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Eric Zorrilla, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Neuroscience
California Campus
Laboratory Website
Scripps VIVO Scientific Profile
(858) 784-7416

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Member, Pearson Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research
Faculty, Graduate Program

Other Joint Appointments

Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Neurosciences, UCSD
Member, Neurosciences Graduate Program, UCSD

Research Focus

The Zorrilla laboratory seeks to understand the neural substrates of motivated behavior and of the regulatory control of energy balance using interdisciplinary molecular, biochemical, neuroanatomical, pharmacological, physiological, behavioral and statistical techniques. We are particularly interested in genetic, epigenetic and neuroadaptive differences in the neurobiology of reward and stress circuits that subserve the control of food intake as well as of other appetitive (reward-driven) and stress-related behaviors. Our work aims to be therapeutically relevant to the increased incidence of obesity, binge eating disorders, alcoholism and drug addiction, and stress-related psychiatric disorders of anxiety and depression in industrialized societies.


Ph.D., Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 1996
M.A., Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 1992
B.S., Psychology/Economics/Political Science (triple major), Duke University, 1991

Professional Experience

2003-2017 Associate Professor, Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders (CNAD), The Scripps Research Institute
2001-2003 Senior Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute
1997-2001 Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute
1996-1997 Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurocrine Biosciences

Selected References

All Publications

Somkuwar, S. S., Vendruscolo, L. F., Fannon, M. J., Schmeichel, B. E., Nguyen, T. B., Guevara, J., Sidhu, H., Contet, C., Zorrilla, E. P. & Mandyam, C. D. Abstinence from prolonged ethanol exposure affects plasma corticosterone, glucocorticoid receptor signaling and stress-related behaviors. (2017). Psychoneuroendocrinology, 84, 17. PMCID: PMC5557646.

Roberto, M., Spierling, S. R., Kirson, D. & Zorrilla, E. P. Corticotropin-Releasing Factor (CRF) and Addictive Behaviors. (2017). International Review of Neurobiology, 136, 5.

Spierling, S. R. & Zorrilla, E. P. Don't stress about CRF: assessing the translational failures of CRF(1)antagonists. (2017). Psychopharmacology, 234(9-10), 1467-1481. PMCID: PMC5420464.

Kreisler, A. D., Garcia, M. G., Spierling, S. R., Hui, B. E. & Zorrilla, E. P. Extended vs. brief intermittent access to palatable food differently promote binge-like intake, rejection of less preferred food, and weight cycling in female rats. (2017). Physiology & Behavior, 177, 305.

Spierling, S. R., Mattock, M. & Zorrilla, E. P. Modeling hypohedonia following repeated social defeat: Individual vulnerability and dopaminergic involvement. (2017). Physiology & Behavior, 177, 99.

Frihauf, J. B., Fekete, E. M., Nagy, T. R., Levin, B. E. & Zorrilla, E. P. Maternal Western diet increases adiposity even in male offspring of obesity-resistant rat dams: early endocrine risk markers. (2016). American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 311(6), R1045-R1059.

Shanmugam, A. K., Mysona, B. A., Wang, J., Zhao, J., Tawfik, A., Sanders, A., Markand, S., Zorrilla, E., Ganapathy, V., Bollinger, K. E. & Smith, S. B. Progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1) expression in murine retina. (2016). Current Eye Research, 41(8), 1105-1112. PMCID: PMC4896862.

Francesconi, W., Sanchez-Alavez, M., Berton, F., Alboni, S., Benatti, C., Mori, S., Nguyen, W., Zorrilla, E., Moroncini, G., Tascedda, F. & Conti, B. The proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 18 regulates feeding by acting on the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. (2016). Journal of Neuroscience, 36(18), 5170-5180.

Wang, J., Shanmugam, A., Markand, S., Zorrilla, E., Ganapathy, V. & Smith, S. B. Sigma 1 receptor regulates the oxidative stress response in primary retinal Müller glial cells via NRF2 signaling and system xc(-), the Na(+)-independent glutamate-cystine exchanger. (2015). Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 86, 25. PMCID: PMC4554890.

Shanmugam, A., Wang, J., Markand, S., Perry, R. L., Tawfik, A., Zorrilla, E., Ganapathy, V. & Smith, S. B. Sigma receptor 1 activation attenuates release of inflammatory cytokines MIP1 gamma, MIP2, MIP3 alpha, and IL12 (p40/p70) by retinal Muller glial cells. (2015). Journal of Neurochemistry, 132(5), 546-558. PMCID: PMC4451448.


Zorrilla Lab website

Zorrilla Lab publications