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.
See Lab Website for Publications: izquierdolab.psych.ucla.edu