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. Yang C, Hu Y, Talishinsky AD, Potter CT, Calva CB, Ramsey LA, Kesner AJ, Don RF, Junn S, Tan A, Pierce AF, Nicolas C, Arima Y, Lee SC, Su C, Coudriet JM, Mejia-Aponte CA, Wang DV, Lu H, Yang Y, Ikemoto S. Medial prefrontal cortex and anteromedial thalamus interaction regulates goal-directed behavior and dopaminergic neuron activity. Nat Commun. 2022;13(1):1386.
  2. Kesner AJ, Calva CB, Ikemoto S. Seeking motivation and reward: Roles of dopamine, hippocampus, and supramammillo-septal pathway. Prog Neurobiol. 2022;212:102252.
  3. Kesner AJ, Shin R, Calva CB, Don RF, Junn S, Potter CT, Ramsey LA, Abou-Elnaga AF, Cover CG, Wang DV, Lu H, Yang Y, Ikemoto S. Supramammillary neurons projecting to the septum regulate dopamine and motivation for environmental interaction in mice. Nat Commun. 2021;12(1):2811.
  4. Nicolas C, Russell TI, Pierce AF, Maldera S, Holley A, You ZB, McCarthy MM, Shaham Y, Ikemoto S. Incubation of Cocaine Craving After Intermittent-Access Self-administration: Sex Differences and Estrous Cycle. Biol Psychiatry. 2019;85(11):915-924.
  5. Wang DV, Viereckel T, Zell V, Konradsson-Geuken Å, Broker CJ, Talishinsky A, Yoo JH, Galinato MH, Arvidsson E, Kesner AJ, Hnasko TS, Wallén-Mackenzie Å, Ikemoto S. Disrupting Glutamate Co-transmission Does Not Affect Acquisition of Conditioned Behavior Reinforced by Dopamine Neuron Activation. Cell Rep. 2017;18(11):2584-2591.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, November 2, 2018