal, W., Kumar, A., Xiao, G.H., Wilkinson, M., Convington, H.E. III, Mze, I., Sikder, D., Robison, A.J., LaPlant, Q., Dietz, D.M., Russo, S.J., Vialou, V., Chakravarty, S., Kodadek, T.J., Stack, A., Kabbaj, M., and Nestler, E.J. (2009) Genome wide analysis of chromatin regulation by cocaine reveals a novel role for sirtuins. Neuron 62:335-348. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2009.03.026 PMID 19447090
  • Russo SJ, Bolanos CA, Theobald DE, DeCarolis NA, Renthal WR, Kumar A, Winstanley CA, Renthal NE, Wiley MD, Self DW, Russell DS, Neve RL, Eisch AJ, Nestler EJ. "The IRS2-Akt pathway in midbrain dopaminergic neurons regulates behavioral and cellular responses to opiates." Nature Neurosci 2007; 10: 93-99. PMID 17143271
  • Krishnan, V., Han, M.-H., Graham, D.L., Berton, O., Renthal, W., Russo, S.J., LaPlant, Q., Graham, A., Lutter, M., Lagace, D.C., Ghose, S., Reister, R., Tannous, P., Green, T.A., Neve, R.L., Chakravarty, S., Kumar, A., Eisch, A.J., Self, D.W., Lee, F.S., Tamminga, C.A., Cooper, D.C., Gershenfeld, H.K., and Nestler, E.J. (2007) Susceptibility and resistance to social defeat are mediated through molecular adaptations in brain reward regions. Cell 131:391-404. PMID 17956738
  • Tsankova NM, Berton O, Renthal W, Kumar A, Neve RL, Nestler EJ. "Sustained hippocampal chromatin regulation in hippocampus in a mouse model of depression and antidepressant action." Nature Neurosci 2006; 9: 519-525. PMID 16501568
  • Berton O, McClung CA, DiLeone RJ, Krishnan V, Russo S, Graham D, Tsankova NM, Bolanos CA, Rios M, Monteggia LM, Self DW, Nestler EJ. "Essential role of BDNF in the mesolimbic dopamine pathway in social defeat stress." Science 2006; 311: 864-868. PMID 16469931
  • McClung CA, Nestler EJ (2003) Regulation of gene expression and cocaine reward by CREB and ∆FosB. Nature Neurosci 11:1208-1215. doi:10.1038/nn1143 PMID 14566342
  • Kelz, M.B., Chen, J.S., Carlezon, W.A., Whisler, K., Gilden, L., Beckmann, A.M., Steffen, C., Zhang, Y.-J., Marotti, L., Self, D.W., Tkatch, R., Baranauskas, G., Surmeier, D.J., Neve, R.L., Duman, R.S., Picciotto, M.R., and Nestler, E.J. (1999) Expression of the transcription factor ∆FosB in the brain controls sensitivity to cocaine. Nature 401:272-276. PMID 10499584
  • Carlezon, W.A., Jr., Thome, J., Olson, V.G., Lane-Ladd, S.B., Brodkin, E.S., Hiroi, N., Duman, R.S., Neve, R.L., and Nestler, E.J. (1998) Regulation of cocaine reward by CREB. Science 282:2272-2275. PMID 9856954*Carlezon, W.A., Jr., Boundy, V.A., Haile, C.N., Kalb, R.G., Neve, R., and Nestler, E.J. (1997) Sensitization to morphine induced by viral-mediated gene transfer. Science 277:812-814. PMID 9242609
  • Self, D.W., Barnhart, W.J., Lehman, D.A., and Nestler, E.J. (1996) Opposite modulation of cocaine-seeking behavior by D1-like and D2-like dopamine receptor agonists. Science 271:1586-1589. PMID 8599115
  • Nestler EJ (October 2008). "Review. Transcriptional mechanisms of addiction: role of DeltaFosB". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 363 (1507): 3245–3255. doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0067. PMC 2607320. PMID 18640924.
  • Hyman SE, Malenka RC, Nestler EJ (2006). "Neural mechanisms of addiction: the role of reward-related learning and memory". Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 29: 565–598. doi:10.1146/annurev.neuro.29.051605.113009. PMID 16776597.
