We are interested in the neurocircuits that mediate the reorientation from drugs of abuse toward dyadic social interaction.

Gerald Zernig
A.o. Univ.-Prof. Dr.med.

Division of Experimental Psychiatry,

Innsbruck Medical University




Current SPIN Students
Current Research

Key techniques/Methods

  • Conditioned place preference (CPP)
  • Double fluorescence immunohistochemistry
  • gSTED (gated Stimulated Emission Depletion) microscopy
  • Transgenic mouse models (drd1cre, creTVA)
  • Modulation of gene expression by stereotaxic delivery of transcription vectors


Selected Publications

Prast JM, Schardl A, Schwarzer C, Dechant G, Saria A, Zernig G, 2014, Reacquisition of cocaine condtioned place preference and its inhibition by previous social interaction preferentially affect D1-medium spiny neurons in the accumbens corridor. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 8, 317 (2014)

Prast JM, Schardl A, Sartori SB, Singewald N, Saria A, Zernig G, 2014, Increased conditioned place preference for cocaine in high anxiety-related behavior (HAB) mice is associated with an increases activation in the accumbens corridor, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8, 441 (2014)

Kummer KK, Hofhansel L, Barwitz CM, Schardl A, Prast JM, Salti A, El Rawas R, Zernig G, 2014, Differences in social interaction- vs cocaine reward in mouse vs rat, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 8, 363

Fritz M, El Rawas R, A Salti, MT Bardo, G Kemmler, G Dechant, A Saria, G Zernig, 2011, Reversal of cocaine-conditioned place preference and mesocorticolimbic Zif268 expression by social interaction in rats. Addiction Biology 16, 273-284.

Kummer K, Klement S, Eggart V, Mayr MJ, Saria A, Zernig G, 2011, Conditioned place preference for social interaction in rats: contribution of sensory components. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 5, 80

Kummer KK, El Rawas R, Kress M, Saria A, Zernig G, 2015, Social interaction and cocaine conditioning in mice increases spontaneous spike frequency in the nucleus accumbens or septal nuclei as revealed by muli-electrode array recordings, Pharmacology 95, 42-49.