Bernard Balleine received his BA with first class honours and the University Medal from the University of Sydney in 1987 and his PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK in 1992. He was subsequently elected to a Research Fellowship at Jesus College Cambridge which he used to begin research into the neural bases of instrumental conditioning. He was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1995, Associate Professor in 2000, and Full Professor in 2004. He was made a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in 2004 and in 2005 Director of Research in the Brain Research Institute at UCLA. He was awarded an inaugural Australian Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Research Council in mid-2009 and appointed to a Professorial position at the University of Sydney in that year. In 2015 he was made a Senior Principal Research Fellow of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC). In 2016 he moved his laboratory to the UNSW Sydney, was appointed a UNSW Scientia Professor and in 2020 a NHMRC Senior Investigator.
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