Satoshi Ikemoto, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Behavioral Neuroscience Research Branch, Neurocircuitry of Motivation Section


Biomedical Research Center
251 Bayview Boulevard
Suite 200, Room 08A711
Baltimore, MD 21224


Research Topics

We study neurobiological mechanisms underlying motivation, affect and reinforcement. We are particularly interested in defining brain reward circuitry with respect to neurotransmitters, regions, and connectivity. We also seek to elucidate theoretical (conceptual) issues on the roles that dopamine and related systems play in motivated behaviors. Our behavioral procedures include instrumental and Pavlovian conditioning with optogenetic manipulations, intracranial drug injections and food in mice and rats. We also conduct electrophysiological recordings of neuronal spikes and local field potentials during motivated behavior.

Selected Publications

  1. Jhou TC, Xu SP, Lee MR, Gallen CL, Ikemoto S. Mapping of reinforcing and analgesic effects of the mu opioid agonist endomorphin-1 in the ventral midbrain of the rat. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012;224(2):303-12.

  2. Jhou TC, Good CH, Rowley CS, Xu SP, Wang H, Burnham NW, Hoffman AF, Lupica CR, Ikemoto S. Cocaine drives aversive conditioning via delayed activation of dopamine-responsive habenular and midbrain pathways. J Neurosci. 2013;33(17):7501-12.

  3. Wang DV, Yau HJ, Broker CJ, Tsou JH, Bonci A, Ikemoto S. Mesopontine median raphe regulates hippocampal ripple oscillation and memory consolidation. Nat Neurosci. 2015;18(5):728-35.

  4. Ilango A, Kesner AJ, Keller KL, Stuber GD, Bonci A, Ikemoto S. Similar roles of substantia nigra and ventral tegmental dopamine neurons in reward and aversion. J Neurosci. 2014;34(3):817-22.

  5. Ikemoto S, Yang C, Tan A. Basal ganglia circuit loops, dopamine and motivation: A review and enquiry. Behav Brain Res. 2015;290:17-31.

This page was last updated on November 2nd, 2018