Alex W. Johnson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Ph.D., 2006, Cardiff University
My lab is interested in the neuronal mechanisms of learning and motivation. Current research themes include the modulation of food intake and procurement via learning, the transition to habitual behavior that follows addiction, and elucidating endophenotypes of mental illness in animal models. To this end, I use complex appetitive behavioral procedures based on contemporary learning theory, together with sophisticated neuroscience techniques, which include optogenetics, pharmacological inactivation procedures, functional anatomical techniques and the use of immediate early gene markers, for behavioral circuit analyses. In a continuation of my translational research interests, we also study mechanisms of learning and decision-making in humans.