Eric J. Nestler

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Eric J. Nestler
Alma mater
Scientific career
FieldsMolecular neurobiology
Molecular neuropharmacology
Clinical neuroscience

Eric J. Nestler is the Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience, Director of the Friedman Brain Institute, and Dean for Academic Affairs at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Chief Scientific Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System.[1][2][3] His research is focused on a molecular approach to drug addiction and depression.

He is the co-author of four books and more than 725 peer-reviewed articles, and he serves as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on 8 NIH grants.



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, where he performed his doctoral research in the laboratory of Paul Greengard. He completed his residency in psychiatry at both McLean Hospital in Massachusetts and Yale in 1987.[1]


Nestler served as Director of the Abraham Ribicoff Research Facilities, as the Founding 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 Boards of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 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,[4] as Council Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (for which he served as president in 2011) and the Society for Neuroscience (for which he served as president in 2017). He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF, previously NARSAD) and of One Mind (previously International Mental Health Research Organization),[5] as well as a past member of the Board of Directors of the McKnight Endowment Fund in Neuroscience.[6] He was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) in 1998 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005.[6][7]


The Nestler laboratory's focus in neuropsychopharmacology and molecular neuroscience 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 several transcription factors, including ΔFosB and CREB (master control proteins that induce addiction or depression in vulnerable individuals or resistance to these syndromes in resilient individuals) and the associated epigenetic remodeling that occurs in specific neuronal or glial cell types in the brain. A major goal is to identify the ‘chromatin scars’—long lasting epigenetic changes at specific genomic loci—that mediate lifelong changes in disease vulnerability. Among the prominent targets of this work are medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens and pyramidal neurons in prefrontal cortex and ventral hippocampus.[3][8][9] The Nestler laboratory has driven innovative use of viral-mediated gene transfer, inducible, cell-type specific mutations in mice, and locus-specific epigenome editing to establish causal links between molecular and behavioral phenomena in animal models.[8][9][10] The laboratory also makes creative use of advanced machine learning approaches to derive novel biological insight from large sequencing datasets.


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 Distinguished 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),[11] 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).[12][13]

In 2017, he was awarded the Wilbur Cross Medal by Yale University[14] for distinguished alumnus from the graduate school, and the Paul Hoch Distinguished Service Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.[15] In 2019, he received the Redelsheimer Distinguished Award in Biological Psychiatry from the Society for Biological Psychiatry. In 2020, Dr. Nestler received an honorary degree from Concordia University in Montreal as “a pioneer in depression and drug-addiction research and institutional advocacy for equity, diversity and inclusion. He is also the recipient of the Barbara Fish Memorial Award in 2021 for outstanding contributions to the field of neuroscience from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Peter Seeburg Integrative Neuroscience Prize in 2023 from the Schaller-Nikolich Foundation and Society for Neuroscience.

NIH-Funded Grants and Research[edit]

Role Source, Title Identifier
Principal Investigator NIDA, Transcriptional Mechanisms of Drug Addiction[16] P01 DA047233
Principal Investigator NIMH, Pharmacological Actions of Stress & Antidepressants Treatments[17] R01 MH51399
Principal Investigator NIDA, Role of Neurotrophic Factors in the Actions of Drugs of Abuse[18] R01 DA14133
Principal Investigator NIDA, Molecular Studies of Cocaine Action in Brain[19] R01 DA07359
Principal Investigator NIMH, Pharmacological Actions of Stress & Antidepressants Treatments R01 MH51399
Principal Investigator NIMH, Epigenetic Mechanisms of Chronic Stress Action R01 MH129306
Co-Principal Investigator NIDA, Small Molecule Modulators of ∆FosB Function R01 DA040621
Co-Principal Investigator NIDA, Glial-Mediated Synaptic Remodeling in Drug Addiction R01 DA040620

Publications (partial list)[edit]


Nestler is the author (with Dennis S. Charney, Pamela Sklar and Joseph D. Buxbaum) of Neurobiology of Mental Illness (5th edition; ISBN 0195189809), of Nestler, Hyman and Malenka’s Molecular Neuropharmacology (with Paul J. Kenny, Scott J. Russo and Anne Schaefer); 4th edition; ISBN 978-1-26045-690-5) and two additional books published earlier: Protein Phosphorylation in the Nervous System (with Paul Greengard; ISBN 978-0-47180-558-8) and Molecular Foundations of Psychiatry (with Steven E. Hyman; ISBN 978-0-88048-353-7). He is also the author of more than 725 peer-reviewed publications and reviews.[20] He directs six research projects funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health. He also serves as director of the Depression Task Force of the Hope for Depression Research Foundation.


Nestler has been cited more than 134,000 times and has an H-index of 188.[21][20]


  1. ^ a b c d "Mount Sinai Hospital Doctor Profile". Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  2. ^ "McGraw Hill Medical". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Mount Sinai's Eric Nestler headlining first of new lecture series hosted by School of Neuroscience". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  4. ^ "National Institute on Drug Abuse". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  5. ^ "International Mental Health Research Organization". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  6. ^ a b "The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience". Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Center for Brain Health". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  8. ^ a b 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 [ΔFosB] 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.
  9. ^ a b Heller, Elizabeth A; et al. (2014). "Locus-specific epigenetic remodeling controls addiction- and depression-related behaviors". Nature Neuroscience. 17 (12): 1720–1727. doi:10.1038/nn.3871. ISSN 1097-6256. PMC 4241193. PMID 25347353.
  10. ^ Dennis S. Charney (2003). "Preface". In Charney, Dennis S. (ed.). 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
  11. ^ "NARSAD". Archived from the original on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry". Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  13. ^ "New York Social Diary". 2008-10-23. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  14. ^ "Yale Graduate School honors four alumni with Wilbur Cross Medals". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Eric Nestler given the ACNP Paul Hoch Distinguished Service Award". Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  16. ^ Nestler EJ (2001). "Molecular neurobiology of addiction". Am J Addict. 10 (3): 201–17. doi:10.1080/105504901750532094. PMID 11579619.
  17. ^ Malberg JE, Eisch AJ, Nestler EJ, Duman RS (December 2000). "Chronic antidepressant treatment increases neurogenesis in adult rat hippocampus". J. Neurosci. 20 (24): 9104–10. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.20-24-09104.2000. PMC 6773038. PMID 11124987.
  18. ^ "". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  19. ^ "Labome". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  20. ^ a b "PubMed". National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  21. ^ "Eric Nestler - Google Scholar Citations". Retrieved 2020-05-23.

External links[edit]