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Cell birth and cell death - why are new cells born in the adult brain, and how do these new cells influence plasticity?

How do adult-generated cells impact central brain functions (like learning and memory) and influence the development or persistence of psychiatric disorders (like addiction, depression, and PTSD)?

What in particular is "good" for adult-generated neurons, and what is "good" for them?

The best place to learn more about these questions and about the Eisch Lab and its key members is our official lab web site.


Yale University (1990)
Graduate School
University of California-Irvin (1997)

Research Interest

  • Inability of the brain to "adapt" may contribute to - or exacerbate - myriad psychiatric disorders.
  • Keywords: motivated behaviors, adult neurogenesis, hippocampus, reward pathway, neuroplasticity, addiction, morphine, heroin, cocaine, depression, anxiety, PTSD, dementia, radiation risk, space flight, cell cycle regulation, BrdU, inducible transgenic mice, viral-mediated gene transfer, confocal microscopy, immunohistochemistry, behavioral analysis, NASA, NIH
  • My research focuses on the role that mediators of developmental neuroplasticity (like generation of new glia or neurons, synaptic remodeling, etc.) play in adulthood. I am particularly interested in neuroplasticity that contributes to normal motivated behaviors as well as to psychiatric disorders. My work has both basic and translational aspects.
  • One mediator of neuroplasticity we study is new neurons in the adult brain, or adult neurogenesis. To this extent, we aim to understand "what is adult neurogenesis good for?" as well as "what is good for adult neurogenesis?"
  • We are broadly interested in neuroplasticity, and our interests expand beyond the boundaries of studying adult neurogenesis. However, a common theme of all of our projects is that they directly or indirectly advance our understanding of basic brain function (like learning and memory) and/or brain disorders (like addiction, depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder). Supporting the relevance of our work, it is supported by a range of institutions, from NIH/NIDA to NASA.


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Honors & Awards

  • Finalist, UT Southwestern Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring
  • Inaugural Seymour Benzer Lecturer, National Academy of Sciences
    Established by Nobel Laureat Sydney Brenner to honor a researchers in neuroscience or genetics (2011)
  • Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, National Academy of Sciences
    Selected as Fellow and Chair of session on Neural Stem Cells (2010)
  • Member of CSR/NIH Standing Study Section on Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior
    Four year term reviewing NIH grants (2009)
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
    K02 Independent Investigator Award (2008)
  • National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression
    Young Investigator Award (2004)
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
    RO1: Regulation of Adult Neurogenesis by Opiates (2004)
  • Society for Neuroscience
    Minisympoisum on Adult Neurogenesis chosen for presentation at annual meeting (2004)
  • National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression
    Young Investigator Award (2002)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Editorial Board, THREE (The Health Risks of Extraterrestrial Environments) (2015)
  • UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center (2015)
  • Radiation Research Society (2013)
  • International Society of Neurochemistry (2012)
  • Co-founder and Organizer, Stem Cells In Neuroscience (SCIN) (2005)
  • Sigma Xi (2005)
  • Society for Neuroscience (1991)