Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center       At the University of California, San Francisco
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Faculty (Principal Investigators)
Kevin Bender
Howard Fields
Patricia Janak
Andrew Kayser
Robert O. Messing
Dorit Ron
Jennifer Whistler
Linda Wilbrecht
Staff Research Investigators/
Associate Investigators
Frederic Ambroggi
Gregory O. Hjelmstad
Frederic "Woody" Hopf
Elyssa Margolis
Jun Wang
Affiliated Investigators
Steven L. Batki
Joshua Woolley
Core Facilities
Research Faculty
Wilbrecht lab neuron

Linda Wilbrecht, PhD

Assistant Professor in Residence of Neurology, UCSF
Email: lwilbrecht(at)


Adolescence typically marks a major transition to independence, which brings with it the need to make important decisions, such as where to forage, where to sleep, and when and where to reproduce. It also often requires a period of exploration, with a high tolerance for risk, that is eventually followed by the formation of more stable adult habits. In humans, adolescence also marks a critical time for the development of addictions. Anatomical studies have shown that the mammalian brain undergoes radical changes during adolescence, particularly in the frontal lobe, which integrates sensory and memory systems and coordinates flexible decision-making. The Wilbrecht lab is focused on understanding the adolescent transition at the synaptic, circuit, and behavioral level. In particular, they want to understand how adolescents' experiences with drugs of abuse and natural reinforcers, such as food, alter neural circuitry and decision-making over their lifespans, and how neural plasticity can be harnessed to reverse addiction. They hope to understand how changes in neural circuits can bias decision-making to facilitate healthy adult habits, or create inflexible addictive behavior.

Lab Members

Jegath Athilingam, Staff Research Associate,
Natalia Caporale, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow,
Kiren Chand, Staff Research Associate,
Carolyn Johnson, Graduate Student,
Moses Lee, Graduate Student,
F. Javier Muñoz-Cuevas, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow,
Hannah Peckler, Staff Research Associate,
Lung-Hao Tai, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow,
Angela Vandenberg, Graduate Student,
Claudia Wu, Staff Research Associate,


Johnson C and Wilbrecht L. 2011. Juvenile mice show greater flexibility in multiple choice reversal learning than adults. Dev Cognitive Neurosci. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2003.10.071. Article (PDF)

Linda Wilbrecht's publications

5858 Horton Street, Suite 200
Emeryville, CA 94608
Phone: (510) 985-3109

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