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Assistant Professor
CH 232

Research Interests: Associative Learning, Learning Theory, Dopamine, Frontal Cortex, Basal Ganglia, Molecular Neuroscience

Office Hours: TBA


  • B.S., Biological Sciences, Federal University of Pará, Belém, Brazil
  • M.A., Psychology, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
  • Ph.D., Neuroscience, International Max Planck Research School for Neural Circuits and Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow, National Institute on Drug Abuse IRP - NIH, Baltimore, MD

Dr. Costa grew up in the Brazilian Amazon, in the city of Belém. His research trajectory has led him from his hometown to the other end of Brazil, to Germany, Baltimore, and now Birmingham. The goal of his lab is to understand how animals learn when interacting with the world, from the molecular building blocks to general computational processes. The team uses theory-inspired behavioral tasks, in combination with several cutting-edge methods for recording from and manipulating brain cells, to explore how animals learn from their experiences and use the acquired information to guide behavior.

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  • Select Publications
    • Costa K.M., Scholz R., Lloyd, K., Moreno-Castilla P., Gardner M.P.H., Dayan P., Schoenbaum G. "The role of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex in creating cognitive maps." Nature Neuroscience, 26, 107–115, 2023.
    • Costa K.M., Schoenbaum G. "Dopamine." Current Biology, 32(15), PR817-R824, 2022.
    • Costa K.M., Sengupta A., Schoenbaum G. "The orbitofrontal cortex is necessary for learning to ignore." Current Biology, 31(12), 2652–2657, 2021.
    • Costa K.M., Schenkel D., Roeper J. "Sex-dependent alterations in behavior, drug responses and dopamine transporter expression in heterozygous DAT-Cre mice." Scientific Reports, 11, 3334, 2021.
    • Costa K.M., Sengupta A. "Short-term scholar visas are essential for science." Neuropsychopharmacology, 46, 277–278, 2021.

    Please visit Dr. Costa’s Google Scholar page for more information about his publications.

  • Select Academic Distinctions
    • 2023 Harvard INCEPT seminar series speaker, Harvard Medical School
    • 2022 Next Generation Leader, Allen Institute
    • 2022 Paper featured in collection: “Top 100 in Neuroscience”, Scientific Reports
    • 2021 Johns Hopkins Hopkins Psychology and Brain Sciences Early Career Colloquium speaker, Johns Hopkins University
    • 2021 Fellows Award for Research Excellence, NIH
    • 2021 Intersections Science Associate, Yale School of Medicine
    • 2020 Trainee Professional Development Award, Society for Neuroscience
    • 2017 Trainee Professional Development Award, Society for Neuroscience