Iskra Pollak Dorocic

Iskra Pollak Dorocic

Associate senior lecturer

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Works at Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 16
Postal address Institutionen för biokemi och biofysik 106 91 Stockholm


The immense complexity and computational power of the brain emerges from its vast connectivity and combination of cell types. We study the diversity of neuromodulatory neurons and circuits in the brain. By using a combination of molecular and system neuroscience tools to visualize, record and manipulate neural populations, we aim to understand their function and contribution to behavior.

Serotonin and dopamine are two of the main neuromodulators in the brain. The function of these neurons underlies healthy behavior, including motivation, exploration and social behaviors, while imbalances in these circuits are linked to neuropsychiatric illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.

We utilize genetic and molecular profiling, neuroanatomy and connectivity mapping, in vivo imaging of neural activity, and optical neuromanipulation techniques to untangle very specific components of neural circuits, and study their contribution to both healthy brain function and disease.

Find out more by checking the lab website.

The lab is currently welcoming applications for Postdoctoral researchers, PhD students, and MSc students for projects starting in spring 2021 or later. Please email for inquiries and further information.


Selected publications

Cardozo Pinto DF, Yang H, Pollak Dorocic I, deJong JW, Han VJ, Peck JR, Liu C, Zhu Y, Beier KB, Smidt MP, Lammel S. Characterization of transgenic mouse models targeting neuromodulatory systems reveals anatomical and functional heterogeneity of the dorsal raphe nucleusNature Communications. 2019 Oct 11;10(1):4633.


Ährlund-Richter S, Xuan Y, van Lunteren JA, Kim H, Ortiz C, Pollak Dorocic I, Meletis K, Carlén M. A whole-brain atlas of monosynaptic input targeting four different cell types in the medial prefrontal cortex of the mouse. Nature Neuroscience. 2019 Apr; 22(4):657-668.


de Jong JW, Afjei SA, Pollak Dorocic I, Peck JR, Liu C, Kim CK, Tian L, Deisseroth K, Lammel S. A neural circuit mechanism for encoding aversive stimuli in the mesolimbic dopamine system. Neuron. 2019 Jan 2; 101(1):133-151.


Pollak Dorocic I, Fürth D, Xuan Y, Johansson Y, Pozzi L, Silberberg G, Carlén M, Meletis K. A whole-brain atlas of inputs to serotonergic neurons of the dorsal and median raphe nuclei. Neuron. 2014 Aug 6; 83(3):663-78. 


Pozzi L, Pollak Dorocic I, Wang X, Carlén M, Meletis K. Mice lacking NMDA receptors in parvalbumin neurons display normal depression-related behaviors and response to antidepressant action of NMDAR antagonists. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 16;9(1):e83879.


Szydlowski SN*, Pollak Dorocic I*, Planert H*, Carlén M, Meletis K, Silberberg G. Target selectivity of feedforward inhibition by striatal fast-spiking interneurons. Journal of Neuroscience. 2013 Jan 23 ;33(4):1678-83


Group members

Batuhan Uygar, Research assistant

Last updated: April 15, 2021

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