I am involved in the teaching of a number of psychobiological related modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. My research interests are primarily directed at understanding the neurobiological determinants of behavioural flexibility from animal models to human studies.
I completed my PH.D. in 2010 at the University of St Andrews under the supervision of Dr Eric Bowman. During this time, I applied extracellular single-unit recording in freely moving rodents to understand the role of dopaminergic cells in reinforcement related tasks.
After my PH.D. I spent two and a half years as a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Jeffery Wickens' lab at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology to study the involvement of nucleus accumbens neurons in regulating instances of flexible behaviour using optogenetics. Following this, I joined Prof. Joshua Johansen's lab again as a postdoctoral fellow for one year at the Riken Brain Science Institute where we investigated the contribution of dopaminergic cells to fear learning in transgenic rats using a combination of behavioural, electrophysiological and optogenetic approaches.
Over the last three years, I have worked as a lecturer in psychology in Malaysia and Cyprus, joining Sheffield Hallam University in September 2016.
Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics
Development and Society
- Psychology Research Group
LUO, Ray, UEMATSU, Akira, WEITEMIER, Adam, AQUILI, Luca, KOIVUMAA, Jenny, MCHUGH, Thomas and JOHANSEN, Joshua (2018). A dopaminergic switch for fear to safety transitions. Nature Communications, 9 (2483).
RIBY, LM, TEIK, DOL, AZMIE, NBM, OOI, EL, REGINA, Caroline, YEO, EKW, MASSA, Jacqueline and AQUILI, Luca (2017). Impulsiveness, postprandial blood glucose and glucoregulation affect measures of behavioral flexibility. Nutrition Research, 48, 65-75.
ONG LAI TEIK, Derek, LEE, Xiao Shiang, LIM, Chu Jian, LOW, Chia Mei, MUSLIMA, Mariyam and AQUILI, Luca (2016). Ginseng and ginkgo biloba effects on cognition as modulated by cardiovascular reactivity: a randomised trial. PLOS ONE, 11 (3), e0150447.
AQUILI, Luca, LIU, Andrew W., SHINDOU, Tomomi and WICKENS, Jeffery R. (2014). Behavioral flexibility is increased by optogenetic inhibition of neurons in the nucleus accumbens shell during specific time segments. Learning & Memory, 21 (4), 223-231.
AQUILI, Luca (2014). The causal role between phasic midbrain dopamine signals and learning. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8 (139), 1-4.
AQUILI, Luca and WICKENS, Jeffery (2011). VTA and NAcc neurons inhibition during reversal learning : a pharmacological and an optogenetic approach. Neuroscience Research, 71, e373.
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