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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 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. Dr. Izquierdo is active in a number of national organizations and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion in STEM. In 2016 she was selected a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.

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 in press.


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.