About me

Hi! My name is Jeroen Verharen and I’m a behavioral neuroscientist interested in how the brain processes rewarding and aversive experiences. Using different neural circuit dissection tools (calcium imaging, pharmacology, anatomical tracing, optogenetics and computational modeling), I study how the dopamine system is involved in shaping such experiences into adaptive behavior.

Curriculum Vitae

2019 – now: Postdoc (Rubicon fellow)
University of California, Berkeley, United States
Advisor: Dr. Stephan Lammel

2014 – 2018: Ph.D., Neuroscience
Utrecht University, Netherlands
Advisors: Dr. Roger Adan, Dr. Louk Vanderschuren
Download thesis

2012 – 2014: M.Sc., Neuroscience
VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cum laude distinction

2008 – 2011: B.Sc., Medicine
VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands

Current projects

As a postdoc in the Lammel lab, I’m currently working on three projects:
(1) The neurocomputational basis of reward seeking under risk
(2) The topographic organization of reward processing in the striatum
(3) Behavioral correlates of (an)hedonia

If you want to know more or if you’re interested in collaborating, shoot me an email!


Google Scholar | PubMed


Verharen JPH, de Jong JW, Zhu Y, Lammel S. A computational analysis of mouse behaviour in the sucrose preference test. Nature Communications. (2023)
Online | PDF | Preprint | Code


Bijlsma A, Omrani A, Spoelder M, Verharen JPH, Bauer L, Cornelis C, de Zwart B, van Dorland R, Vanderschuren LJMJ, Wierenga CJ. Social Play Behavior is Critical for the Development of Prefrontal Inhibitory Synapses and Cognitive Flexibility in Rats. The Journal of Neuroscience. (2022)
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Liu C, Tose AJ, Verharen JPH, Zhu Y, Tang LW, de Jong JW, Du JX, Beier KT, Lammel S. An inhibitory brainstem input to dopamine neurons encodes nicotine aversion. Neuron. (2022)
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Dorison, CA, Lerner JS, Heller BH, …, Verharen JPH, …, Coles NA. In COVID-19 Health Messaging, Loss Framing Increases Anxiety with Little-to-No Concomitant Benefits: Experimental Evidence from 84 Countries. Affective Science. (2022)
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Legate N, Nguyen T, Weinstein N, …, Verharen JPH, …, Primbs MA. A global experiment on motivating social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. PNAS. (2022)
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Achterberg EJ, van Oldeniel RJ, van Tilborg E, Verharen JPH, Nijboer CH, Vanderschuren LJMJ. Cognitive performance during adulthood in a rat model of neonatal diffuse white matter injury. Psychopharmacology. (2022)
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Wang K, Goldenberg, A, Dorison, CA, Miller JK, Uusberg A, …, Verharen JPH, … Moshontz H. A multi-country test of brief reappraisal interventions on emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature Human Behaviour. (2021)
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Verharen JPH, Luijendijk MCM, Vanderschuren LJMJ, Adan RAH. Dopaminergic contributions to behavioral control under threat of punishment in rats. Psychopharmacology. (2020)
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Verharen JPH, De Jong JW, Lammel S. Dopaminergic control over the tripartite synapse. Neuron. (2020)
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Verharen JPH, Zhu Y, Lammel S. Aversion Hot Spots in the Dopamine System. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. (2020)
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Verharen JPH, den Ouden HEM, Adan RAH, Vanderschuren LJMJ. Modulation of value-based decision making behavior by subregions of the rat prefrontal cortex. Psychopharmacology. (2020)
Online | PDF | Data and code


Verharen JPH, Danner UN, Schröder S, Aarts E, van Elburg AA, Adan RAH. Insensitivity to Losses: A Core Feature in Patients With Anorexia Nervosa? Biological Psychiatry Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. (2019)
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Verharen JPH, Adan RAH, Vanderschuren LJMJ. Differential contributions of striatal dopamine D1 and D2 receptors to component processes of value-based decision making. Neuropsychopharmacology. (2019)
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Verharen JPH, van den Heuvel MW, Luijendijk MCM, Vanderschuren LJMJ, Adan RAH. Corticolimbic Mechanisms of Behavioral Inhibition under Threat of Punishment. The Journal of Neuroscience. (2019)
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Verharen JPH, Adan RAH, Vanderschuren LJMJ. How Reward and Aversion Shape Motivation and Decision Making: A Computational Account. Neuroscientist. (2019)
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Verharen JPH, Roelofs TJM, Menting-Henry S, Luijendijk MCM, Vanderschuren LJMJ, Adan RAH. Limbic control over the homeostatic need for sodium. Scientific Reports. (2019)
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Verharen JPH, Kentrop J, Vanderschuren LJMJ, Adan RAH. Reinforcement learning across the rat estrous cycle. Psychoneuroendocrinology. (2019)
Online | PDF | Data


Verharen JPH, De Jong JW, Roelofs TJM, Huffels CFM, van Zessen R, Luijendijk MCM, Hamelink R, Willuhn I, den Ouden HEM, van der Plasse G, Adan RAH, Vanderschuren LJMJ. A neuronal mechanism underlying decision-making deficits during hyperdopaminergic states. Nature Communications. (2018)
Online | PDF | YouTube


Roelofs TJM, Verharen JPH, van Tilborg GAF, Boekhoudt L, van der Toorn A, de Jong JW, Luijendijk MCM, Otte WM, Adan RAH, Dijkhuizen RM. A novel approach to map induced activation of neuronal networks using chemogenetics and functional neuroimaging in rats: A proof-of-concept study on the mesocorticolimbic system. Neuroimage. (2017)
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Wichmann R, Vander Weele CM, Yosafat AS, Schut EHS, Verharen JPH, Sridharma S, Siciliano CA, Izadmehr EM, Farris KM, Wildes CP, Kimchi EY, Tye KM. Acute stress induces long-lasting alterations in the dopaminergic system of female mice. BioRxiv. (preprint, 2017)


Jeroen P.H. Verharen, PhD
Weill Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

undefined jeroenverharen@berkeley.edu