Clem Lab

Laboratory of Emotional Brain Plasticity


Emotional memories mediate adaptive behavioral reactions to dangerous and rewarding situations. However, memories acquired during intense emotional experiences also contribute to debilitating conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. One basis for these powerful effects is the association of stimuli that were encountered during trauma or drug use with the experience of threat or pleasure. Our laboratory aims to understand how such associations are stored in the brain, and identify circuit mechanisms by which they can be alleviated.

We utilize a combination of approaches including optogenetics, synaptic electrophysiology and calcium imaging, to identify how neural pathways and individual neurons are engaged and modified during memory storage. Once memories are established, other experiments address the mechanisms that contribute to their reinforcement or attenuation by molecular and behavioral interventions.

Contact Us

Clem Laboratory
Roger Clem, PhD
Associate Professor, Neuroscience
Associate Professor, Psychiatry
Lab: HESS 9-301
Office: HESS 9-112
Office: 212.824.8976



Cummings, KA, Bayshtok, S, Dong, TN, Clem, RL. 2022. Control of fear by prefrontal GABAergic populations encoding valence-specific information. Neuron 110(18):3036-3052.


Cummings, KA, Lacagnina, AF, Clem, RL. 2021. GABAergic microcircuitry of fear memory encoding. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 184:107504.

Roman-Ortiz, C, Guevara, JA, Clem, RL. 2021. GABAergic basal forebrain projections to the periacqueductal gray promote food consumption, reward and predation. Scientific Reports 11(1): 22638.


Cummings, KA, Clem RL. 2020. Prefrontal somatostatin interneurons encode fear memory. Nature Neuroscience. 23(1):61-74.

Bicks, L, Yamamuro, K, Flanigan, M, Kim, J, Kato, D, Lucas, E, Koike, H, Peng, M, Brady, D, Chandrasekaran, S, Norman, K, Smith, M, Clem, RL, Russo, S, Akbarian, S, Morishita, H. 2020. Prefrontal parvalbumin interneurons require juvenile social experience to establish adult social behavior. Nature Communications 11(1):1003.

Flanigan, M, Aleyasin, H, LeClair, K, Lucas, EK, Matikainen-Ankey, B, Menard, C, Bouchard, S, Pfau, ML, Golden, S, Calipari, ES, Nestler, EJ, DiLeone, RJ, Yamanaka, A, Huntley, GW, Clem, RL, Russo, SJ. 2020. Orexin signaling in the lateral habenula encodes the valence of aggressive social encounters. Nature Neuroscience. 2020 May;23(5):638-650.

Nabel, E, Garkun, Y, Koike, H, Taccheri, G, Demars, M, Norman, K, Susanna, I, Caro, K, Lopez, S, Hof, P, Clem, RL, Morishita, H. 2020. Adolescent top-down neurons receive heightened local drive to establish adult attentional behavior in mice. Nature Communications. 2020 Aug 7;11(1):3983.

Chen L, Cummings K, Mau W, Zaki Y, Dong Z, Rabinowitz S, Clem RL, Shuman T, DJ Cai. The role of intrinsic excitability in the evolution of memory: Significance in memory allocation, consolidation, and updating. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 2020 Sep;173:107266.


Lucas EK, Wu WC, Roman-Ortiz C, Clem RL. Prazosin during fear conditioning facilitates subsequent extinction in male C57Bl/6N mice. Psychopharmacology (Berl). Aug 15. doi: 10.1007/s00213-018-5001-x. [Epub ahead of print]


Lucas EK, Clem RL. GABAergic interneurons: The orchestra or the conductor in fear learning and memory? 2018. Brain Res Bull 141:13-19. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2017.11.016. Epub 2017 Dec 2.


Optogenetic Examination of Prefrontal-Amygdala Synaptic Development. 2017. Arruda-Carvalho M, Wu WC, Cummings KA, Clem RL. J Neurosci. 2017 Mar 15;37(11):2976-2985. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3097-16.2017.

