Professor Angela Roberts FMedSci

Angela Roberts

University position


Professor Angela Roberts FMedSci is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute


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Research Themes

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience

Systems and Computational Neuroscience


I am interested in the brain networks underlying cognitive and emotional behaviour. In particular, my research focuses on the executive control functions of the prefrontal cortex and related brain structures, including the basal ganglia and the amygdala, and the modulation of these circuits by the monoamines. The experimental approach combines chemogenetic, pharmacological, cardiovascular, neuroimaging and genetic techniques with sophisticated cognitive and emotional testing procedures. Since many of the behavioural tests that we use can also be administered to patients, our results directly extrapolate to the clinical setting. The research is currently funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

Research Focus


Prefrontal Cortex





Clinical conditions

Anxiety disorders

Depressive disorders

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Parkinson's disease



Behavioural analysis

Cardiovascular monitoring




Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

microPositron Emission Tomography (microPET)

Neuropsychological testing




Franklin Aigbirhio

Jeff Dalley

Anne Ferguson-Smith

Tim Fryer

Trevor Robbins

Barbara Sahakian


Partha Mitra Web:

Afonso Silva Web:

Associated News Items

Key publications

Duan LJ, Horst NK, Cranmore SAW, Horiguchi N, Cardinal RN, Roberts AC*, Robbins TW* (2021), “Controlling one’s world: identification of sub-regions of primate PFC underlying goal-directed behavior ” Neuron

Quah SKL, Bullmore ET, McIver L, Roberts AC, Sawiak S (2021), “Higher-order Brain Regions Show Shifts in Structural Covariance in Adolescent Marmosets ” Cerebral Cortex

Alexander L, Wood C.M, Gaskin, PRL, Sawiak SJ, Fryer TD, Hong, YT, McIver L, Clarke, HF, Roberts AC (2020), “Over-activation of primate subgenual cingulate cortex enhances the cardiovascular, behavioural and neural responses to threat reactivity ” Nature Communications

Alexander L., Gaskin P., Sawiak S.J., Fryer T., Hong Y.T., Cockcroft G., Clarke H.F., Roberts A.C (2019), “Fractionating anhedonia by over-activating area 25 of primate subgenual anterior cingulate cortex ” Neuron 101:307-320.

Clarke HF, Horst NK, Roberts AC (2015), “Regional inactivations of primate ventral prefrontal cortex reveal two distinct mechanisms underlying negative bias in decision making.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112(13):4176-81 Details

Rygula R, Clarke HF, Cardinal RN, Cockcroft GJ, Xia J, Dalley JW, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2015), “Role of Central Serotonin in Anticipation of Rewarding and Punishing Outcomes: Effects of Selective Amygdala or Orbitofrontal 5-HT Depletion.” Cereb Cortex 25(9):3064-76 Details

Agustín-Pavón C, Braesicke K, Shiba Y, Santangelo AM, Mikheenko Y, Cockroft G, Asma F, Clarke H, Man MS, Roberts AC (2012), “Lesions of Ventrolateral Prefrontal or Anterior Orbitofrontal Cortex in Primates Heighten Negative Emotion.” Biol Psychiatry Details

Roberts AC (2011), “The importance of serotonin for orbitofrontal function.” Biol Psychiatry 69(12):1185-91 Details

Clarke HF, Dalley JW, Crofts HS, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2004), “Cognitive inflexibility after prefrontal serotonin depletion” Science 7:878-880 Details

Dias R, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (1996), “Dissociation in prefrontal cortex of affective and attentional shifts.” Nature 380(6569):69-72 Details



Santangelo A.M., Sawiak S., Fryer T., Hong Y., Shiba Y., Clarke H.F., Riss P.J., Ferrari V., Tait R., Suckling J. Aigbirhio F.I., and Roberts A.C. (2019), “Insula serotonin 2A receptor binding and gene expression contribute to serotonin transporter polymorphism anxious phenotype in primates ” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 16:14761-14768


Sawiak S.J., Shiba Y., Oikonomidis L., Windle C.P., Santangelo A.M., Grydeland H., Cockcroft G., Bullmore E.T*., Roberts A.C. (2018), “Trajectories and milestones of cortical and subcortical development of the marmoset brain from infancy to adulthood. ” Cerebral Cortex 28:4440-4453


Shiba Y., Oikonomidis L., Sawiak S., Fryer T.D., Hong Y.T., Cockcroft G., Santangelo A.M., Roberts A.C. (2017), “Converging Prefronto-Insula-Amygdala Pathways in Negative Emotion Regulation in Marmoset Monkeys. ” Cerebral Cortex 82:895-903.

