Anatol Kreitzer, PhD
Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease

Other Professional Titles

Associate Professor, Physiology and Neurology, University of California, San Francisco


(415) 734-2507


(415) 355-0824


Joy Lingat
(415) 734-2506

Areas of Investigation

Our laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms that control cellular, synaptic and circuit function in the basal ganglia of the brain, especially those that control motor planning, learning, and movement. Our long-term goal is to understand how neural activity and plasticity in these circuits shapes motor behavior and how neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD) and dystonia affect synaptic, cellular and circuit function in the basal ganglia.

The control of movement is among the most fundamental functions of the nervous system. The basal ganglia, and the striatum in particular, play a critical role in the selection and learning of appropriate actions. Individuals suffering from movement disorders such as PD or dystonia have profound difficulties performing appropriate movements, yet the relation between aberrant neural activity and motor problems is not well understood. A thorough knowledge of the mechanisms underlying circuit function in the basal ganglia, both in health and disease, will provide a framework that can be used to develop novel treatments for neurological disorders.

Lab Focus

What is the functional role of neural activity in direct and indirect pathway medium-spiny neurons (MSNs) found in the basal ganglia?
How do striatal microcircuits function to shape direct and indirect pathway output?
What role does dopamine play in striatal microcircuit function?
How does loss of dopamine impact basal ganglia circuit function?
How do dopamine and other neuromodulators modulate synaptic plasticity in the striatum?
How can we restore basal ganglia circuit function in the absence of dopamine, such as during PD?


Developed the capability to directly activate basal ganglia circuitry in vivo, using optogenetic control of direct- and indirect-pathway MSNs.
Established a critical role for basal ganglia circuitry in the bidirectional regulation of motor behavior and reinforcement learning.
Identified novel therapeutic targets for the amelioration of parkinsonian symptoms.


  • Society for Neuroscience
  • International Basal Ganglia Society
  • Circuit Therapeutics (Scientific Advisory Board)

Professional titles

Associate Professor, Physiology and Neurology, University of California, San Francisco


  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Harvard University

Honors and Awards

2011 IACM Award for Young Researchers
2011 Young Investigator Award, Society for Neuroscience
2010 McKnight Scholar Award
2008 Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences