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Beatrice Leung

Postdoctoral Research Associate


  • PhD in Medicine, University of Sydney (2014)

  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology, minor in Cognitive Science), University of California, Los Angeles (2005)

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Research interests

Animals and humans constantly adapt to changes in the environment and make decisions that offer the most favourable outcome. My research focuses on understanding the neural basis of value- or stimulus-guided actions using in vivo techniques, such as chemogenetics and optogenetics, in combination with animal models of decision making. Ultimately, understanding the neural basis of psychological processes controlling action selection will have an impact on understanding and treating a wide range of diseases involving a loss of action control, such as addiction, major psychiatric disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, and neurodegenerative diseases.


2021 - 2023:  Examining the metabolic and cognitive deficits caused by insulin resistance in the ventral striatum - Vincent Laurent, Beatrice K. Leung, Nura W. Lingawi and Billy C., Chieng - National Health and Medical Research Council, Ideas Grant - Amount: 400,372 AUD


  • Leung, B. K., Merlin, S., Walker, A. K., Lawther, A. J., Paxinos, G., Eapen, V., Clarke, R.,  Balleine, B. W., & Furlong, T. M. (2023). Immp2l knockdown in male mice increases stimulus-driven instrumental behaviour but does not alter goal-directed learning or neuron density in cortico-striatal circuits in a model of Tourette syndrome and autism spectrum disorder. Behavioural Brain Research, 114610. Read More.

  • Becchi, S., Chieng, B., Bradfield, L. A., Capellán, R., Leung, B. K., & Balleine, B. W. (2023). Cognitive effects of thalamostriatal degeneration are ameliorated by normalizing striatal cholinergic activity. Science Advances, 9(25), eade8247. Read More.

  • Gladding JM, Lingawi NW, Leung BK, Kendig MD, Chieng BC, Laurent V (2023) High fat diet allows food-predictive stimuli to energize action performance in the absence of hunger, without distorting insulin signaling on accumbal cholinergic interneurons. Appetite, 106769. Read more.

  • Crimmins BE, Lingawi NW, Chieng BC, Leung BK, Maren S, Laurent V (2022) Basal forebrain cholinergic signaling in the basolateral amygdala promotes strength and durability of fear memories. Neuropsychopharmacology. Read More.

  • Bradfield, L. A., Leung, B. K., Boldt, S., Liang, S., Balleine, B. W. (2020). Goal-directed actions transiently depend on dorsal hippocampus. Nature Neuroscience. Read More.

  • Morse, A. K., Leung, B. K., Heath, E., Bertran-Gonzalez, J., Pepin, E., Chieng, B. C., Balleine, B. W., & Laurent, V. (2020). Basolateral Amygdala Drives a GPCR-Mediated Striatal Memory Necessary for Predictive Learning to Influence Choice. Neuron, 106(5). Read More.

  • Leung, B. K., & Balleine, B. W. (2015). Ventral Pallidal Projections to Mediodorsal Thalamus and Ventral Tegmental Area Play Distinct Roles in Outcome- Specific Pavlovian-Instrumental Transfer. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(12), 4953–4964. Read More.

  • Balleine, B. W., Morris, R. W., Leung, B. K., (2015). Thalamocortical integration of instrumental learning and performance and their disintegration in addiction. Brain Research, 1628(A), 104-116. Read More.

  • Hart, G., Leung, B. K.,  & Balleine, B. W. (2014). Dorsal and ventral streams: The distinct role of striatal subregions in the acquisition and performance of goal-directed actions. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 108, 104–118. Read More.

  • Corbit, L. H., Leung, B. K., & Balleine, B. W. (2013). The Role of the Amygdala-Striatal Pathway in the Acquisition and Performance of Goal-Directed Instrumental Actions. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(45), 17682–17690. Read More.

  • Leung, B. K., & Balleine, B. W. (2013). The Ventral Striato-Pallidal Pathway Mediates the Effect of Predictive Learning on Choice between Goal-Directed Actions. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(34), 13848–13860. Read More.

  • Laurent, V., Leung, B. K., Maidment, N. T., & Balleine, B. W. (2012). Μu- and Delta-Opioid-Related Processes in the Accumbens Core and Shell Differentially Mediate the Influence of Reward-Guided and Stimulus-Guided Decisions on Choice. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(5), 1875–83. Read More.

  • Balleine, B. W., Leung, B. K., & Ostlund, S. B. (2011). The orbitofrontal cortex, predicted value, and choice. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1239, 43–50. Read More.

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