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Fenno, Lief

Lief Fenno

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience


Office Location

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Lief Fenno, MD, PhD, is a board-certified psychiatrist in UT Health Austin’s Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences. He specializes in the medical management of addiction, with a focus on the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including buprenorphine and methadone, in treating opioid use disorder. Additionally, Dr. Fenno is an assistant professor in both the Dell Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and The University of Texas at Austin College of Natural Sciences Department of Neurology. 

Dr. Fenno earned both his medical degree and his doctorate in neuroscience from Stanford University. He also earned his bachelor’s in neurobiology from Harvard University. He completed a residency in adult psychiatry at Stanford Health Care and a fellowship is bioengineering at Stanford University. 

Dr. Fenno directs a laboratory focused on expanding the use of novel molecular and viral approaches, with the objective of precisely establishing links between neuron circuitry and behavior. Leveraging his strengths in neuroscience research and bioengineering, his scientific goal is to design, construct, validate, and apply novel molecular and viral tools to understand the brain in health and disease for the benefit of diverse patient populations. His specific research interests include the development and application of novel molecular tools that enable precision manipulation of targeted neuron populations in awake, behaving subjects.

Recent Publications

A functional cellular framework for sex and estrous cycle-dependent gene expression and behavior.  Knoedler JR, Inoue S, Bayless DW, Yang T, Tantry A, Davis CH, Leung NY, Parthasarathy S, Wang G, Alvarado M, Rizvi AH, Fenno LE, Ramakrishnan C, Deisseroth K, Shah NM.Cell. 2022 Feb 17;185(4):654-671.e22. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.12.031. Epub 2022 Jan 21.PMID: 35065713

Transcriptional and functional divergence in lateral hypothalamic glutamate neurons projecting to the lateral habenula and ventral tegmental area.  Rossi MA, Basiri ML, Liu Y, Hashikawa Y, Hashikawa K, Fenno LE, Kim YS, Ramakrishnan C, Deisseroth K, Stuber GD.Neuron. 2021 Dec 1;109(23):3823-3837.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2021.09.020. Epub 2021 Oct 7.PMID: 34624220

Reciprocal Lateral Hypothalamic and Raphe GABAergic Projections Promote Wakefulness.  Gazea M, Furdan S, Sere P, Oesch L, Molnár B, Di Giovanni G, Fenno LE, Ramakrishnan C, Mattis J, Deisseroth K, Dymecki SM, Adamantidis AR, Lőrincz ML.J Neurosci. 2021 Jun 2;41(22):4840-4849. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2850-20.2021. Epub 2021 Apr 22.PMID: 33888606

A Molecular Calcium Integrator Reveals a Striatal Cell Type Driving Aversion. Kim CK, Sanchez MI, Hoerbelt P, Fenno LE, Malenka RC, Deisseroth K, Ting AY.Cell. 2020 Dec 23;183(7):2003-2019.e16. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.11.015. Epub 2020 Dec 11.PMID: 33308478

Comprehensive Dual- and Triple-Feature Intersectional Single-Vector Delivery of Diverse Functional Payloads to Cells of Behaving Mammals.  Fenno LE, Ramakrishnan C, Kim YS, Evans KE, Lo M, Vesuna S, Inoue M, Cheung KYM, Yuen E, Pichamoorthy N, Hong ASO, Deisseroth K.Neuron. 2020 Sep 9;107(5):836-853.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.06.003. Epub 2020 Jun 22.PMID: 32574559