Ahmad Jezzini, PhD

Instructor in Neuroscience

Washington University
School of Medicine
Campus Box 8108
East McDonnell Medical Sciences, 211
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 747-3367
jezzinia@wustl.edu




Research Abstract

Goal directed behaviors are motivated by predictions and receipts of emotionally salient outcomes, such as rewards and punishments. And, in our daily lives, we don’t always know with certainty which action(s) will result in which outcome.

In collaboration with Dr. Ilya Monosov, my research will investigate the neuronal basis of information seeking about aversive and noxious outcomes. My research will assess whether information seeking to resolve reward and punishment uncertainty is mediated by the same neuronal networks and mechanisms. Also, I will study whether non-human primates seek information about future outcomes through observation, by watching the outcomes of others’ actions. If so, I will aim to discover the neuronal underpinnings of this observation based information seeking behavior in the primate brain.

To gain a mechanistic understanding of punishment-driven decision making under uncertainty, my work will combine extracellular high channel count recordings with direct manipulation of neuronal activity in alert non-human primates and rodents.

Broadly speaking, these research aims will provide important mechanistic information for understanding psychiatric/cognitive disorders by shedding light on how normal healthy brains control our behavior in an uncertain world. Armed with such information, we will ultimately aim to create novel anatomically targeted treatments for yet untreatable psychiatric disorders of cognition and mood.

Education

2006-2010 PhD in Neuroscience. University of Parma, Parma, Italy.
2003-2004 MS in Neuroscience, University Claude Bernard, Lyon I, Lyon, France.
1998-2003 BS in Biology, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon.

Selected honors

2013 Polak Young Investigator Award

Selected publications

Jezzini A., Padoa-Schioppa C. (2020) Neuronal Activity in the Primate Amygdala during Economic Choice. J Neurosci 40(6) 1286-1301.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31871277

Jezzini A, Rozzi S, Borra E, Gallese V, Caruana F and Gerbella M (2015). A shared neural network for emotional expression and perception: An anatomical study in the macaque monkey. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 9:243.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26441573

Jezzini A., Mazzucato L., LaCamera G., Fontanini A. (2013) Processing of hedonic and chemosensory features of taste in medial prefrontal and gustatory networks. J. Neurosci 33 18966-18978.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24285901

Jezzini A.*; Caruana F.*; Stoianov I; Gallese V; Rizzolatti G. (2012) Functional organization of the insula and inner perisylvian regions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 109(25):10077-82. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22647599

Caruana F.*; Jezzini A.*; Sbriscia-Fioretti B.; Rizzolatti G.; Gallese V. (2011) Emotional and social behaviors elicited by electrical stimulation of the insula in the macaque monkey. Curr. Biol. 21, 1950.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21256020