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Gregory J. Quirk
Title Professor
Faculty Rank Full Professor
Degree PhD
Institution University of Puerto Rico
Department Dept. of Psychiatry
Clusters Neurological Disorders and Mental Health
Dept pf Psychiatry
P.O. Box 365067
City San Juan
State PR
Postal Code 00936-5067
Telephone 787-999-3058
Fax 787-999-3057
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Title Adjunct Professor
Institution Univ PR School of Medicine
Department Dept. of Anatomy & Neurobiology

Awards and Honors icon

1992 CIES Fulbright Award
1999 Clinton White Hourse Presidental Early Career Award (PECASE)
2012 AAAS AAAS Fellow
2014 Thompson-Reuters Highly Cited Researcher (top 1%)
2014 NIMH MERIT Award

Narrative icon

  My research focuses on the neural circuits of fear regulation, using rodent and human models of fear conditioning, extinction, and active avoidance. My lab uses a variety of experimental techniques including multichannel unit recording, optogenetics, immunocytochemistry, electrical stimulation, and computational modeling. We focus on how the prefrontal cortex influences fear-related activity in the amygdala, thalamus and striatum. This work is applicable to PTSD and OCD, and is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. My lab has been in Puerto Rico for 18 years and consists of approximately 14 students, post-docs, and technicians, from the U.S., Puerto Rico, and other parts of Latin America. My long-term goal is to promote neuroscience research and training in Latin America.

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1. Do-Monte FH, Minier-Toribio A, Quiñones-Laracuente K, Medina-Colón EM, Quirk GJ. Thalamic Regulation of Sucrose Seeking during Unexpected Reward Omission. Neuron. 2017 Apr 19; 94(2):388-400.e4.
2. Quirk GJ. Less fear, more diversity. PLoS Biol. 2017 Apr; 15(4):e2002079.
3. Delgado MR, Beer JS, Fellows LK, Huettel SA, Platt ML, Quirk GJ, Schiller D. Viewpoints: Dialogues on the functional role of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Nat Neurosci. 2016 11 29; 19(12):1545-1552.
4. Martínez-Rivera FJ, Rodriguez-Romaguera J, Lloret-Torres ME, Do Monte FH, Quirk GJ, Barreto-Estrada JL. Bidirectional Modulation of Extinction of Drug Seeking by Deep Brain Stimulation of the Ventral Striatum. Biol Psychiatry. 2016 11 01; 80(9):682-690.
5. Heilbronner SR, Rodriguez-Romaguera J, Quirk GJ, Groenewegen HJ, Haber SN. Circuit-Based Corticostriatal Homologies Between Rat and Primate. Biol Psychiatry. 2016 10 01; 80(7):509-21.
6. Do Monte FH, Quirk GJ, Li B, Penzo MA. Retrieving fear memories, as time goes by…. Mol Psychiatry. 2016 08; 21(8):1027-36.
7. Rodriguez-Romaguera J, Greenberg BD, Rasmussen SA, Quirk GJ. An Avoidance-Based Rodent Model of Exposure With Response Prevention Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2016 10 01; 80(7):534-40.
8. Rodriguez-Romaguera J, Greenberg BD, Haber SN, Quirk GJ. A Cross Species Approach to Understanding DBS Modulation of Fear. Brain Stimul. 2015 Sep-Oct; 8(5):986-8.
9. Quiñones-Laracuente K, Hernández-Rodríguez MY, Bravo-Rivera C, Melendez RI, Quirk GJ. The effect of repeated exposure to ethanol on pre-existing fear memories in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Oct; 232(19):3615-22.
10. Bravo-Rivera C, Roman-Ortiz C, Montesinos-Cartagena M, Quirk GJ. Persistent active avoidance correlates with activity in prelimbic cortex and ventral striatum. Front Behav Neurosci. 2015; 9:184.
