Zachary Freyberg, MD, PhD

Dr. Zachary Freyberg is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Cell Biology (secondary).  He is also an Associate Member of the Pittsburgh Liver Research Center and on faculty at the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Freyberg received his MD in Medicine from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.  He received his PhD in Developmental & Molecular Biology also from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  It was at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY, where he finished an Internship in Internal Medicine, Neurology & Psychiatry, followed by a Residency in Psychiatry (Payne Whitney Clinic).  Dr. Freyberg then completed a Fellowship in Schizophrenia Research at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY.

The overall long-term goal of Dr. Freyberg’s research is to better understand human disorders of dopaminergic neurotransmission including addiction, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease at cellular and molecular levels. In order to do so, his laboratory has begun dissecting presynaptic dopaminergic neurotransmission at the synaptic vesicle level using a combination of complementary approaches including genetics, pharmacology and both light and electron microscopy. Consequently, the lab’s current research projects include:

  • Mechanisms of Dopamine Synaptic Vesicle Loading and Release in Health and Neurodegenerative Diseases.
  • Dopamine’s Roles Outside the Central Nervous System in Regulation of Pancreatic Hormone Release and Antipsychotic Drug Action.
  • In Situ Cryo-Electron Microscopy and Super-Resolution Imaging Approaches to Vesicle Trafficking and Synaptic Plasticity
  • In Situ Cryo-Electron Tomography Approaches to Super-Resolution Precision Medicine for Mitochondrial Diseases.

Dr. Freyberg holds professional affiliations with these organizations:

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Genetics Society of America
  • Schizophrenia International Research Society
  • International Transmembrane Transporter Society
  • Society of Biological Psychiatry
  • Molecular Psychiatry Association

In 2019, Dr. Freyberg was honored with the A.E. Bennett Award for Basic Research from the Society of Biological Psychiatry, and the Hamilton Family Award for Basic Research in Psychiatry. In 2022, Dr. Freyberg was honored by election as a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and as Associate Member in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

View a list of Dr. Freyberg’s publications here.

Photo by Joshua Franzos