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Alicia Izquierdo
Associate Professor
The George Washington University
Primary Area:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Secondary Area:
Learning and Behavior
5807 Life Sciences Bldg
(310) 825-3459
Research and Teaching Interests:

My main research interests center on understanding the brain mechanisms of flexible reinforcement learning and value-based decisions. Specifically, this involves exploring the impact of costs and determining the relative value of options. To that end, my lab studies these processes using a combination of behavioral, molecular, pharmacological, computational, and in vivo imaging methods. More recently we have investigated the neurobiological basis for the role of uncertainty, risk, and reinforcement history on learning and choice. A better understanding of the basic neural mechanisms in reinforcement learning and choice behavior may contribute to our knowledge of behavioral and substance addictions, in particular.


Dr. Izquierdo received a B.S. in Biology and Psychology from Emory University, and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience through the Graduate Partnership Program between the National Institutes of Health and The George Washington University. After completing her doctoral work at the National Institute of Mental Health, she spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Dr. Izquierdo is active in a number of national and international organizations and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion in STEM. She also devotes significant energy to mentoring, recognized by the Department's J. Arthur Woodward Graduate Mentor Award for 2018.

Representative Publications:


Hart EE, Gerson JO, Izquierdo A (2018). Persistent effect of withdrawal from intravenous methamphetamine self-administration on brain activation and behavioral economic indices involving an effort cost. Neuropharmacology 140: 130-138.


Izquierdo (2017). Functional heterogeneity within rat orbitofrontal cortex in reward learning and decision making. The Journal of Neuroscience 37(44): 10529-10540.

Stolyarova A and Izquierdo A (2017). Complementary contributions of basolateral amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex to value learning under uncertainty. eLife

Thompson AB, Gerson J, Stolyarova A, Bugarin A, Hart EE, Jentsch JD, Izquierdo A (2017). Steep effort discounting of a preferred reward over a freely-available option in prolonged methamphetamine withdrawal in male rats. Psychopharmacology 234(18): 2697-2705.

Hart EE, Gerson JO, Zoken Y, Garcia M, and Izquierdo A (2017). Anterior cingulate cortex supports effort allocation toward a qualitatively preferred option. Eur J Neurosci 46(1): 1682-1688.