Wallis C.U., Cardinal R. N., Alexander L., Roberts A.C., Clarke H.F. (2017), “Opposing roles of primate areas 25 and 32 and their putative rodent homologs in the regulation of negative emotion. ” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114:E4075-4084.


Barlow RL, Alsiö J, Jupp B, Rabinovich R, Shrestha S, Roberts AC, Robbins TW, Dalley JW (2015), “Markers of serotonergic function in the orbitofrontal cortex and dorsal raphé nucleus predict individual variation in spatial-discrimination serial reversal learning.” Neuropsychopharmacology 40(7):1619-30 Details

Mikheenko Y, Shiba Y, Sawiak S, Braesicke K, Cockcroft G, Clarke H, Roberts AC (2015), “Serotonergic, brain volume and attentional correlates of trait anxiety in primates.” Neuropsychopharmacology 40(6):1395-404 Details


Clarke HF, Cardinal RN, Rygula R, Hong YT, Fryer TD, Sawiak SJ, Ferrari V, Cockcroft G, Aigbirhio FI, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2014), “Orbitofrontal dopamine depletion upregulates caudate dopamine and alters behavior via changes in reinforcement sensitivity.” J Neurosci 34(22):7663-76 Details

Shiba Y, Kim C, Santangelo AM, Roberts AC (2014), “Lesions of either anterior orbitofrontal cortex or ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in marmoset monkeys heighten innate fear and attenuate active coping behaviors to predator threat.” Front Syst Neurosci 8:250 Details

Shiba Y, Santangelo AM, Braesicke K, Agustín-Pavón C, Cockcroft G, Haggard M, Roberts AC (2014), “Individual differences in behavioral and cardiovascular reactivity to emotive stimuli and their relationship to cognitive flexibility in a primate model of trait anxiety.” Front Behav Neurosci 8:137 Details


Hampshire A, Chaudhry AM, Owen AM, Roberts AC (2012), “Dissociable roles for lateral orbitofrontal cortex and lateral prefrontal cortex during preference driven reversal learning.” Neuroimage 59(4):4102-12 Details


Agustín-Pavón C, Parkinson J, Man MS, Roberts AC (2011), “Contribution of the amygdala, but not orbitofrontal or medial prefrontal cortices, to the expression of flavour preferences in marmoset monkeys.” Eur J Neurosci 34(6):1006-17 Details

Clarke HF, Hill GJ, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2011), “Dopamine, but not serotonin, regulates reversal learning in the marmoset caudate nucleus.” J Neurosci 31(11):4290-7 Details

Man MS, Mikheenko Y, Braesicke K, Cockcroft G, Roberts AC (2011), “Serotonin at the level of the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex modulates distinct aspects of positive emotion in primates.” Int J Neuropsychopharmacol :1-15 Details


Man MS, Dalley JW, Roberts AC (2010), “Opposing effects of 5,7-DHT infusions into the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala on flexible responding.” Cereb Cortex 20(7):1668-75 Details

Mikheenko Y, Man MS, Braesicke K, Johns ME, Hill G, Agustín-Pavón C, Roberts AC (2010), “Autonomic, behavioral, and neural analyses of mild conditioned negative affect in marmosets.” Behav Neurosci 124(2):192-203 Details

Piech RM, Lewis J, Parkinson CH, Owen AM, Roberts AC, Downing PE, Parkinson JA (2010), “Neural correlates of affective influence on choice.” Brain Cogn 72(2):282-8 Details

Rygula R, Walker SC, Clarke HF, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2010), “Differential contributions of the primate ventrolateral prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex to serial reversal learning.” J Neurosci 30(43):14552-9 Details


Chaudhry AM, Parkinson JA, Hinton EC, Owen AM, Roberts AC (2009), “Preference judgements involve a network of structures within frontal, cingulate and insula cortices.” Eur J Neurosci 29(5):1047-55 Details

Man MS, Clarke HF, Roberts AC (2009), “The role of the orbitofrontal cortex and medial striatum in the regulation of prepotent responses to food rewards.” Cereb Cortex 19(4):899-906 Details

Walker SC, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2009), “Response disengagement on a spatial self-ordered sequencing task: effects of regionally selective excitotoxic lesions and serotonin depletion within the prefrontal cortex.” J Neurosci 29(18):6033-41 Details

Walker SC, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2009), “Differential contributions of dopamine and serotonin to orbitofrontal cortex function in the marmoset.” Cereb Cortex 19(4):889-98 Details


Clarke HF, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2008), “Lesions of the medial striatum in monkeys produce perseverative impairments during reversal learning similar to those produced by lesions of the orbitofrontal cortex.” J Neurosci 28(43):10972-82 Details

