top of page

James Peak

Post-Doctoral Research Associate


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology), The University of New South Wales (2019)

  • Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science & Neuroscience, Hons I), The University of Queensland (2013)

  • Google Scholar
  • ResearchGate_Logo
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Research interests

The capacity for goal-directed action is critical to adaptive behaviour, and considerable evidence now suggests that the learning and performance of goal-directed instrumental action depends on activity in basal ganglia circuitry – notably, on a circuit centered around the posterior region of dorsomedial striatum. More specifically, we have suggested that the dorsomedial striatum acts a critical integration point in this circuit, whereby learning signals provided by cortical, limbic and thalamic regions are translated into performance via the output pathways of the dorsal striatum. My research combines neuronal tract tracing and neural manipulations in rodents learning and performing goal-directed actions, with a specific focus on connections between the prefrontal cortex and dorsal striatum as well as downstream projections from the dorsal striatum to basal ganglia output structures, in an effort to understand their involvement in these behavioural processes.


  • Balleine, B. W., Peak, J., Matamales, M., Bertran-Gonzalez, J., & Hart, G. (2021). The dorsomedial striatum: an optimal cellular environment for encoding and updating goal-directed learning. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 41, 38-44. Read More.

  • Peak, J., Chieng, B., Hart, G., & Balleine, B. W. (2020). Striatal direct and indirect pathway neurons differentially control the encoding and updating of goal-directed learning. eLife, 9. Read More.

  • Peak, J., Hart, G. & Balleine, B.W. (2019) From learning to action: the integration of dorsal striatal input and output pathways in instrumental conditioning. Eur J Neurosci, 49(5), 658-671. Read More

  • Turner, K.M., Peak, J. & Burne, T.H. (2017) Baseline-dependent effects of amphetamine on attention are associated with striatal dopamine metabolism. Sci Rep, 7, 297. Read More

  • Turner, K.M., Peak, J. & Burne, T.H. (2015) Measuring Attention in Rodents: Comparison of a Modified Signal Detection Task and the 5-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task. Front Behav Neurosci, 9, 370. Read More

  • Peak, J.N., Turner, K.M. & Burne, T.H. (2015) The effect of developmental vitamin D deficiency in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats on decision-making using a rodent gambling task. Physiol Behav, 138, 319-324. Read More

bottom of page