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Research conducted in the Neural Circuits, Systems, & Behavior Lab, headed by Dr. Lindsay Halladay, is focused on understanding the physiological processes by which neural activity produces behavior, and more specifically, how dysfunctional circuitry leads to aberrant behavior.  NCSB's objective is to better understand how reward and aversion circuits converge and interact.  Using a combination of in vivo electrophysiology, behavior, and genetic tools, the Halladay Lab's ultimate goal is to clarify how factors such as stress and alcohol exposure alter neural signaling and influence circuitry in a way that promotes addictive-like behaviors.

Follow us on Twitter! @halladaylab


The Halladay Lab published a study in Learning

and Memory, identifying two functionally

distinct neural populations in the extended

amygdala that encode and predict cued fear



Lindsay Halladay presented new Halladay Lab findings at the Winter Conference on Brain Research in Big Sky, MT. Two invited talks included data on the neural circuits governing defensive action selection, as well as fear responding in the face of uncertain outcomes - data shedding light on inappropriate defensive responding characteristic of anxiety disorders and PTSD.


In an interview with Elemental, Lindsay Halladay spoke about her recently published findings on the neural circuits regulating drinking behavior in "The Latest Findings on Why It’s So Hard to Quit Drinking."


Lindsay Halladay and colleagues at the

NIAAA published an article in Biological

Psychiatry, identifying a corticostriatal

circuit involved in regulating punished

ethanol seeking. SCU issued a press

release for the study here.


The Halladay lab traveled to Chicago, IL to present their work at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Max Bjorni received a travel award from the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience. Other presenting RAs included Hannah Henderson, Natalie Rovero, and Alex Quan.


Lindsay Halladay traveled to SRI International to present the lab's research on neural and behavioral regulation of ethanol-seeking behavior.


Max Bjorni was selected to receive a competitive travel award by Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) to present his research at this year's upcoming Society for Neuroscience meeting in October. See you in Chicago!


The Halladay lab attended and presented four posters at the Bay Area Brain Symposium, co-organized and hosted by Lindsay Halladay, the Vice President of the Bay Area Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (SFN). RAs Max Bjorni, Natalie Rovero, and Alex Quan brought home their second 'Best Poster' award in just two weeks, for their work on adulthood behavioral and neural consequences of early life adversities on reward seeking.


Halladay Lab RAs presented their research at the Western Psychology Conference for Undergraduate Research, where Max BjorniNatalie Rovero, and

Alex Quan  won the award
for best poster
. Their work

examines how developmental

adversities such as early life

stress and adolescent alcohol

exposure impact adulthood

reward seeking.


DeNardo Science Scholars Malia Belnap and Max Bjorni were selected to present their research on neural correlates of social behavior and ethanol reward preference at the Sigma Xi poster session at SCU.


Max Bjorni was honored with the

prestigious DeNardo Science Scholar

award, a 2 year grant to conduct

research on neural circuits underlying

stress-induced drinking behavior. Hannah Henderson and Noel Del Toro were each awarded a De Novo Science Scholar summer research grant. Natalie Rovero and Alex Quan received summer research grants from SCU's innovative REAL program. Huge accomplishments all around!


Lindsay Halladay presented the lab's undergraduate-led research at the BNA Festival for Neuroscience meeting. Research examines neural correlates of pro-social behaviors.


Lindsay Halladay traveled to Aspen, CO to present two invited talks at the Winter Conference on Brain Research. Findings of the NCSB lab identified a neural substrate for alcohol-induced anxiety alleviation. Additional research identfiied a corticostriatal pathway mediating ethanol seeking in the face of adverse consequences.


We're helping reactivate the Bay Area

Chapter for the Society for

Neuroscience! Interested in becoming a

member? Click to let us know! And

see you in San Diego at SFN!


Lindsay Halladay joins the Editorial Board for the Journal of Neuroscience Research as an Associate Editor.


Research Assistant Malia Belnap

featured on Santa Clara's website

in "Neuroscience Student

Researches Anxiety-Alcoholism



Halladay lab students Gigi Etem and Hannah Henderson present data at SCU's end of the year Neuroscience event


Lindsay Halladay interview

for Discover Magazine article:

A Bleary Unicorn: The Elusive Hangover Cure


Lindsay Halladay heads to her alma mater, Cal State San Bernardino to speak about her research and career path as part of CSUSB's MARC program.


Malia Belnap featured on SCU Psychology site for her recent achievement as 2018 DeNardo Scholar


Research assistant Malia Belnap selected

for DeNardo Science Scholar Award, a

prestigious two-year grant to lead a project

at Santa Clara University


Exciting data collected by Gigi Etem, Max Bjorni, Sohrab Sami, and Hannah Henderson presented at GRC: Alcohol and the Nervous System


Halladay Lab highlighted in

article Opening Doors & 

Opening the Mind


Article: SCU Psychology Department welcomes Dr. Halladay

Circuits, Systems, & Behavior Neuroscience

Discovering how complex signals encode behavior

The Halladay Lab is part of the fastest growing major at its University, Neuroscience at Santa Clara Univeristy, and is housed within the Department of Psychology.



The Halladay Lab published a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience Research, highlighting the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis as a potential mediator of social behavior dysregulation following early life trauma.


Big congratulations to RA Max Bjorni for being awarded a scholarship from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation!