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Alicia Izquierdo
Associate Professor
Ph. D.,
The George Washington University
Primary Area:
Behavioral Neuroscience
Secondary Area:
Learning and Behavior
8631 Franz Hall
(310) 825-3459
Research and Teaching Interests:

My main research interests center on understanding the brain mechanisms of decisions. Specifically, this involves exploring the impact of environmental factors that contribute to reward-related choice and the incorporation of costs in decision making. To that end, my lab studies the impact of drug exposure, development, diet, exercise, stress, and inflammation on these processes using a combination of behavioral, molecular, pharmacological, and computational methods. More recently we have investigated the role of uncertainty, risk, and reinforcement history on choice behavior. A better understanding of the basic mechanisms in reinforcement learning and choice behavior contributes to our knowledge of 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. As a faculty member, Dr. Izquierdo was awarded the Faculty Mentor award by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Dr. Izquierdo is currently an Assistant Director of the Brain Research Institute as the Society for Neuroscience UCLA Chapter President. In 2016, she was selected as a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.

Representative Publications:


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

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 doi: 10.1111/ejn.13608


Hart EE and Izquierdo A (2016). Basolateral amygdala supports the maintenance of value and effortful choice of a preferred option. Eur J Neurosci doi: 10.1111/ejn.13497

Izquierdo A, Brigman JL, Radke AK, Rudebeck PH, Holmes A (2016). The neural basis of reversal learning: An updated perspective. Neuroscience doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.03.021


Wassum KM and Izquierdo A (2015). The basolateral amygdala in reward learning and addiction. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 57: 271-283 doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.08.017

Thompson AB, Stolyarova A, Ying Z, Zhuang Y, Gómez-Pinilla F, Izquierdo A (2015). Methamphetamine blocks exercise-induced increases in Bdnf and Drd2 gene expression in frontal cortex and striatum. Neuropharmacology doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.08.045

Stolyarova A and Izquierdo A (2015). Distinct patterns of outcome valuation and amygdala-prefrontal cortex synaptic remodeling in adolescence and adulthood. Front Behav Neurosci doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00115