Robert M. Sears, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert Sears

Robert M. Sears, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
Emotional Brain Institute
Dr. Robert Sears

Robert Sears earned his BA in Biology & Philosophy from Hendrix College in Conway, AR in 2001. In 2009, he received his PhD from Yale’s Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, where he studied the hypothalamic neuropeptide melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) and its influence on motivational brain circuits with Dr. Ralph DiLeone. In 2014, Dr. Sears completed his training as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Joseph LeDoux’s laboratory at NYU’s Center for Neural Science, where he studied the orexin system in aversive learning and the neural circuitry of avoidance behavior. Following that, he joined the Nathan Kline Institute as a Research Scientist.

  • Post-doctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award (F32 MH094062), NIMH, 2012-2014
  • Neural substrates of orexin-dependent coping behaviors (R21 MH116242-01A1), NIMH, 2018-2020
  • 2018 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee (Brain & Behavior Research Foundation)

Select Publications

  • Sears, R.M., Liu, R.J., Narayanan, N.S., Sharf, R., Yeckel, M.F., Laubach, M., Aghajanian, G.K., DiLeone, R.J. Regulation of nucleus accumbens activity by the hypothalamic neuropeptide melanin concentrating hormone. The Journal of Neuroscience. 30(24) 8263-8273 (2010).  PMCID: PMC2907886
  • Sears R.M., Fink A.E., Wigestrand M.B., Farb C.R., de Lecea L., Ledoux J.E. Orexin/hypocretin system modulates amygdala-dependent threat learning through the locus coeruleus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 110(50):20260-5 (2013). PMCID: PMC3864341
  • Sears, R.M., Schiff, H.C., Schiff, LeDoux, J.E. Molecular Mechanisms of Threat Learning in the Lateral Nucleus of the Amygdala. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science.122:263-304 (2014). PMCID: PMC3864341
  • Ramirez, F., Moscarello, J.M., LeDoux, J.E. and Sears, R.M. Active avoidance requires a serial basal amygdala to nucleus accumbens shell circuit. Journal of Neuroscience. 25;35(8):3470-7 (2015). PMCID: PMC4339356