Kevin Beier

Picture of Kevin Beier
Assistant Professor, Physiology & Biophysics
School of Medicine
Joint appointment, Neurobiology and Behavior
School of Biological Sciences
Joint appointment, Biomedical Engineering
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering
Joint appointment, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Associate Director, Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2012, Genetics
University of California, Irvine
825 Health Sciences Road
Medical Sciences D335
Irvine, CA 92617
Research Interests
Neuroscience, Neural Circuits, Neural plasticity, Molecular Neuroscience, Behavior, Technique Development, Viral-genetic
Academic Distinctions
UCI Innovation Fellow, 2020
NIDA Start a SUD Startup Challenge Winner, 2020
Daniel X. Freedman Prize, honorable mention, 2020
Research Abstract
My research is focused on identifying how experience modulates activity dynamics in neural circuits, both acutely and chronically. I aim to develop new methods and use these in combination with modern techniques such as optogenetics and in-vivo calcium imaging to understand the sources of adaptive and maladaptive plasticity that drive normal and pathophysiological behaviors. These include reward/aversion processing in normal appetitive behaviors, drug addiction, neurodegeneration, and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. I will also employ cutting-edge viral-genetic methods to map brain state-dependent activity in connected neural ensembles, and use this information to infer how our brain state drives us to perform particular behaviors. I also aim to take novel approaches to interrogating the sources of individual behavioral variation in neuropsychiatric conditions such as addiction, anxiety, and depression.
Awards and Honors
DP2 New Innovator Award Beier (PI) 09/15/2019 – 09/14/2024
One Mind Rising Stars Award Beier (PI) 12/15/2020 – 12/14/2023
Alzheimer’s Association – New to the Field Beier (PI) 06/01/2020 – 05/31/2023
TRDRP New Investigator Award Beier (PI) 07/01/2020 – 06/30/2023
TRDRP High Impact Pilot Award Beier (PI) 07/01/2020 – 06/30/2022
Donors Cure Foundation Award Beier (PI) 04/01/2020 – 03/31/2022
K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award Beier (PI) 03/01/2016 – 08/31/2021
American Parkinson’s Disease Association Beier (PI) 09/01/2020 – 08/31/2021
NARSAD Young Investigator Award Beier (PI) 01/15/2019 – 01/14/2021
Conte Center seed grant Beier (PI) 01/10/2020 – 12/31/2020
ICAL seed grant Beier (PI) 09/01/2019 – 08/31/2020
NIDA Start an SUD Startup Challenge Award Winner, 2020
Short Biography
I am passionate about social justice. To this end I am the School of Medicine's DECADE representative, and team leader for the Dismantling Systemic Racism: Recruitment of Black Faculty working group. My lab's anti-racism statement can be found here on our webpage:
Beier KT. Modified viral-genetic mapping reveals local and global connectivity relationships of ventral tegmental area dopamine cells. bioRxiv 2022.01.18.476718; doi:
Tian G, Hui M, Macchia D, Derdeyn P, Rogers A, Hubbard E, Liu C, Vasquez JJ, Taniguchi L, Bartas K, Carroll S, Beier KT. An extended amygdala-midbrain circuit controlling cocaine withdrawal-induced anxiety and reinstatement. bioRxiv 2021.11.05.467532; doi:
Derdeyn P, Hui M, Macchia D, Beier KT, 2022. Uncovering the connectivity logic of the ventral tegmental area. Frontiers in Neural Circuits 15: 799688.
Wu X, Morishita W, Beier KT, Heifets BD, Malenka RC, 2021. 5-HT modulation of a medial septal circuit tunes social memory stability. Nature 599(7883): 96-101.
Rogers A, Toledano M, Hubbard E, Macchia D, Hui M, Beier KT, 2021. A student-centered seminar course as a complementary approach to a traditional journal club. Adv Physiol Educ. 2022 Mar 1;46(1):77-83.
Beier KT, 2021. The serendipity of viral trans-neuronal specificity: more than meets the eye. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience Oct 4;15:720807.
Zhu Z, Hubbard E, Guo X, Barbosa DAN, Popal AM, Cai C, Jiang H, Zheng Z, Lin J, Gao W, Zhang J, Bartas K, Macchia D, Derdeyn P, Halpern CH, Mayberg HS, Beier KT*, Zhu J*, Wu H*, 2021. A connectomic analysis of deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression. Brain Stimulation Aug 13:S1935-861X(21)00212-6. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2021.08.010. (*corresponding authors)
Shuster SA, Wagner MJ, Pan-Doh N, Ren J, Grutzner SM, Beier KT, Kim TH, Schnitzer MJ, Luo L, 2021. The relationship between birth timing, circuit wiring, and physiological response properties of cerebellar granule cells. PNAS 118(23): e2101826118.
Xu X, Holmes TC, Luo MH, Beier KT, Horwitz GD, Zhao F, Zeng W, Hui M, Semler BL, Sandri-Goldin RM, 2020. Viral Vectors for Neural Circuit Mapping and Recent Advances in Trans-synaptic Anterograde Tracers. Neuron Jul 31;S0896-6273(20)30527-4.

