BSc (Hon), PhD


My research is concerned with the fundamental psychological and brain mechanisms for learning and motivation, as well as how these apply to clinical conditions such as addictions, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. I am interested in identifying these mechanisms, at the cellular, circuit, systems, and behavioural levels. To do so, I adopt a multidisciplinary approach, combining approaches from experimental psychology with a variety of approaches from neuroscience (circuit tracing, optogenetics, chemogenetics, fibre photometry, head-mounted mini-microscopes). I am also interested in translating this fundamental knowledge into next generation of psychological theories and treatments of psychological conditions.

Senior Editor, The Journal of Neuroscience

Associate Editor, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Consulting Editor, Behavioral Neuroscience


Fellow, Association for Psychological Science

Fellow, American Psychological Association


DG Marquis Award (2016), American Psychological Association

1. Gibson, G.D., Prasad, A.A., Jean-Richard-dit-Bressel, P., Yau, J.O.Y., Millan, E.Z., Liu, Y., Campbell, E.J., Marchant, N.J., Lim, J., Power, J.M., Killcross, S., Lawrence, A.J., & McNally, G.P. (2018). Distinct accumbens shell output pathways promote versus prevent relapse to alcohol seeking. Neuron, 98, 512-520.

2. Sengupta, A., Yau, J.O.Y., Jean-Richard-dit-Bressel, P., Liu, Y., Millan, E.Z., Power, J.M., & McNally, G.P. (2018). Basolateral amygdala neurons maintain aversive emotional salience. The Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 3001-3012.

3. Jean-Richard-dit-Bressel, P., Killcross, S., & McNally, G.P. (2018). Behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of punishment: Implications for psychiatric disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology, 43, 1639-1650.

4. Sengupta, A. Winters, B., Bagley, E.E., & McNally, G.P. (2016). Disrupted prediction error links excessive amygdala activation to excessive fear. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36, 385-395.

5. Yau, J.O.Y. & McNally, G.P., (2018). Brain mechanisms controlling Pavlovian fear conditioning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning & Cognition, 44, 341-357.