11. Do-Monte FH, Manzano-Nieves G, Quiñones-Laracuente K, Ramos-Medina L, Quirk GJ. Revisiting the role of infralimbic cortex in fear extinction with optogenetics. J Neurosci. 2015 Feb 25; 35(8):3607-15.
12. Rodriguez-Romaguera J, Do-Monte FH, Tanimura Y, Quirk GJ, Haber SN. Enhancement of fear extinction with deep brain stimulation: evidence for medial orbitofrontal involvement. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Jun; 40(7):1726-33.
13. Do-Monte FH, Quiñones-Laracuente K, Quirk GJ. A temporal shift in the circuits mediating retrieval of fear memory. Nature. 2015 Mar 26; 519(7544):460-3.
14. Aguilar-Rivera MI, Casanova JP, Gatica RI, Quirk GJ, Fuentealba JA. Amphetamine sensitization is accompanied by an increase in prelimbic cortex activity. Neuroscience. 2015 Mar 12; 288:1-9.
15. Martínez KG, Franco-Chaves JA, Milad MR, Quirk GJ. Ethnic differences in physiological responses to fear conditioned stimuli. PLoS One. 2014; 9(12):e114977.
16. Bravo-Rivera C, Roman-Ortiz C, Brignoni-Perez E, Sotres-Bayon F, Quirk GJ. Neural structures mediating expression and extinction of platform-mediated avoidance. J Neurosci. 2014 Jul 16; 34(29):9736-42.
17. Rosas-Vidal LE, Do-Monte FH, Sotres-Bayon F, Quirk GJ. Hippocampal--prefrontal BDNF and memory for fear extinction. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 Aug; 39(9):2161-9.
18. Do-Monte FH, Rodriguez-Romaguera J, Rosas-Vidal LE, Quirk GJ. Deep brain stimulation of the ventral striatum increases BDNF in the fear extinction circuit. Front Behav Neurosci. 2013; 7:102.
19. Pendyam S, Bravo-Rivera C, Burgos-Robles A, Sotres-Bayon F, Quirk GJ, Nair SS. Fear signaling in the prelimbic-amygdala circuit: a computational modeling and recording study. J Neurophysiol. 2013 Aug; 110(4):844-61.
20. Burgos-Robles A, Bravo-Rivera H, Quirk GJ. Prelimbic and infralimbic neurons signal distinct aspects of appetitive instrumental behavior. PLoS One. 2013; 8(2):e57575.
21. Felmingham KL, Dobson-Stone C, Schofield PR, Quirk GJ, Bryant RA. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism predicts response to exposure therapy in posttraumatic stress disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Jun 01; 73(11):1059-63.
22. Sotres-Bayon F, Sierra-Mercado D, Pardilla-Delgado E, Quirk GJ. Gating of fear in prelimbic cortex by hippocampal and amygdala inputs. Neuron. 2012 Nov 21; 76(4):804-12.
23. Martínez KG, Castro-Couch M, Franco-Chaves JA, Ojeda-Arce B, Segura G, Milad MR, Quirk GJ. Correlations between psychological tests and physiological responses during fear conditioning and renewal. Biol Mood Anxiety Disord. 2012 Sep 17; 2:16.
24. Rodriguez-Romaguera J, Do Monte FH, Quirk GJ. Deep brain stimulation of the ventral striatum enhances extinction of conditioned fear. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 May 29; 109(22):8764-9.
25. Linnman C, Zeidan MA, Furtak SC, Pitman RK, Quirk GJ, Milad MR. Resting amygdala and medial prefrontal metabolism predicts functional activation of the fear extinction circuit. Am J Psychiatry. 2012 Apr; 169(4):415-23.
26. Milad MR, Quirk GJ. Fear extinction as a model for translational neuroscience: ten years of progress. Annu Rev Psychol. 2012; 63:129-51.
27. Padilla-Coreano N, Do-Monte FH, Quirk GJ. A time-dependent role of midline thalamic nuclei in the retrieval of fear memory. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jan; 62(1):457-63.
