Center on Compulsive Behaviors (CCB)

Center on Compulsive Behaviors


Description and Mission Statement

Compulsive behaviors are repeated, perseverative actions that are difficult to inhibit despite clear intentions and harmful consequences for the patients. While their expression is diverse – tics, compulsive eating, and addiction are all examples — compulsive behaviors are driven by shared neuronal circuitry. These neuronal circuitry must be studied at multiple levels, from genetic and molecular to synaptic and behavioral levels. 


The mission of the NIH Center on Compulsive Behaviors (CCB) is to understand the neurobiology of complex behaviors that result in these compulsive and repetitive actions, and to develop and test new therapeutics aimed at alleviating or reversing these behaviors. By understanding the processes that promote or inhibit the development of compulsive behaviors, we hope to optimize existing treatments, and design new pharmacological and behavioral interventions.

CCB Featured on NIH Podcast
Listen to an episode of the NIH Speaking of Science podcast that featured CCB Directors Dr. Veronica Alvarez and Dr. Bruno Averbeck discussing the history and mission of the CCB.


CCB Members

The CCB is striving to advance scientific discovery in the field of compulsive behaviors and to develop expertise on the topic within the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP). The CCB brings together basic scientists and clinical researchers who share a common interest in compulsive behaviors and are spread across different institutes. The center fosters collaborations and provides unique opportunities for research crossover and networking. The center also funds fellowships and trains future experts in the field of compulsive behaviors.

CCB Members
Learn more about the investigators, labs, and members across 8 NIH Institutes working within the CCB.




Fellowship Program

The CCB currently supports post-doctoral and graduate student Fellows working at most NIH Institutes with neuroscience research. The fellow's research areas span a wide range of topics related to compulsive behaviors, including synaptic mechanisms driving compulsive drug taking, neural circuitry that mediates relapse, and behavioral paradigms that promote compulsive overeating.

The CCB is looking to fund outstanding candidates, both clinical or basic science researchers, who are interested in studying topics aligned with the mission of the CCB and with a strong desire for interactions and collaborations with the labs in the IRP. 

Fellowship Information
Learn more about the application cycle for the fellowship program.



Comparative Brain Physiology Consortium (CBPC)

The CBPC is a collaborative initiative between multiple laboratories that are investigating synaptic level neural mechanisms in nonhuman primates and drawing comparisons to the mechanisms found in rodent brains.

Learn more about the research being conducted in the NHP-PC.



CCB Seed Grant

The CCB Seed Grant is a pilot program that offers up to $20,000 to fund a collaborative project between two postdoctoral fellows, ideally a clinical and a preclinical fellow working on a common project. The grant aims at providing IRP postdoctoral fellows with protected research time to carry out a collaborative project and the opportunity to take on an official role as Principal Investigator (PI) on a NIH funded grant.

The application process is highly interactive and collaborative, and serves as a stepping-stone towards the available extramural grants for IRP postdoctoral fellows (e.g., K99/R00).


Seed Grant
Learn more about the application process for the CCB Seed Grant.

CCB Journal Club

The CCB Journal Club is organized by CCB Fellows to discuss research articles, present data for feedback, and practice conference/job talks. The Journal Club is held monthly and virtually with a rotating list of topics and discussion.

CCB Journal Club
Learn more about how to become involved in the CCB Journal Club.


CCB Leadership and Staff

Sebastian Peña-Vargas (Program Analyst)
Roland Bock, M.Sc. (Program Manager)

Become a CCB Member
Contact the CCB to learn more about CCB programs, upcoming events, and to join the listserv.


The CCB is currently funded by the NIH Shared Resource Subcommittee, allowing for a stable source of funding to promote our long-term collaborative endeavors. The center was founded in 2017 and supported for the first two years by the DDIR Innovation Award, and DDIR Challenge Innovation Award Program.