Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center  

At the University of California, San Francisco
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Gallo Center
Emeryville CA

Andrew Kayser

University of California

Linda Wilbrecht

University of California

San Francisco
Mission Bay Campus
Kevin Bender
Robert Edwards
Howard Fields
Dorit Ron
Jennifer Whistler

San Francisco
VA Medical Center
Steven Batki
Joshua Woolley
Gallo Investigators
L5B Neuron

Kevin J. Bender, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurology, UCSF


Neurons are finely tuned to extract computationally relevant features from synaptic inputs. This process is influenced heavily by neuromodulators, which can transiently retune neuronal processing by altering the properties of the membrane receptors and channels involved in synaptic transmission and cell excitability. Drugs of abuse disrupt neuromodulator signaling, ultimately producing long-lasting changes in the neuronal circuits that underlie addiction establishment, expression, and relapse.

Our lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms by which neuromodulators control excitability and synaptic integration, and how the dysfunctions in these mechanisms contribute to addiction. We employ a variety of electrophysiological, optical, and genetic techniques, to probe how these neurotransmitters alter information processing in various neuronal compartments, from synaptic inputs onto dendritic spines, to transmitter release in axonal boutons. We hope that learning more about these mechanisms will lead to new targets for the treatment of addiction.

Lab Members

Rebecca Clarkson, Graduate Student,
Alayna Liptak, Staff Research Associate,
Gina Rinetti Vargas, Postdoctoral Fellow,
Sungchil Yang, Postdoctoral Fellow,


Kevin Bender's publications

5980 Horton Street, Suite 370
Emeryville, CA 94608
Phone: (510) 985-3100

Clinical Studies l Webmail