Professor Gavan P. McNally

Professor Gavan P. McNally

Professor Gavan P. McNally

Professor

BSc (Hon), PhD UNSW

Contact details

Phone: (02) 9385 3044
Email: Professor Gavan P. McNally
Fax: (02) 9385 3641

Office: Mathews, Room 512

Research Summary

Our research is concerned with the fundamental psychological and brain mechanisms for learning and motivation, and how these apply to clinical conditions such as addictions, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. We are interested in identiyfing these mechanisms, at the cellular, circuit, and systems level. We are also interested in translating this fundamental information into next generation treatments of psychological conditions.

To do this, we adopt a systems neuroscience approach, combining behavioural approaches from experimental psychology with  a variety of approaches from neuroscience (circuit tracing, optogenetics, chemogenetics, fibre photometry, head-mounted minimicroscopes) to map and manipulate the brain at the cellular and circuit levels. 

The lab currently comprises 2 ARC DECRA researchers, 3 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhD students, 1 honours student, and several undergraduate assistants. You are welcome to join us. Please contact me if you would like to join us as a student, intern, or visitor.

Teaching

PSYC2081 Learning & Physiological Psychology

PSYC3051 Physiological Psychology

NEUR2201 Neuroscience Fundamentals

Publications

For a full list see my UNSW Research Gateway Profile.

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, in press.

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

Sengupta, A., Yau, J.O., 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.

Prasad, A.A. & McNally, G.P. (2018). Alcohol abuse and the ventral pallidum. In, The Neuroscience of Alcohol: Mechanisms and Treatment (V.R. Preedy Ed). Elsevier.

Choi, E.A. & McNally, G.P. (2017). Paraventricular thalamus balances danger and reward. The Journal of Neuroscience, 37, 3018 - 3029.

Millan, E.Z., Ong, Z.Y., & McNally, G.P. (2017). Paraventricular thalamus: Gateway to feeding, appetitive motivation, and drug addiction. Progress in Brain Research, 235, 113-137.

Prasad, A.A. & McNally, G.P. (2016). Ventral pallidum output pathways in context-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36, 11716-11726.

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.

Yau, J.Y. & McNally, G.P. (2015). Pharmacogenetic excitation of prefrontal cortex neurons restores fear prediction error. The Journal of Neuroscience, 35, 74-83.

Bagley E.E., Hacker J., Chefer, V.I., Mallet, C., McNally G.P., Chieng, B.C.H. Perroud, J., Shippenberg, T.S., & Christie M.J. (2011). Drug-induced GABA transporter currents enhance GABA release and produce opioid withdrawal behaviors. Nature Neuroscience, 14, 1548-1554.

McNally, G.P., Johansen, J., & Blair, H.T. (2011). Placing prediction into the fear circuit. Trends in Neurosciences, 34, 283 - 292.

Marchant, N.J., Furlong, T.M., & McNally, G.P. (2010). Medial dorsal hypothalamus mediates the inhibition of reward seeking after extinction.  The Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 14102-14115.

Marchant, N., Hamlin, A.S., & McNally, G.P.  (2009). Lateral hypothalamus is required for context-induced reinstatement of reward seeking. The Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 1331-1342.

Millan, Z., Furlong, T.M., & McNally, G.P. (2010). Accumbens shell –hypothalamus interactions mediate extinction of reward seeking. The Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 4626 – 4635.

Iordanova, M., McNally, G.P., & Westbrook, R.F. (2006). Opioid receptors in the nucleus accumbens regulate attentional learning in the blocking paradigm. The Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 4036-4045. 

McNally, G.P., Pigg, M., & Weidemann, G. (2004). Opioid receptors in the midbrain periaqueductal gray matter regulate the extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning. The Journal of Neuroscience, 24, 6912-6919.

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

Awards

Pavlovian Research Award (Pavlovian Society)
Rising Star (Association for Psychological Science)
D.G. Marquis Behavioral Neuroscience Award (American Psychological Association)

Fellowships

Fellow, The American Psychological Association
Fellow, The Association for Psychological Science

Affiliations & Memberships

Current Editorial Positions:

  • Reviewing Editor – The Journal of Neuroscience
  • Associate Editor - Neurobiology of Learning & Memory
  • Consulting Editor – Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Consulting Editor – Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes

Current Research Students

Lucy Choi
Gabrielle Gibson
Constance Peng
Sylvia Liu
Amy Li
Jamie Dracup