The BigLEN-GPR171 Peptide Receptor System Within the Basolateral Amygdala Regulates Anxiety-Like Behavior and Contextual Fear Conditioning. 2017. Bobeck EN, Gomes I, Pena D, Cummings KA, Clem RL, Mezei M, Devi LA. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 Apr 20. doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.79.

Prazosin during threat discrimination boosts memory of the safe stimulus. 2017. Homan P, Murrough JW, Soleimani L, Bach DR, Clem RL, Schiller D. Learning and Memory. In press.


Clem RL, Schiller D. New Learning and Unlearning: Strangers or Accomplices in Threat Memory Attenuation? Trends Neurosci. 2016 May;39(5):340-51. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.03.003. Epub 2016 Apr 12.

Elizabeth K. Lucas, Anita M. Jegarl, Hirofumi Morishita, Roger L. Clem. Multimodal and Site-Specific Plasticity of Amygdala Parvalbumin Interneurons after Fear Learning. Neuron. 2016 Jul 12. pii: S0896-6273(16)30310-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.032. [Epub ahead of print].


Arruda-Carvalho M, Clem RL. Prefrontal-amygdala fear networks come into focus. Front Syst Neurosci. 2015 Oct 30;9:145. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2015.00145. eCollection 2015


Arruda-Carvalho M, Clem RL. Pathway-Selective Adjustment of Prefrontal-Amygdala Transmission during Fear Encoding.J Neurosci. 2014 Nov 19;34(47):15601-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2664-14.2014.

Steinfurth EC, Kanen JW, Raio CM, Clem RL, Huganir RL, Phelps EA. Young and old Pavlovian fear memories can be modified with extinction training during reconsolidation in humans. Learn Mem. 2014 Jun 16;21(7):338-41.

Lucas, EK, A Jegarl and RL Clem. 2014. Mice lacking TrkB in parvalbumin-positive cells exhibit sexually dimorphic behavioral phenotypes. Behavioural Brain Research: advance online Aug 12.


Clem, RL, RL Huganir. 2013. Norepinephrine enhances a discrete form of long-term depression during fear memory storage. J Neurosci 33(29): 11825-32. PMC3713724.

Ming-Sia, G, RL Clem and RL Huganir. 2013. The human language-associated gene SRPX2 regulates synapse formation and vocalization in mice. Science 342(6161):987-91.


Anggono V, Clem RL, Huganir RL. PICK1 loss of function occludes homeostatic synaptic scaling. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2011 Feb; 31(6).

Meet the Team


Anthony Lacagnina, PhD

Anthony Lacagnina, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Tri Dong

PhD Student

Kelsey Heslin, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Rasika Iyer

Rasika Iyer

Lab Manager

Amanda Russo, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow (alumni)

Current position: Medical writer

Kirstie Cummings, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow (alumni)

Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Alabama Birmingham

Anosha Khawaja

Lab Manager (alumni)

Current position: PhD student, Boston University

Ciorana Roman Ortiz, PhD

PhD Student (alumni)

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA

Sabina Bayshtok

Laboratory Manager (alumni)

Current position: MD student

Darpan Chakraborty

Postdoctoral Fellow (alumni)


Beth Lucas, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow (alumni)

Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Alabama Birmingham

Maithe Carvalho, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow (alumni)

Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Toronto Scarborough

Wan-Chen (Amy) Wu

Master's Student (alumni)

Current position: PhD Student, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio

Anita Jegarl

Undergraduate Researcher (alumni)

Current position: MD student, Yale

Atichai Suwannapeng

Undergraduate Researcher (alumni)

Kristina Cechova

Undergraduate Researcher (alumni)

Emily Beckett

Undergraduate Researcher (alumni)

Job Openings

Graduate Positions

Graduate positions are available to study the cellular and circuit basis of fear conditioning and extinction, with a special interest in molecular and synaptic contributions to memory storage and updating. 

To inquire about positions, please send you curriculum vitae and the names of at least 3 references to