Cools R, Roberts AC, Robbins TW (2008), “Serotoninergic regulation of emotional and behavioural control processes.” Trends Cogn Sci 12(1):31-40 Details

Reekie YL, Braesicke K, Man MS, Roberts AC (2008), “Uncoupling of behavioral and autonomic responses after lesions of the primate orbitofrontal cortex.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105(28):9787-92 Details


Clarke HF, Walker SC, Dalley JW, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2007), “Cognitive inflexibility after prefrontal serotonin depletion is behaviorally and neurochemically specific.” Cereb Cortex 17(1):18-27 Details

Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2007), “Differential regulation of fronto-executive function by the monoamines and acetylcholine.” Cereb Cortex 17 Suppl 1:i151-60 Details

Roberts AC, Tomic DL, Parkinson CH, Roeling TA, Cutter DJ, Robbins TW, Everitt BJ (2007), “Forebrain connectivity of the prefrontal cortex in the marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus): an anterograde and retrograde tract-tracing study.” J Comp Neurol 502(1):86-112 Details


Roberts AC (2006), “Primate orbitofrontal cortex and adaptive behaviour.” Trends Cogn Sci 10(2):83-90 Details

Walker SC, Mikheenko YP, Argyle LD, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2006), “Selective prefrontal serotonin depletion impairs acquisition of a detour-reaching task.” Eur J Neurosci 23(11):3119-23 Details


Braesicke K, Parkinson JA, Reekie Y, Man MS, Hopewell L, Pears A, Crofts H, Schnell CR, Roberts AC (2005), “Autonomic arousal in an appetitive context in primates: a behavioural and neural analysis.” Eur J Neurosci 21(6):1733-40 Details

Clarke HF, Walker SC, Crofts HS, Dalley JW, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2005), “Prefrontal serotonin depletion affects reversal learning but not attentional set shifting.” J Neurosci 25(2):532-8 Details

Parkinson JA, Roberts AC, Everitt BJ, Di Ciano P (2005), “Acquisition of instrumental conditioned reinforcement is resistant to the devaluation of the unconditioned stimulus.” Q J Exp Psychol B 58(1):19-30 Details


Hinton EC, Parkinson JA, Holland AJ, Arana FS, Roberts AC, Owen AM (2004), “Neural contributions to the motivational control of appetite in humans.” Eur J Neurosci 20(5):1411-8 Details


Arana FS, Parkinson JA, Hinton E, Holland AJ, Owen AM, Roberts AC (2003), “Dissociable contributions of the human amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex to incentive motivation and goal selection.” J Neurosci 23(29):9632-8 Details

Pears A, Parkinson JA, Hopewell L, Everitt BJ, Roberts AC (2003), “Lesions of the orbitofrontal but not medial prefrontal cortex disrupt conditioned reinforcement in primates.” J Neurosci 23(35):11189-201 Details


Crofts HS, Dalley JW, Collins P, Van Denderen JC, Everitt BJ, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2001), “Differential effects of 6-OHDA lesions of the frontal cortex and caudate nucleus on the ability to acquire an attentional set.” Cereb Cortex 11(11):1015-26 Details

Parkinson JA, Crofts HS, McGuigan M, Tomic DL, Everitt BJ, Roberts AC (2001), “The role of the primate amygdala in conditioned reinforcement.” J Neurosci 21(19):7770-80 Details

Wallis JD, Dias R, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2001), “Dissociable contributions of the orbitofrontal and lateral prefrontal cortex of the marmoset to performance on a detour reaching task.” Eur J Neurosci 13(9):1797-808 Details


Collins P, Wilkinson LS, Everitt BJ, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (2000), “The effect of dopamine depletion from the caudate nucleus of the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) on tests of prefrontal cognitive function.” Behav Neurosci 114(1):3-17 Details

Roberts AC, Wallis JD (2000), “Inhibitory control and affective processing in the prefrontal cortex: neuropsychological studies in the common marmoset.” Cereb Cortex 10(3):252-62 Details


Weed MR, Taffe MA, Polis I, Roberts AC, Robbins TW, Koob GF, Bloom FE, Gold LH (1999), “Performance norms for a rhesus monkey neuropsychological testing battery: acquisition and long-term performance.” Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 8(3):185-201 Details


Collins P, Roberts AC, Dias R, Everitt BJ, Robbins TW (1998), “Perseveration and strategy in a novel spatial self-ordered sequencing task for nonhuman primates: effects of excitotoxic lesions and dopamine depletions of the prefrontal cortex.” J Cogn Neurosci 10(3):332-54 Details