Steinberg EE, Gore F, Heifets BD, Taylor MD, Norville ZC, Beier KT, Foldy C, Lerner TN, Luo L, Deisseroth K, Malenka RC. Amygdala-Midbrain Connections Modulate Appetitive and Aversive Learning. Neuron 106(6): 1026-1043.

Luo L, Ambrozkiewicz MC, Benseler F, Chen C, Dumontier E, Falkner S, Furlanis E, Gomez AM, Hoshina N, Huang WH, Hutchison MA, Itoh-Maruoka Y, Lavery LA, Li W, Maruo T, Motohashi J, Pai EL, Pelkey KA, Pereira A, Philips T, Sinclair JL, Stogsdill JA, Traunmüller L, Wang J, Wortel J, You W, Abumaria N, Beier KT, Brose N, Burgess HA, Cepko CL, Cloutier JF, Eroglu C, Goebbels S, Kaeser PS, Kay JN, Lu W, Luo L, Mandai K, McBain CJ, Nave KA, Prado MAM, Prado VF, Rothstein J, Rubenstein JLR, Saher G, Sakimura K, Sanes JR, Scheiffele P, Takai Y, Umemori H, Verhage M, Yuzaki M, Zoghbi HY, Kawabe H, Craig AM, 2020. Optimizing Nervous System-Specific Gene Targeting with Cre Driver Lines: Prevalence of Germline Recombination and Influencing Factors. Neuron. 2020. 106, 37-65.

Wall NR, Neumann PA, Beier KT, Mokhtari AK, Luo L, Malenka RC, 2019. Complementary Genetic Targeting and Monosynaptic Input Mapping Reveal Recruitment and Refinement of Distributed Corticostriatal Ensembles by Cocaine. Neuron. 2019 Nov 13. pii: S0896-6273(19)30927-4.

Holt MK, Pomeranz LE, Beier KT, Reimann F, Gribble FM, Rinaman L, 2019. Synaptic inputs to the mouse dorsal vagal complex and its resident preproglucagon neurons. J Neurosci. Oct 30. pii: 2145-19.

Cardozo Pinto DF, Yang H, Dorocic IP, de Jong JW, Han VJ, Peck JR, Liu C, Zhu Y, Beier KT, Smidt MP, Lammel S, 2019. Characterization of transgenic mouse models targeting neuromodulatory systems reveals anatomical and functional heterogeneity of the dorsal raphe nucleus. Nat Communications 10(1): 4633.

Choi K, Holly E, Davatolhagh, Beier KT, Fuccillo MV, 2019. Integrated anatomical and physiological mapping of striatal afferent projections. European Journal of Neuroscience 49(5):623-636.

Beier KT*, Gao XJ, Xie S, DeLoach KE, Malenka RC, Luo L, 2019. Topological organization of ventral tegmental area connectivity revealed by viral-genetic dissection of input-output relations. Cell Reports 26: 1-9. (*corresponding author)

Weber F, Do JPH, Chung S, Beier KT, Bikov M, Doost MS, Dan Y, 2018. Regulation of REM and non-REM sleep by periaqueductal GABAergic neurons. Nat Communications 9(1): 354.

Beier KT, Kim CK, Hoerbelt P, Hung LW, Heifets BD, DeLoach KE, Mosca TJ, Neuner S, Deisseroth K, Luo L, Malenka RC, 2017. Rabies screen reveals GPe control of cocaine-triggered plasticity. Nature 549: 345-350.

Hung LW, Neuner S*, Polepalli JS*, Beier KT*, Wright M, Walsh JJ, Lewis EM, Luo L, Deisseroth K, Dolen G, Malenka RC, 2017. Gating of social reward by oxytocin in the ventral tegmental area. Science 357: 1406-1411. (*co-second authors)

Chung S, Weber F, Zhong P, Tan CL, Nguyen TN, Beier KT, Hormann N, Chang WC, Zhang Z, Do JPH, Yao S, Krashes MJ, Tasic B, Cetin A, Zeng H, Knight ZA, Luo L, Dan Y, 2017. Identification of preoptic sleep neurons using retrograde labelling and gene profiling. Nature 545: 477-481.

Francois A, Low SA, Sypek EI, Christensen AJ, Sotoudeh C, Beier KT, Ramakrishnan C, Ritola KD, Sharif-Naeini R, Deisseroth K, Delp SL, Malenka RC, Luo L, Hantman A, Scherrer GA, 2017. A brainstem - spinal cord inhibitory circuit for mechanical pain modulation by GABA and enkephalins. Neuron 93: 1-18.

Beier KT, Steinberg EE, DeLoach KE, Xie S, Gao XJ, Miyamichi K, Schwarz LA, Kremer EJ, Malenka RC, Luo L, 2015. Circuit architecture of midbrain dopamine neurons revealed by systematic input–output mapping. Cell 162: 622-634.

Lerner TN, Shilyanski CS, Davidson TJ, Evans KE, Beier KT, Zalocusky KA, Crow AK, Malenka RC, Luo L, Tomer R, Deisseroth K, 2015. Independent circuit wiring and information representation within parallel nigrostriatal dopamine circuits revealed with intact-brain structural and functional analysis. Cell 162: 635-647.

Schwarz LA, Miyamichi K, Gao XJ, Beier KT, Weissbourd B, DeLoach KE, Ren J, Ibanes S, Malenka RC, Kremer EJ, Luo L, 2015. Viral-genetic tracing of the input–output organization of a central norepinephrine circuit. Nature 524(7563): 88-92.

Weber F, Chung S, Beier KT, Luo L, Dan Y, 2015. Control of REM sleep by ventral medulla GABAergic neurons. Nature 526(7573): 435-8.

Mundell NA*, Beier KT*, Pan YA*, Lapan SW, Göz Aytürk D, Berezovskii VK, Wark AR, Drokhlyansky E, Bielecki J, Born RT, Schier AF, Cepko CL, 2015. Vesicular stomatitis virus enables gene transfer and transsynaptic tracing in a wide range of organisms. J Comp Neurol. 523: 1639-1663. (*co-first authors)

Lammel S, Steinberg EE, Földy C, Wall NR, Beier K, Luo L, Malenka RC, 2015. Diversity of transgenic mouse models for selective targeting of midbrain dopamine neurons. Neuron 85(2): 429-38.

Beier K, Borghuis B, El-Danaf R, Huberman A, Demb J, Cepko C, 2013. Targeted VSV transsynaptic tracing reveals novel retinal circuitry. J Neurosci 33(1): 35-51.

Beier K, Saunders A, Oldenburg I, Sabatini B, Cepko C, 2013. Vesicular stomatitis virus with the rabies virus glycoprotein directs retrograde transsynaptic transport among neurons in vivo. Front Neural Circuits 7:11.

