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Belinda Lay

Post-Doctoral Research Associate


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Behavioural Neuroscience), University of New South Wales (2017)

  • Bachelor of Advanced Science (Psychology Honours), University of New South Wales (2011)

  • Google Scholar
  • Orcid_Logo

Research interests

Learning is the means by which we adapt to our environments. On occasion, what we learn contradicts our present knowledge about the world. When this occurs, the old and new (conflicting) information compete for control over behaviour. My research seeks to understand how the brain processes conflicting information to direct behaviour. Using behavioural paradigms such as extinction, overexpectation and counterconditioning in combination with causal (optogenetics and the cell-labelling RAM system in wildtype and ChAT:cre transgenic rats) and correlational (pharmacology) techniques, I am particularly interested in examining how different neuronal populations and mechanisms within the amygdala play a functional role in updating behavioural responses when faced with changing contingencies. 


  • Leake, J., Leidl, D. M., Lay, B. P. P., Fam, J. F., Giles, M. C., Qureshi, O. A., Westbrook, R. F., & Holmes, N. M. (2022). What is learned determines how Pavlovian conditioned fear is consolidated in the brain. bioRxiv. Read More. 

  • Lay, B. P. P., Choudhury, R., Guillem, R. E., & Iordanova, M. D. (2022). Persistent disruption of overexpectation learning after inactivation of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex in male rats. Psychopharmacology, 240(3), 501-511. Read More.  

  • Lay, B. P. P., Eisuke, K., Hope, B. T., Guillem, R. E., & Iordanova, M. D. (2022). The recruitment of a neuronal ensemble in the central nucleus of the amygdala during the first extinction episode has persistent effects on extinction expression. Biological Psychiatry, 93(4), 300-308. Read More.

  • Gostolupce, D.*, Lay, B. P. P.*, Maes, E. J. P., & Iordanova, M. D. (2022). Understanding associative learning through higher-order conditioning. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience Research, 16, 845616. Read More.

  • Gostolupce, D., Iordanova, M. D. & Lay, B. P. P. (2021). Mechanisms of higher-order learning in the amygdala. Brain Behaviour Research, 414, 113435. Read More.

  • Lay, B. P. P., & Khoo, S. YS. (2021). Associative processes in addiction relapse models: A review of their Pavlovian and instrumental mechanisms, history, and terminology. Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, 3, e18. Read More.

  • Lay, B. P. P., Frate, M., Lozzi, M., Guillem, R. E., & Iordanova, M. D. (2020). Female rats take longer than male rats to update reward expectancies when outcomes are worse than expected. Behavioral Neuroscience, 134(5), 417-423. Read More.

  • Lay, B. P. P., Pitaru, A., Boulianne, N., Guillem, R. E., & Iordanova, M. D. (2020). Different methods of fear reduction are supported by distinct cortical substrates. eLife, 9, e55294. Read More.

  • Lay, B. P. P., Nicolosi, M., Usypchuck, A., Guillem, R. E., & Iordanova, M. D. (2019). Dissociation of appetitive overexpectation and extinction in the infralimbic cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 29(9), 3687-3707. Read More.

  • Khoo, S. YS., & Lay, B. P. P. (2018). A very long embargo: Journal choice reveals active non-compliance with funder open access policies by Australian and Canadian neuroscientists. Liber Quarterly, 28(1), 1-19. Read More.

  • Leidl, D. M., Lay, B. P. P., Chakouch, C., Westbrook, R. F., & Holmes, N. M. (2018). Protein synthesis in the basolateral amygdala complex is required for consolidation of a first-order fear memory, but not for consolidation of a higher-order fear memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 153, 153-165. Read More.

  • Lay, B. P. P., Westbrook, R. F., Glanzman, D. L., & Holmes, N. M. (2018). The commonalities and differences in the substrates underlying consolidation of first- and second-order conditioned fears. The Journal of Neuroscience, 38(8), 1926-1941. Read More.

  • Khoo, S. YS., Lay, B. P. P., Joya, J., & McNally, G. P. (2017). Local anaesthetic refinement of pentobarbital euthanasia reduces abdominal writhing without affecting immunohistochemical endpoints in rats. Laboratory Animals, 52(2), 152-162. Read More.

  • Clemens, K. J., Lay, B. P. P., & Holmes, N. M. (2017). Extended nicotine self-administration increases sensitivity to nicotine and the reinforcing properties of nicotine-paired cues. Addiction Biology, 22(2), 400-410. Read More.

  • Holmes, N. M., Cai, S. Y., Lay, B. P. P., Watts, N. R., & Westbrook, R. F. (2014). Extinguished second-order conditioned fear responses are renewed but not reinstated. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 40(4), 440-456. Read More.

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