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Dr. Maia Pujara

2019 CCB Fellow

Maia Pujara

Maia is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Section on the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology (NIMH) under Betsy Murray. As a 2019 CCB Fellow, Maia will be examining the causal role of the orbitofrontal-amygdala circuit in value-based decision making using behavioral testing, lesions, and fMRI in nonhuman primates. This project is part of her overall research interests on the causal neural substrates that guide flexible, goal-directed learning and decision making, with a specific focus on prefrontal cortex and its functional interactions with subcortical regions. Providing a basic mechanistic framework for how the brain sustains adaptive choice behavior will shed light on how dysfunction in dedicated circuits may lead to symptoms seen in disorders of compulsivity and impulsivity such as addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders.

Prior to joining the NIH as a Postdoctoral Fellow, Maia received her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016, where she studied neurological patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) damage using behavioral testing and fMRI to determine the role of vmPFC in guiding value-based decision making and modulating striatal activity during reward anticipation.