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Addiction researcher Nestler set for next Discovery Lecture

Apr. 13, 2022, 1:37 PM

by Leigh MacMillan

Eric Nestler, MD, PhD

Eric Nestler, MD, PhD, renowned for his studies of the molecular basis of drug addiction and depression, will deliver the next Discovery Lecture on Thursday, April 21.

His presentation, “Transcriptional and Epigenetic Mechanisms of Drug Addiction,” begins at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall and will also be livestreamed.

Nestler is the Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience, director of the Friedman Brain Institute and dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. His research uses animal models of drug addiction and depression to identify how drugs of abuse or stress change the brain, with the goal of developing improved treatments.

In recent studies, his team has pursued alterations to DNA and chromatin in the nucleus — “epigenetic mechanisms.” The studies have identified molecular targets of drug self-administration in brain reward regions, with parallel research focusing on homologous regions in postmortem brains from patients with addiction disorders. The identified targets will guide the development of improved diagnostic tests and treatments.

Nestler is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a past President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Society for Neuroscience and is a founder and scientific advisory board chair for PsychoGenics.

Nestler’s lecture is sponsored by the Vanderbilt Brain Institute. For a complete schedule of Discovery Lectures, archived video of previous lectures, and the livestream link, go to

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