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  • Neir Eshel, MD, PhD

    Neir Eshel, MD, PhD

    Instructor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Bio Dr. Eshel (he/him/his) is a psychiatrist and instructor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine.

    His clinical focus is the full-spectrum mental health care of sexual and gender minorities, with particular interest in depression, anxiety, and the complex effects of trauma in this population. He works in collaboration with other primary care and mental health providers at the new Stanford LGBTQ+ program.

    His research interests include the use of optogenetic, electrophysiological, neuroimaging, and behavioral approaches to probe the neural circuits of reward processing, decision making, and social behavior. He recently won a multi-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the neural circuits of frustration and aggression.

    Dr. Eshel has published articles on topics such as the role of dopamine in learning, the neuroscience of irritability, LGBTQ health, reward and punishment processing in depression, behavioral predictors of substance use among adolescents, and the mechanism of transcranial magnetic stimulation. His work has appeared in Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, Annual Review of Neuroscience, JAMA, JAMA Psychiatry, Neuropsychopharmacology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Journal of Neuroscience. He is also the author of the book Learning: The Science Inside, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    He has delivered presentations on anger expression in patients with PTSD, the neural circuitry of learning, dopamine prediction errors, and LGBTQ-related topics at meetings of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Society of Biological Psychiatry, and Association of American Medical Colleges, among others. He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, and an ad-hoc reviewer for numerous publications including Science, JAMA Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, and Current Biology.


    Dr. Eshel has won honors for his scholarship and advocacy, including the Marshall Scholarship, the Outstanding Resident Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Science and SciLifeLab Grand Prize for Young Scientists, and the National LGBT Health Achievement Award.

    He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, Society of Biological Psychiatry, Association of Gay & Lesbian Psychiatrists, Society for Neuroscience, and other professional associations. He is also an advocate for LGBTQ rights, recently serving as the LGBTQ Chair of the Stanford Graduate Medical Education Diversity Committee.

    Prior to Stanford, Dr. Eshel trained and conducted research at the National Institutes of Health, Princeton University, the World Health Organization, University College London, and Harvard University.

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