Mihaela D. Iordanova, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychology
Overview: My research interests focus on understanding the behavioral and neural mechanisms that guide learning about the world around us. My work has sought to answer questions pertaining to two distinct yet integrative learning processes: How does the brain learn to make predictions about the future? How does the brain update erroneous predictions? What is the nature of this learning?
My approach to the study of brain and behaviour is to combine well-controlled behavioural designs informed by formalized theories of learning and causal (chemogenetic, optogenetic and neuropharmacological methods) and correlational (high-density neuronal recording) neuroscience techniques.
Funding: Our research is supported by
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR Project Grant)
Canada Research Chair Tier 2
NSERC Discovery Grant
Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation (NARSAD New Investigator Award)
FRQNT Nouveau Chercheur
Canadian Foundation for Innovation
Concordia University Horizon Postdoctoral Fellowships
Honey RC, Iordanova MD, Good M (2009) Latent inhibition and habituation: evaluation of an associative analysis. pp163-182. In R.E. Lubow & I. Weiner (Eds.), Latent Inhibition: Cognition, Neuroscience and Applications to Schizophrenia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mihaela Iordanova completed her undergraduate studies at the University of New South Wales where she was awarded a Bachelor’s degree with Honors in Psychology in 2001. She conducted her doctoral studies on the role of the accumbal opioid and dopamine transmission in error-correction in the fear setting at the same institution under the guidance of R. Frederick Westbrook. As part of her doctoral research Mihaela visited the laboratory of Simon Killcross at Cardiff University where she embarked on research examining the role of dopamine in predicting fear. Following completion of her PhD in 2006, Mihaela sought post-doctoral training back in the learning theory hub that is the School of Psychology at Cardiff University. There she worked with prominent scientists including Rob Honey and Mark Good on the neurocircuitry of mnemonic integration and updating, and forged strong collaborations with John Pearce, John Aggleton, and Dominic Dwyer. Her desire to study how the neurons change their pattern of firing as a result of environmental stimulation took her across the Atlantic to the laboratory of Geoffrey Schoenbaum. While holding appointments at University of Maryland and at the National Institute of Drug Abuse, she examined how cells in the central nucleus of the amygdala modulate their firing under conditions when fewer than expected rewards are delivered. Mihaela was awarded a prestigious Pathways to Independence (K99/R00) award from the National Institutes of Health to conduct this work. In 2014 Mihaela was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology where she joins the Centre for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology.