A Celebration of Larry Stein (1931-2019) by Thomas A. Ban

Trevor Robbins’ comment


        Larry Stein was a hero of mine whilst I was still a graduate student and later junior faculty member. His work on the chemical identity of the reward and punishment pathways was highly original at the time. I recall he initially identified the locus coeruleus system with positive reinforcement and later realised the central dopamine system was also important for reward! However, he was also one of the first to identify the serotonin system as part of the punishment system (modulating effects of benzodiazepines on anxiety) and one of the first to posit opponent interactions amongst the reward and punishment transmitter systems. Until recently, I still cited his splendid study (Stein, Belluzzi and Wise 1975) of the role of central noradrenaline in the consolidation of aversive memory in rodents in my advanced undergraduate course here in Cambridge.

        I always found his presentations and discussions forcefully presented and exciting. He was charming and generous to me, a junior neuroscientist, in discussions of my own work. His achievements have unfortunately perhaps been under-rated, perhaps because of his Wyeth attachment, but historically he has been a giant in the field. I did contact his widow and facility to express my admiration.



Stein L, Belluzzi JD, Wise CD. Memory enhancement by central administration of norepinephrine. Brain Res. 1975;84(2):329-35.


February 20, 2020