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Alicia Izquierdo
Associate Professor
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. Dr. Izquierdo received the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Faculty Mentor award, and is active in a number of national organizations and initiatives that promote diversity in STEM. 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

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 doi: 10.1007/s00213-017-4656-z

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