Professor Bernard Balleine
M02 - Mallet Street Campus
Professor Balleine’s research aims to understand the neural bases of the learning and motivational processes that control volitional, or goal-directed, action, an issue that has direct bearing on our developing understanding of the role that the integration of cognitive and emotional systems plays in executive functions and decision-making. Currently his research team is focusing on three primary issues:  The role of the prefrontal cortex-basal ganglia network in the changes in goal-directed learning that emerge as a consequence of neurodegeneration, focal brain damage and addiction;  The role of the amygdala, its brain stem afferents and its efferents on ventral striatum, insular cortex and midbrain dopamine neurons in regulating the emotional processes through which the reward value of events is encoded; and  The role of the thalamo-striatal projection and related cortical connections involving somatosensory cortex in the integration of cognitive and emotional processes necessary for normal decision-making.
Current national competitive grants*
The neural bases of decision-making
ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships ($2,996,244 over 4 years)
* Grants administered through the University of Sydney