Bernardo L. Sabatini

  • Latest publications

    Tritsch NX, Ding JB, Sabatini BL. Dopaminergic neurons inhibit striatal output through non-canonical release of GABA.  Nature. 2012 Oct 11;490(7419):262-6. PMID: 23034651; PMCID: PMC3944587.

    Straub C, Tritsch NX, Hagan NA, Gu C, Sabatini BL. Multiphasic modulation of cholinergic interneurons by nigrostriatal afferents.  Journal of Neuroscience. 2014 Jun 18;34(25):8557-69. PMID: 24948810; PMCID: PMC4061393.

    Higley MJ, Sabatini BL. Competitive regulation of synaptic Ca2+ influx by D2 dopamine and A2A adenosine receptors.  Nature Neuroscience. 2010 Aug;13(8):958-66. PMID: 20601948; PMCID: PMC2910780.

    Saunders A, Oldenburg IA, Berezovskii VK, Johnson CA, Kingery ND, Elliott HL, Xie T, Gerfen CR, Sabatini BL. A direct GABAergic output from the basal ganglia to frontal cortex.  Nature. 2015 Mar 4. PubMed PMID: 25739505; PMCID: in progress

  • Prizes and Awards

    American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2014

    Alice and Rodman W. Moorhead III Professor of Neurobiology, 2014

    A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award, 2013

    Takeda Professor of Neurobiology, 2010

    Society of Neuroscience Young Investigator Award, 2008

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, 2008

    Armenise-Harvard Junior Faculty Grant, Department of Neuroscience: “Cell Autonomous Neuronal Deficits in Tuberous Sclerosis”, 2003

    McKnight Scholar Award, 2002

    Searle Scholar, 2002

    Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in Biomedical Sciences, 2001

    Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship, 1999

    Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Harvard Medical School, 1992


Who he is

Bernardo Sabatini obtained a PhD from the Department of Neurobiology and his MD degree from the Harvard/MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology in 1999. After his postdoctoral research in the lab of Dr. Karel Svoboda at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, Dr. Sabatini joined the faculty in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School in 2001.

In 2008 Dr. Sabatini was named an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is currently an HHMI investigator and is the Alice and Rodman W. Moorhard III Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School.

What he does

The Sabatini laboratory focuses on understanding the function and regulation of synapses in the mammalian brain with a particular interest in how the function of synapses is perturbed in human disease such as autism, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

In order to conduct their studies, Dr. Sabatini’s laboratory creates new optical and chemical methods to be able to observe and manipulate the biochemical signaling associated with synapse function.

News from the Lab

Recently the lab has been using optogenetics to analyze the structure and function of the basal ganglia and its interactions with cortex. Our results reveal previously unknown projections out of and unexpected properties of synapses within the basal ganglia. In particular, many synapses release multiple neurotransmitters with differential targeting of specific neuron subclasses with each neurotransmitter.