Source: Interfolio F180

Eric Zorrilla

Associate Professor
Member, Pearson Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research
Department of Molecular Medicine


Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences

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.S. (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), Scripps Research
2001-2003 Senior Research Associate, Scripps Research
1997-2001 Research Associate, Scripps Research
1996-1997 Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurocrine Biosciences

Awards & Professional Activities

1987 Angier B. Duke Memorial Merit Scholar, Duke University
1991 Economics Honors Program, Duke University
1991 Dean's List with Distinction, Cum Laude, Duke University
1991 Graduated with Distinction in Psychology, Duke University
1996 Most Outstanding Graduate Student, University of Pennsylvania
2005 Most-Frequently Read Articles, Am J Physiol
2006 Paper received Commentary, Science
2006 Paper received Commentaries, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Mol Interv.
2006 Elected Fellow, Harold L. Dorris Neurological Research Institute
2007 Paper received Commentary, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
2009 Cover, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
2009 Feature article, American Journal of Primatology
2016 APSselect, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol.
2019 Paper received Commentary, Neuropsychopharmacology

Selected Publications

Kirson, Dean; Spierling Bagsic, Samantha R.; Murphy, Jiayuan; Chang, Hang; Vlkolinsky, Roman; Pucci, Sarah N.; Prinzi, Julia; Williams, C A.; Fang, Savannah Y.; Roberto, Marisa; Zorrilla, Eric P. Decreased excitability of leptin-sensitive anterior insula pyramidal neurons in a rat model of compulsive food demand. 2022, 208, 108980.

Serafine, Katherine M.; O'Dell, Laura E.; Zorrilla, Eric P. Converging vulnerability factors for compulsive food and drug use. 2021, 196, 108556.

Spierling, Samantha R.; de Guglielmo, G.; Kirson, D.; Kreisler, A.; Roberto, Marisa; George, Olivier; Zorrilla, Eric P. Insula to ventral striatal projections mediate compulsive eating produced by intermittent access to palatable food. Neuropsychopharmacology 2020, 45, 579-588.

Frihauf, Jennifer B.; Fekete, Éva M; Nagy, Tim R.; Levin, Barry E.; Zorrilla, Eric P. Maternal Western diet increases adiposity even in male offspring of obesity-resistant rat dams: early endocrine risk markers. 2016, 311, R1045-R1059.

Logrip, Marian L.; Vendruscolo, Leandro F.; Schlosburg, Jo E.; Koob, George F.; Zorrilla, Eric P. Phosphodiesterase 10A regulates alcohol and saccharin self-administration in rats. 2014, 39, 1722-31.

Cottone, P.; Sabino, V.; Roberto, Marisa; Bajo, M.; Pockros, L.; Frihauf, J. B.; Fekete, E. M.; Steardo, L.; Rice, K. C.; Grigoriadis, D. E.; Conti, Bruno; Koob, George F.; Zorrilla, Eric P. CRF system recruitment mediates dark side of compulsive eating. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2009, 106, 20016-20020.