Dr. Shabel received his B.S. from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC San Francisco where he studied affective encoding in the amygdala using single-cell electrophysiology.  As a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego, Dr. Shabel characterized plasticity of basal ganglia inputs to the lateral habenula in animal models of depression using brain slice electrophysiology and optogenetics.

Dr. Shabel joined the Department of Psychiatry in June 2017.


Uni of California-San Diego (1999), Biology
Graduate School
Uni of California-Sfrancisco (2008), Neuroscience

Research Interest

  • Addiction
  • Depression
  • Individual differences in reward system function
  • Lateral habenula


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Stress transforms lateral habenula reward responses into punishment signals.
Shabel SJ, Wang C, Monk B, Aronson S, Malinow R, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2019 Jun 116 25 12488-12493
Coping with Stress, One Habenula Neuron at a Time.
Rodriguez-Sosa N, Biswas S, Shabel SJ, Neuron 2019 05 102 3 520-522
A neural pathway controlling motivation to exert effort.
Proulx CD, Aronson S, Milivojevic D, Molina C, Loi A, Monk B, Shabel SJ, Malinow R Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2018 May 115 22 5792-5797
Mood regulation. GABA/glutamate co-release controls habenula output and is modified by antidepressant treatment.
Shabel SJ, Proulx CD, Piriz J, Malinow R Science 2014 Sep 345 6203 1494-8
Negative learning bias is associated with risk aversion in a genetic animal model of depression.
Shabel SJ, Murphy RT, Malinow R Front Hum Neurosci 2014 8 1
Input to the lateral habenula from the basal ganglia is excitatory, aversive, and suppressed by serotonin.
Shabel SJ, Proulx CD, Trias A, Murphy RT, Malinow R Neuron 2012 May 74 3 475-81
Similar neural activity during fear and disgust in the rat basolateral amygdala.
Shabel SJ, Schairer W, Donahue RJ, Powell V, Janak PH PLoS ONE 2011 6 12 e27797
Substantial similarity in amygdala neuronal activity during conditioned appetitive and aversive emotional arousal.
Shabel SJ, Janak PH Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2009 Sep 106 35 15031-6