Whited JL, Tsai S, Beier K, White J, Pierkarski N, Hanken J, Cepko C, Tabin CJ, 2013. Pseudotyped retroviruses for infecting axolotl cells in vivo and in vitro. Development 140(5): 1137-46.

Jiang H, Wang L, Beier KT, Cepko CL, Fekete DM, Brigande JV, 2013. Lineage analysis of the late otocyst stage mouse inner ear by transuterine microinjection of a retroviral vector encoding alkaline phosphatase and an oligonucleotide library. PLoS One 8(7): e69314.

Hafler BP, Surzenko N, Beier K, Punzo C, Trimarchi J, Cepko CL, 2012. Olig2 defines a subpopulation of retinal progenitor cells biased towards specific cell fates. PNAS 109(20): 7882-7.

Beier K, Saunders A, Oldenburg IA, Miyamichi K, Ahktar N, Luo L, Whelan S, Sabatini BL, Cepko C, 2011. Anterograde and retrograde transsynaptic labeling of CNS neurons with vesicular stomatitis virus vectors. PNAS 108(37): 15414-9.

Beier K, Samson MES, Matsuda T, Cepko CL, 2011. Conditional expression of TVA allows clonal analysis of descendants from Cre-expressing progenitor cells. Dev Biol 353(2): 309-20.

Cronican JJ, Beier KT, Davis TN, Tseng J, Li W, Brown J, Thompson DB, Shih A, Cepko CL, Kung AL, Zhou Q, Liu DR, 2011. Naturally supercharged human proteins deliver proteins into mammalian cells in vitro and in vivo. Chem Biol 18(7): 833-8.

Beier K, Eppanapally S, Bazick HS, Chang D, Mahadevappa K, Gibbons FK, Christopher KB, 2011. Elevation of blood urea nitrogen is predictive of long-term mortality in critically ill patients independent of "normal" creatinine. Crit Care Med 39(2): 305-13.

Cronican JJ, Thompson DB, Beier KT, McNaughton BR, Cepko CL, Liu DR, 2010. Potent delivery of functional proteins into mammalian cells in vitro and in vivo using a supercharged protein. ACS Chem Biol 5(8): 747-52.

Reviews/Protocols/Book Chapters/Commentaries:
Rogers A, Beier KT, 2021. Can transsynaptic viral strategies be used to reveal functional aspects of neural circuitry? J Neurosci Methods Jan 15: 348.

Beier KT, 2019. Hitchhiking on the neuronal highway: Mechanisms of transsynaptic specificity. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 99: 9-17.

Botham CM, Arribere JA, Brubaker SW, Beier KT, 2017. Ten simple rules for writing a career development award proposal. PLoS Comput Biol 13(12): e1005863.

Beier KT*, Mundell NA*, Pan YA*, Cepko CL, 2016. Anterograde or retrograde transsynaptic circuit tracing in vertebrates with vesicular stomatitis virus vectors. Curr Protoc Neurosci. Jan 4; 74:1.26.1-1.26.27 (*co-first authors).

Nassi JJ, Cepko CL, Born RT, Beier KT, 2015. Neuroanatomy goes viral! Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 9: 80.

Beier KT. Anterograde viral tracer methods. In Axons and Brain Architecture. Academic Press, 2015.

Beier K, Cepko C, 2012. Viral tracing of genetically defined neural circuitry. J Vis Exp 68.

Tuncdemir SN, Fishell G, 2011. Neural circuits look forward. PNAS 108(39): 16137-8.
Other Experience
Postdoctoral Fellow/Instructor
Stanford University 2012—2018
Graduate Programs
Biomedical Engineering
Cellular and Molecular Biosciences
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
Mathematical and Computational Biology
Pharmacological Sciences
Research Centers
Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM)
UCI Mind
Center for Complex Biological Systems (CCBS)
Center for Neural Circuit Mapping (CNCM)
Last updated