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Thomas Burton

Post-Doctoral Research Associate


  • PhD, The University of Sydney (2019)

  • Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons I), The University of Sydney (2009)

  • Google Scholar
  • ResearchGate_Logo
  • Orcid_Logo
  • GitHub

Research interests

I am interested in the fine-grained analysis of behaviour and its underlying neuronal mechanisms as an agent learns about the causal relationships between stimuli in the environment, their own actions and outcomes that may be predicted or procured. Coupling powerful behavioural approaches with tools for observing neuronal or neuromodulator activity such as fiber photometry, I am able to dissociate psychological processes and observe their real-time underpinnings in the brain. 


2024 - 2029: What is the role of striatal dopamine in value-based decision-making? - Bernard Balleine, Genevra Hart and Thomas J. Burton - Australian Research Council, Discovery Project - Amount: $1,517,812 AUD. 

2022: Advanced rodent video capture and behavioural analysis facility - Bernard Balleine, Gavan McNally, Simon Killcross, Christopher Nolan, Thomas J. Burton et al - UNSW DVR Research Infrastructure Scheme - Amount: $170,000 AUD. 

2022: Measuring real-time acetylcholine release during goal-directed learning in rats and mice - Thomas J. Burton and Chelsea Goulton - UNSW Science Early Career Academic Network Seed Grant - Amount: $2,000 AUD. 

2016: Touchscreen Operant Chambers for Mice - Daniel Johnstone, David Le Couteur, Victoria Cogger and Thomas J. Burton - National Health and Medical Research Council/University of Sydney Major Equipment Grants - Amount: $61,048 AUD. 


  • Hart, G., Burton, T. J., & Balleine, B. W. (2024). What role does striatal dopamine play in goal-directed action? Neuroscience, 546, 20-32. Read More.

  • Hart, G., Burton, T. J., Nolan, C. R., & Balleine, B. W. (2024). Striatal dopamine release tracks the relationship between actions and their consequences. Cell Reports, 43(3), 113828. Read More.

  • Park, J., Lingawi, N. W., Crimmins, B. E., Gladding, J. M., Nolan, C. R., Burton, T. J., & Laurent, V. (2024). Stimulus–outcome associations are required for the expression of specific Pavlovian-instrumental transfer. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 50(1), 25–38. Read More.

  • Burton, T. J., Hart, G. & Balleine, B. W. (2022) What does dopamine release reveal about latent inhibition? Learning & Behavior. Read More.

  • Burton, T. J. & Balleine, B. W. (2022) The positive valence system, adaptive behaviour and the origins of reward. Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, ETLS20220007. Read More.

  • Crimmins, B., Burton, T. J., McNulty, M., Laurent, V., Hart, G., & Balleine, B. W. (2022). Response-independent outcome presentations weaken the instrumental response-outcome association. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 48(4), 396–412. Read More.

  • Liu YA, Burton T, Rayner BS, San Gabriel P, Shi H, El Kazzi M, Wang X, Dennis JM, Ahmad G, Witting PK, Chami B. (2020) The role of sodium thiocyanate supplementation during dextran sodium sulphate-stimulated experimental colitis. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 692,  108490. Read More.

  • O'Connor AM, Burton TJ, Mansuri H, Hand GR, Leamey CA, Sawatari A (2019) Environmental Enrichment from Birth Impacts Parvalbumin Expressing Cells and Wisteria Floribunda Agglutenin Labelled Peri-Neuronal Nets within the Developing Murine Striatum. Frontiers in neuroanatomy, 13, 90. Read More.

  • Rountree-Harrison D, Burton TJ, Leamey CA, Sawatari A (2018) Environmental enrichment expedites acquisition and improves flexibility on a temporal sequencing task in mice. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 12, 51. Read More.

  • Mohammadi SA, Burton TJ, Christie MJ (2017) α9-nAChR knockout mice exhibit dysregulation of stress responses, affect and reward-related behaviour. Behavioural brain research, 328, 105-114. Read More.

  • Skladnev NV, Ganeshan V, Kim JY, Burton TJ, Mitrofanis J, Stone J, Johnstone DM (2016) Widespread brain transcriptome alterations underlie the neuroprotective actions of dietary saffron. Journal of neurochemistry, 139(5), 858-871. Read More.

  • Tung VW, Burton TJ, Quail SL, Mathews MA, Camp AJ (2016) Motor performance is impaired following vestibular stimulation in ageing mice. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 8, 12. Read More.

  • O'Connor AM, Burton TJ, Leamey CA,  Sawatari A (2014) The use of the puzzle box as a means of assessing the efficacy of environmental enrichment. JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), (94), e52225. Read More.

  • Tung VW, Burton TJ, Dababneh E, Quail SL, Camp AJ (2014) Behavioral assessment of the aging mouse vestibular system. JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), (89), e51605. Read More.

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