28. Mueller D, Bravo-Rivera C, Quirk GJ. Infralimbic D2 receptors are necessary for fear extinction and extinction-related tone responses. Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Dec 01; 68(11):1055-60.
29. Quirk GJ, Paré D, Richardson R, Herry C, Monfils MH, Schiller D, Vicentic A. Erasing fear memories with extinction training. J Neurosci. 2010 Nov 10; 30(45):14993-7.
30. Sierra-Mercado D, Padilla-Coreano N, Quirk GJ. Dissociable roles of prelimbic and infralimbic cortices, ventral hippocampus, and basolateral amygdala in the expression and extinction of conditioned fear. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Jan; 36(2):529-38.
31. Fontanez-Nuin DE, Santini E, Quirk GJ, Porter JT. Memory for fear extinction requires mGluR5-mediated activation of infralimbic neurons. Cereb Cortex. 2011 Mar; 21(3):727-35.
32. Peters J, Dieppa-Perea LM, Melendez LM, Quirk GJ. Induction of fear extinction with hippocampal-infralimbic BDNF. Science. 2010 Jun 04; 328(5983):1288-90.
33. Sotres-Bayon F, Quirk GJ. Prefrontal control of fear: more than just extinction. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2010 Apr; 20(2):231-5.
34. Quirk GJ, Milad MR. Neuroscience: Editing out fear. Nature. 2010 Jan 07; 463(7277):36-7.
35. Holmes A, Quirk GJ. Pharmacological facilitation of fear extinction and the search for adjunct treatments for anxiety disorders--the case of yohimbine. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2010 Jan; 31(1):2-7.
36. Burgos-Robles A, Vidal-Gonzalez I, Quirk GJ. Sustained conditioned responses in prelimbic prefrontal neurons are correlated with fear expression and extinction failure. J Neurosci. 2009 Jul 01; 29(26):8474-82.
37. Peters J, Kalivas PW, Quirk GJ. Extinction circuits for fear and addiction overlap in prefrontal cortex. Learn Mem. 2009 May; 16(5):279-88.
38. Martínez KG, Quirk GJ. Extending fear extinction beyond anxiety disorders. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Mar 15; 65(6):453-4.
39. Quirk GJ, Sotres-Bayon F. Signaling aversive events in the midbrain: worse than expected. Neuron. 2009 Mar 12; 61(5):655-6.
40. Mueller D, Olivera-Figueroa LA, Pine DS, Quirk GJ. The effects of yohimbine and amphetamine on fear expression and extinction in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Jul; 204(4):599-606.
41. Rodriguez-Romaguera J, Sotres-Bayon F, Mueller D, Quirk GJ. Systemic propranolol acts centrally to reduce conditioned fear in rats without impairing extinction. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 May 15; 65(10):887-92.
42. Li G, Nair SS, Quirk GJ. A biologically realistic network model of acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear associations in lateral amygdala neurons. J Neurophysiol. 2009 Mar; 101(3):1629-46.
43. Santini E, Quirk GJ, Porter JT. Fear conditioning and extinction differentially modify the intrinsic excitability of infralimbic neurons. J Neurosci. 2008 Apr 09; 28(15):4028-36.
44. Mueller D, Porter JT, Quirk GJ. Noradrenergic signaling in infralimbic cortex increases cell excitability and strengthens memory for fear extinction. J Neurosci. 2008 Jan 09; 28(2):369-75.
45. Quirk GJ, Martinez KG, Nazario Rodríguez LL. Translating findings from basic fear research to clinical psychiatry in Puerto Rico. P R Health Sci J. 2007 Dec; 26(4):321-8.
46. Quirk GJ, Mueller D. Neural mechanisms of extinction learning and retrieval. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008 Jan; 33(1):56-72.
47. Milad MR, Quirk GJ, Pitman RK, Orr SP, Fischl B, Rauch SL. A role for the human dorsal anterior cingulate cortex in fear expression. Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Nov 15; 62(10):1191-4.
