Patrick Rothwell, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Patrick Rothwell

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-8744

Lab Address:
4-260 WMBB


Patrick Rothwell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. His research lab investigates the synaptic organization and behavioral function of basal ganglia circuits in health and disease. His interests include regulation of these circuits by endogenous opioid signaling, as well as the detrimental effects of chronic exposure to exogenous opioids, with a broad goal of reducing the abuse liability of opioid-based clinical therapies.


Research Summary/Interests

Modulation of striatal circuits in health and disease

Brain disorders and mental illness represent a tremendous social and economic burden, with few effective treatments. The goal of our research is to identify the causes of brain conditions, and develop interventions to restore healthy function using synaptic plasticity and neuromodulation. We study the striatum, and important brain region for both simple and complex movements and cognitive functions. The striatum contains a variety of cell types, which receive synaptic input from many different sources and relay information through the basal ganglia. We examine the function of neural circuits formed by striatal synapses that connect specific sources and targets. Our multidisciplinary approach includes quantitative analysis of gene expression; genetic and molecular manipulations of neural circuits; measurement of synaptic function and plasticity using electrophysiology; and optogenetic stimulation of circuits in brain slices and behaving animals. Our current research focuses on autism spectrum disorders and drug addiction - two brain conditions that affect overlapping elements of striatal circuitry.


Borland JM, Kim E, Swanson SP, Rothwell PE, Mermelstein PG, Meisel RL. Effect of Aggressive Experience in Female Syrian Hamsters on Glutamate Receptor Expression in the Nucleus Accumbens. Front Behav Neurosci. 2020 Nov 23;14:583395. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2020.583395. 

Rothwell PE 2020, ‘Interruption of continuous opioid exposure exacerbates drug-evoked adaptations in the mesolimbic dopamine system’ Neuropsychopharmacology.

Corkrum, M, Covelo, A, Lines, J, Bellocchio, L, Pisansky, M, Loke, K, Quintana, R, Rothwell, PE, Lujan, R, Marsicano, G, Martin, ED, Thomas, MJ, Kofuji, P & Araque, A 2020, 'Dopamine-Evoked Synaptic Regulation in the Nucleus Accumbens Requires Astrocyte Activity', Neuron.

Pisansky, MT, Lefevre, EM, Retzlaff, CL, Trieu, BH, Leipold, DW & Rothwell, PE 2019, 'Nucleus Accumbens Fast-Spiking Interneurons Constrain Impulsive Action', Biological psychiatry, vol. 86, no. 11, pp. 836-847.

Corkrum, M, Rothwell, PE, Thomas, MJ, Kofuji, P & Araque, A 2019, ‘Opioid-mediated astrocyte-neuron signaling in the nucleus accumbens’ Cells, vol. 8, p. 586.

Gokce, O, Stanley, GM, Treutlein, B, Neff, NF, Camp, JG, Malenka, RC, Rothwell, PE, Fuccillo, MV, Südhof, TC & Quake, SR 2016, 'Cellular Taxonomy of the Mouse Striatum as Revealed by Single-Cell RNA-Seq', Cell reports, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 1126-1137.

Rothwell, PE 2016, 'Autism spectrum disorders and drug addiction: Common Pathways, Common Molecules, Distinct Disorders?' Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol. 10, no. FEB, 20.

Fuccillo, MV, Rothwell, PE & Malenka, RC 2016, 'From synapses to behavior: What rodent models can tell us about neuropsychiatric disease' Biological Psychiatry, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 4-6.

Gokce, O, Stanley, GM, Treutlein, B, Neff, NF, Camp, JG, Malenka, RC, Rothwell, PE, Fuccillo, MV, Südhof, TC & Quake, SR 2016, 'Cellular Taxonomy of the Mouse Striatum as Revealed by Single-Cell RNA-Seq' Cell Reports, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 1126-1137.

Rothwell, PE, Hayton, SJ, Sun, GL, Fuccillo, MV, Lim, BK & Malenka, RC 2015, 'Input- and Output-Specific Regulation of Serial Order Performance by Corticostriatal Circuits' Neuron, vol. 88, no. 2, pp. 345-356.

Fuccillo, MV, Földy, C, Gökce, Ö, Rothwell, PE, Sun, GL, Malenka, RC & Südhof, TC 2015, 'Single-Cell mRNA Profiling Reveals Cell-Type-Specific Expression of Neurexin Isoforms' Neuron, vol. 87, no. 2, pp. 326-340.