Stuber awarded 2013 Freedman Prize

Garret Stuber, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Cell and Molecular Physiology, was awarded the 2013 Freedman Prize for Exceptional Basic Research from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

Stuber awarded 2013 Freedman Prize click to enlarge Dr. Garret Stuber, third from right, at the 2013 Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Awards Ceremony. Courtesy of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

Garret Stuber traveled to New York City in July to receive the 2013 Freedman Prize for Exceptional Basic Science Research.

Stuber's UNC School of Medicine lab investigates the neurocircuitry that controls different types of motivated behaviors.  Using optogenetics in mice to target light-sensitive proteins and activate or deactivate cells using light, the Stuber lab's research has revealed how people become motivated to seek out pleasurable activities and avoid negative consequences.

The researchers were able to show connectivity between brain regions that are involved with the release of dopamine in the brain. Stuber says that understanding the prominent circuits involved provides a target for therapeutics to intervene to try to normalize dopamine activity. This breakthrough could play a major role in creating optimum treatments for depression and drug addiction.

Dr. Stuber is an assistant professor of psychiatry at UNC with a secondary appointment in cell biology and physiology. Data for the award-winning work was collected by a number of the members of the Stuber lab including UNC Neurobiology graduate student Alice Stamatakis.