  • Robison AJ, Nestler EJ (November 2011). "Transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms of addiction". Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 12 (11): 623–637. doi:10.1038/nrn3111. PMC 3272277. PMID 21989194
  • Pitchers KK, Vialou V, Nestler EJ, Laviolette SR, Lehman MN, Coolen LM (February 2013). "Natural and drug rewards act on common neural plasticity mechanisms with ΔFosB as a key mediator". J. Neurosci. 33 (8): 3434–42. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4881-12.2013. PMC 3865508. PMID 23426671
  • Kelz MB, Chen J, Carlezon WA, Whisler K, Gilden L, Beckmann AM, Steffen C, Zhang YJ, Marotti L, Self DW, Tkatch T, Baranauskas G, Surmeier DJ, Neve RL, Duman RS, Picciotto MR, Nestler EJ (September 1999). "Expression of the transcription factor deltaFosB in the brain controls sensitivity to cocaine". Nature 401 (6750): 272–276. doi:10.1038/45790. PMID 10499584.
  • Colby CR, Whisler K, Steffen C, Nestler EJ, Self DW (March 2003). "Striatal cell type-specific overexpression of DeltaFosB enhances incentive for cocaine". J. Neurosci. 23 (6): 2488–2493. PMID 12657709.
  • Nestler EJ, Barrot M, Self DW (September 2001). "DeltaFosB: a sustained molecular switch for addiction". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 98 (20): 11042–11046. doi:10.1073/pnas.191352698. PMC 58680. PMID 11572966.
  • Renthal W, Nestler EJ (August 2008). "Epigenetic mechanisms in drug addiction". Trends in Molecular Medicine 14 (8): 341–350. doi:10.1016/j.molmed.2008.06.004. PMC 2753378. PMID 18635399.
  • Renthal W, Nestler EJ (2009). "Chromatin regulation in drug addiction and depression". Dialogues Clin. Neurosci. 11 (3): 257–268. PMC 2834246. PMID 19877494.
  • Sabatakos G, Sims NA, Chen J, Aoki K, Kelz MB, Amling M, Bouali Y, Mukhopadhyay K, Ford K, Nestler EJ, Baron R (September 2000). "Overexpression of DeltaFosB transcription factor(s) increases bone formation and inhibits adipogenesis.". Nature Medicine 6 (9): 985–990. doi:10.1038/79683. PMID 10973317.
  • Nestler EJ (December 2012). "Transcriptional mechanisms of drug addiction". Clin. Psychopharmacol. Neurosci. 10 (3): 136–43. doi:10.9758/cpn.2012.10.3.136. PMC 3569166. PMID 23430970


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  2. ^ "McGraw Hill Medical". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Whalley K (December 2014). "Psychiatric disorders: a feat of epigenetic engineering". Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 15 (12): 768–769. doi:10.1038/nrn3869. PMID 25409693. Chronic exposure to stress or drugs of abuse causes widespread changes in the activity of chromatin remodelling enzymes. However, it has been difficult to determine the relative functional importance of drug- or stress-induced epigenetic modifications of individual genes. Nestler and colleagues have now employed gene- and brain-region-specific chromatin remodelling to examine the role of one particular gene, [ΔFosB], in addiction- and depression-related changes in the brain and behaviour. ... This study shows that single epigenetic modifications can modulate both Fosb expression and its behavioural effects. A similar approach may be used to target other genes of interest and elucidate further the changes in molecular pathways that underlie psychiatric disorders.
    ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER Heller, E. A. et al. Locus-specific epigenetic remodeling controls addiction- and depression-related behaviors. Nature Neurosci. (2014)
  4. ^ Dennis S. Charney (2003). "Preface". In Charney, Dennis S. Molecular neurobiology for the clinician. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Pub. pp. xvi–xvii. ISBN 9781585627332. Dr. Nestler, in Chapter 4, presents an extremely creative and potentially groundbreaking view of the molecular mechanisms and neural circuitry of reward and how they might relate to vulnerability to addictive behaviors. ... Dr. Nestler focuses on two transcription factors, CREB (cAMP response element binding protein) and ΔFosB 
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  6. ^ "National Institute on Drug Abuse". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
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  10. ^ "NARSAD". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "New York Social Diary". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "NCBI". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "NCBI". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "Labome". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  17. ^ "NCBI". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 

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