48. Burgos-Robles A, Vidal-Gonzalez I, Santini E, Quirk GJ. Consolidation of fear extinction requires NMDA receptor-dependent bursting in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Neuron. 2007 Mar 15; 53(6):871-80.
49. Corcoran KA, Quirk GJ. Recalling safety: cooperative functions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus in extinction. CNS Spectr. 2007 Mar; 12(3):200-6.
50. Corcoran KA, Quirk GJ. Activity in prelimbic cortex is necessary for the expression of learned, but not innate, fears. J Neurosci. 2007 Jan 24; 27(4):840-4.
51. Milad MR, Wright CI, Orr SP, Pitman RK, Quirk GJ, Rauch SL. Recall of fear extinction in humans activates the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in concert. Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Sep 01; 62(5):446-54.
52. Quirk GJ, Beer JS. Prefrontal involvement in the regulation of emotion: convergence of rat and human studies. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2006 Dec; 16(6):723-7.
53. Vidal-Gonzalez I, Vidal-Gonzalez B, Rauch SL, Quirk GJ. Microstimulation reveals opposing influences of prelimbic and infralimbic cortex on the expression of conditioned fear. Learn Mem. 2006 Nov-Dec; 13(6):728-33.
54. Quirk GJ, Vidal-Gonzalez I. Keeping the memories flowing. Nat Neurosci. 2006 Oct; 9(10):1199-200.
55. Sierra-Mercado D, Corcoran KA, Lebrón-Milad K, Quirk GJ. Inactivation of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex reduces expression of conditioned fear and impairs subsequent recall of extinction. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Sep; 24(6):1751-8.
56. Quirk GJ. Extinction: new excitement for an old phenomenon. Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Aug 15; 60(4):317-8.
57. Quirk GJ, Garcia R, González-Lima F. Prefrontal mechanisms in extinction of conditioned fear. Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Aug 15; 60(4):337-43.
58. Milad MR, Rauch SL, Pitman RK, Quirk GJ. Fear extinction in rats: implications for human brain imaging and anxiety disorders. Biol Psychol. 2006 Jul; 73(1):61-71.
59. Anglada-Figueroa D, Quirk GJ. Lesions of the basal amygdala block expression of conditioned fear but not extinction. J Neurosci. 2005 Oct 19; 25(42):9680-5.
60. Quirk GJ, Peña de Ortiz S. Stuck in time without a nucleus: theoretical comment on Sangha et Al. (2005). Behav Neurosci. 2005 Aug; 119(4):1155-7.
61. Maren S, Quirk GJ. Neuronal signalling of fear memory. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004 Nov; 5(11):844-52.
62. Lebrón K, Milad MR, Quirk GJ. Delayed recall of fear extinction in rats with lesions of ventral medial prefrontal cortex. Learn Mem. 2004 Sep-Oct; 11(5):544-8.
63. Paré D, Quirk GJ, Ledoux JE. New vistas on amygdala networks in conditioned fear. J Neurophysiol. 2004 Jul; 92(1):1-9.
64. Santini E, Ge H, Ren K, Peña de Ortiz S, Quirk GJ. Consolidation of fear extinction requires protein synthesis in the medial prefrontal cortex. J Neurosci. 2004 Jun 23; 24(25):5704-10.
65. Milad MR, Vidal-Gonzalez I, Quirk GJ. Electrical stimulation of medial prefrontal cortex reduces conditioned fear in a temporally specific manner. Behav Neurosci. 2004 Apr; 118(2):389-94.
66. Quirk GJ. Learning not to fear, faster. Learn Mem. 2004 Mar-Apr; 11(2):125-6.
67. Quirk GJ, Likhtik E, Pelletier JG, Paré D. Stimulation of medial prefrontal cortex decreases the responsiveness of central amygdala output neurons. J Neurosci. 2003 Sep 24; 23(25):8800-7.
