Peter Balsam, PhD

Peter Balsam, PhD

Research Interest

Research Summary

The lab studies the brain mechanisms that underlie timing and anticipation, particularly as they relate to psychiatric disorders. For behavior to be adaptive it must be the right response, occurring in the right place, and performed at the right time. Depressed people cannot anticipate good things in their future. People with problematic drug use are often impulsive and have difficulty anticipating delayed consequences. People with schizophrenia often have a very variable sense of time. Consequently, an understanding of the psychology of time and the brain mechanisms that underlie it can provide new ways of approaching these problems. The lab explores the neural basis of timing and anticipation in animal models by using a variety of molecular/genetic, pharmacological, computational and behavioral methods to understand the neural mechanisms of learning about time and how temporal information guides behavior. It is our goal to translate our basic knowledge of cognitive/behavioral processes into essential tools for diagnosis, monitoring treatment efficacy and treatment discovery.

  • PhD, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Psychology
  • BA, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Psychology
  •     Carter Daniels, Postdoc
  •     Benjamin DeCorte, Postdoc
  •     Basak Akdogan, Graduate Student
  •     Jorge Mallea, Graduate Student
  •     Tala Sohrabi, Lab Technician
  •     Lillian Le, Undergraduate
  •     Atara Schulhoff, Undergraduate
  •     Lynxie Vorhees, Undergraduate
  •     Yousef Mahmoud Abou, Undergraduate
  •     Claire Tatham, Undergraduate
  •     Margaret Zhou, Undergraduate
  • Intro to Neural Development
  • Timing and time perception
  • Associative learning
  • Motivation

Martyniuk, K., Dandeneau, M., Balsam,P.D,  Kellendonk, C. (in press) Dopamine D2R upregulation in nucleus accumbens indirect pathway does not affect Pavlovian and Go/No-Go Learning. Behavioral Neuroscience,

Dall'Orso S., Fifer W.P., Balsam P.D., Brandon J., O’Keefe C., Vecchiato K., Edwards A.D., Burdet E., Arichi T. (2021). Cortical processing of auditory-motor associative learning in human newborn infants. Cerebral Cortex, 31:1827-1836. PMID: 33207366

Bailey, M.R., Chun, E., Schipani, E., Balsam, P.D., Simpson, E.H. (2020). Dissociating the Effects of Dopamine D2 Receptors on Effort-Based vs Value-based Decision Making using a Novel Behavioral approach. Behavioral Neuroscience,134:101-118. doi: 10.1037/bne0000361. PMID: 32175760

Olivetti, P.R., Balsam, P.D., Simpson, E.H. & Kellendonk, C. (2020). Emerging roles of striatal dopamine D2 receptors in motivated behavior: Implications for psychiatric disorders. Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology. 126 Suppl 6(Suppl 6):47-55. PMID: 31188541

Light, K.R., Cotten, B., Malekan,T., Dewil, S., Bailey,M.R.,  Gallistel, C.R. and Balsam, P.D. (2019). Evidence for a mixed timing and counting strategy in mice performing a Mechner counting task. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. PMID: 31293396

LeSauter, J., Balsam, P.D, Simpson, E.H. & Silver, R. (2020). Overexpression of striatal D2 receptors reduces motivation thereby decreasing food anticipatory activity. European Journal of Neuroscience, 51:71-81. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14219. PMID: 30362616

Demireva EY, Suri D, Morelli E, Mahadevia D, Chuhma N, Teixeira CM, Ziolkowski A,Hersh M, Fifer J, Bagchi S, Chemiakine A, Moore H, Gingrich JA, Balsam P, Rayport S, Ansorge MS. (2020) 5-HT2C receptor blockade reverses SSRI associated basal ganglia dysfunction and potentiates therapeutic efficacy. Molecular Psychiatry, 25:3304-3321 PubMed PMID: 30120415.

Kalmbach, A., Chun, E., Taylor, K., Gallistel, C.R. & Balsam, P.D. (2019). Time-scale-invariant information-theoretic contingencies in discrimination learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition. 45, 280-289.PMID:31021132

Fillla, I., Bailey, M.R., Schipani, E.,Mezias, C., Balsam, P.D,  Simpson, E.H. (2018) Striatal Dopamine D2 Receptors Regulate Effort but Not Value-Based Decision Making and Alter the Dopaminergic Encoding of Cost. Neuropsychopharmacology. 43, 21802189. 

Bailey, M.R., Goldman, O., Bello, E.P., Chohan, M.O., Jeong, N., Winiger, V., Chun, E., Schipani, E., Kalmbach, A., Cheer, J.F., Balsam, P.D,  Simpson, E.H. (2018). An Interaction between Serotonin Receptor Signaling and Dopamine Enhances GoalDirected Vigor and Persistence in Mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 2149-2162. PMID:29367407

Cassidy, C.M., Balsam, P.D, Weinstein, J.J., Rosengard, R.J., Slifstein, M., Daw, N.D., Abi-Dargham, A., & Horga, G. (2018).  A perceptual inference mechanism for hallucinations linked to striatal dopamine: A mechanism for hallucinations linked to dopamine.  Current Biology, 28, 503-514

Matamales, M., Skrbis, Z., Bailey, M.R., Balsam, P.D, Balleine, B.W., Gotz, J. & BertranGonzalez, J. (2018) A corticostriatal deficit promotes temporal distortion of automatic action in ageing. eLife, 

Clark, A., Felix, L., Feng, W., McManus, E., Bailey, M., Javitch, J., Balsam, P.D., & Kellendonk, C. (2017).   Midline thalamic dopamine D2 receptors attenuate cocaine locomotor sensitization and contextual fear expression.  eNeuro, 

Drew, M.R., Walsh, C., & Balsam, P.D. (2017). Rescaling of Temporal Expectations During Extinction. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 43, 1-14. 

Nautiyal, K.M, Wall, M.M., Wang, S, Magalong, V.M., Ahmari, S.E., Balsam, P.D., Blanco, C.& Hen, R. (2017) Genetic and modelling approaches reveal distinct components of impulsive behavior.  Neuropsychopharmacology, 42, 1182-1191

Gallistel, R.C. & Balsam, P.D : Time to rethink the neural mechanisms of learning and memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 2014;108: 136-44.

Simpson, E.H., Waltz, J.A., Kellendonk, C., Balsam, P.D.: Schizophrenia in Translation: Dissecting Motivation in Schizophrenia and Rodents.. Schizophrenia Bulletin 2012;38: 1111-1117.

Simpson, E.H., Kellendonk, C., Ward, R.D., Richards, V., Lipatova, O., Fairhurst, S., Kandel, E.R. and Balsam, P.D.: Pharmacologic rescue of motivational deficit in an animal model of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.. Biological Psychiatry 2011;69: 928-35.