Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
UCSF Sandler Neurosciences Center
675 Nelson Rising Lane, Room 494
San Francisco, CA. 94158
Woody Hopf received his Ph.D. in Physiology from Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley. After post-doctoral training at Stanford University, he joined the Gallo Research Center at UCSF as a Senior Scientist in 1998, and has been an Assistant Adjunct Professor in Neurology at UCSF since 2009. He is a widely recognized leader in the use of innovative methodologies, including the combination of optogenetics, in vitro electrophysiology and novel behavioral paradigms of pathological drinking, to uncover the molecular and circuit mechanisms that drive the excessive alcohol intake that make alcoholism so destructive. His main research goal is to identify specific molecular changes within particular brain areas that anchor binge-like and compulsive alcohol drinking, which will allow development of novel and potent pharmacological and behavioral interventions in human alcoholics. He presently focuses on frontal cortical areas (including the Insula) and downstream targets (nucleus accumbens, central amygdala), and how alcohol-related adaptations and other neuromodulators (dopamine, orexin, CRF) in these regions interact to drive pathological drinking. His work has been published in high impact factor journals such as Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, Journal of Neuroscience and Biological Psychiatry, and he has made major contributions to our understanding of molecular adaptations and brain circuits that promote pathological alcohol and cocaine intake, which could facilitate development of novel therapeutic interventions for the treatment of addiction.