Dias R, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (1997), “Dissociable forms of inhibitory control within prefrontal cortex with an analog of the Wisconsin Card Sort Test: restriction to novel situations and independence from "on-line" processing.” J Neurosci 17(23):9285-97 Details

Wilkinson LS, Dias R, Thomas KL, Augood SJ, Everitt BJ, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (1997), “Contrasting effects of excitotoxic lesions of the prefrontal cortex on the behavioural response to D-amphetamine and presynaptic and postsynaptic measures of striatal dopamine function in monkeys.” Neuroscience 80(3):717-30 Details


Dias R, Robbins TW, Roberts AC (1996), “Primate analogue of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test: effects of excitotoxic lesions of the prefrontal cortex in the marmoset.” Behav Neurosci 110(5):872-86 Details

Roberts AC (1996), “Comparison of cognitive function in human and non-human primates.” Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 3(3-4):319-27 Details


Roberts AC, De Salvia MA, Wilkinson LS, Collins P, Muir JL, Everitt BJ, Robbins TW (1994), “6-Hydroxydopamine lesions of the prefrontal cortex in monkeys enhance performance on an analog of the Wisconsin Card Sort Test: possible interactions with subcortical dopamine.” J Neurosci 14(5 Pt 1):2531-44 Details


Owen AM, Roberts AC, Hodges JR, Summers BA, Polkey CE, Robbins TW (1993), “Contrasting mechanisms of impaired attentional set-shifting in patients with frontal lobe damage or Parkinson's disease.” Brain 116 ( Pt 5):1159-75 Details


Roberts AC, Robbins TW, Everitt BJ, Muir JL (1992), “A specific form of cognitive rigidity following excitotoxic lesions of the basal forebrain in marmosets.” Neuroscience 47(2):251-64 Details


Owen AM, Roberts AC, Polkey CE, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW (1991), “Extra-dimensional versus intra-dimensional set shifting performance following frontal lobe excisions, temporal lobe excisions or amygdalo-hippocampectomy in man.” Neuropsychologia 29(10):993-1006 Details


Roberts AC, Robbins TW, Everitt BJ, Jones GH, Sirkia TE, Wilkinson J, Page K (1990), “The effects of excitotoxic lesions of the basal forebrain on the acquisition, retention and serial reversal of visual discriminations in marmosets.” Neuroscience 34(2):311-29 Details


Downes JJ, Roberts AC, Sahakian BJ, Evenden JL, Morris RG, Robbins TW (1989), “Impaired extra-dimensional shift performance in medicated and unmedicated Parkinson's disease: evidence for a specific attentional dysfunction.” Neuropsychologia 27(11-12):1329-43 Details


Everitt BJ, Sirkiä TE, Roberts AC, Jones GH, Robbins TW (1988), “Distribution and some projections of cholinergic neurons in the brain of the common marmoset, Callithrix jacchus.” J Comp Neurol 271(4):533-58 Details

Hastings MH, Walker AP, Roberts AC, Herbert J (1988), “Intra-hypothalamic melatonin blocks photoperiodic responsiveness in the male Syrian hamster.” Neuroscience 24(3):987-91 Details

Roberts AC, Robbins TW, Everitt BJ (1988), “The effects of intradimensional and extradimensional shifts on visual discrimination learning in humans and non-human primates.” Q J Exp Psychol B 40(4):321-41 Details


Roberts AC, Martensz ND, Hastings MH, Herbert J (1987), “The effects of castration, testosterone replacement and photoperiod upon hypothalamic beta-endorphin levels in the male Syrian hamster.” Neuroscience 23(3):1075-82 Details


Hastings MH, Herbert J, Martensz ND, Roberts AC (1985), “Melatonin and the brain in photoperiodic mammals.” Ciba Found Symp 117:57-77 Details

Hastings MH, Roberts AC, Herbert J (1985), “Neurotoxic lesions of the anterior hypothalamus disrupt the photoperiodic but not the circadian system of the Syrian hamster.” Neuroendocrinology 40(4):316-24 Details

Roberts AC, Hastings MH, Martensz ND, Herbert J (1985), “Naloxone-induced secretion of LH in the male Syrian hamster: modulation by photoperiod and gonadal steroids.” J Endocrinol 106(2):243-8 Details

Roberts AC, Martensz ND, Hastings MH, Herbert J (1985), “Changes in photoperiod alter the daily rhythms of pineal melatonin content and hypothalamic beta-endorphin content and the luteinizing hormone response to naloxone in the male Syrian hamster.” Endocrinology 117(1):141-8 Details