68. Quirk GJ, Gehlert DR. Inhibition of the amygdala: key to pathological states? Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Apr; 985:263-72.
69. Milad MR, Quirk GJ. Neurons in medial prefrontal cortex signal memory for fear extinction. Nature. 2002 Nov 07; 420(6911):70-4.
70. Quirk GJ. Memory for extinction of conditioned fear is long-lasting and persists following spontaneous recovery. Learn Mem. 2002 Nov-Dec; 9(6):402-7.
71. Santini E, Muller RU, Quirk GJ. Consolidation of extinction learning involves transfer from NMDA-independent to NMDA-dependent memory. J Neurosci. 2001 Nov 15; 21(22):9009-17.
72. Quirk GJ, Russo GK, Barron JL, Lebron K. The role of ventromedial prefrontal cortex in the recovery of extinguished fear. J Neurosci. 2000 Aug 15; 20(16):6225-31.
73. Quirk GJ. Neuroscience in developing countries: getting around the problems. Int J Neurosci. 1999 Aug; 99(1-4):89-90.
74. Armony JL, Quirk GJ, LeDoux JE. Differential effects of amygdala lesions on early and late plastic components of auditory cortex spike trains during fear conditioning. J Neurosci. 1998 Apr 01; 18(7):2592-601.
75. Quirk GJ. Fear research: implications for anxiety disorders. Bol Asoc Med P R. 1998 Jan-Mar; 90(1-3):27-9.
76. Hesse H, Rivera MF, de Díaz I, Quirk GJ. Central somatosensory conduction time in severely growth-stunted children. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Jan; 67(1):93-6.
77. Quirk GJ, Armony JL, LeDoux JE. Fear conditioning enhances different temporal components of tone-evoked spike trains in auditory cortex and lateral amygdala. Neuron. 1997 Sep; 19(3):613-24.
78. Quirk GJ, Weisskopf MG. Science in developing countries: whose agenda? Am J Physiol. 1997 Jun; 272(6 Pt 3):S50-1.
79. Quirk GJ, Armony JL, Repa JC, Li XF, LeDoux JE. Emotional memory: a search for sites of plasticity. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 1996; 61:247-57.
80. Quirk GJ. Starting a neuroscience research laboratory in a developing country: a Fulbright experience in Honduras. Am J Physiol. 1995 Dec; 269(6 Pt 3):S61-7.
81. Quirk GJ, Repa C, LeDoux JE. Fear conditioning enhances short-latency auditory responses of lateral amygdala neurons: parallel recordings in the freely behaving rat. Neuron. 1995 Nov; 15(5):1029-39.
82. Quirk GJ, Mejia WR, Hesse H, Su H. Early malnutrition followed by nutritional restoration lowers the conduction velocity and excitability of the corticospinal tract. Brain Res. 1995 Jan 30; 670(2):277-82.
83. Quirk GJ, Casco L. Stress disorders of families of the disappeared: a controlled study in Honduras. Soc Sci Med. 1994 Dec; 39(12):1675-9.
84. Quirk GJ, Muller RU, Kubie JL, Ranck JB. The positional firing properties of medial entorhinal neurons: description and comparison with hippocampal place cells. J Neurosci. 1992 May; 12(5):1945-63.
85. Stewart M, Quirk GJ, Barry M, Fox SE. Firing relations of medial entorhinal neurons to the hippocampal theta rhythm in urethane anesthetized and walking rats. Exp Brain Res. 1992; 90(1):21-8.
86. Amassian VE, Quirk GJ, Stewart M. A comparison of corticospinal activation by magnetic coil and electrical stimulation of monkey motor cortex. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1990 Sep-Oct; 77(5):390-401.
87. Quirk GJ, Muller RU, Kubie JL. The firing of hippocampal place cells in the dark depends on the rat's recent experience. J Neurosci. 1990 Jun; 10(6):2008-17.
88. Stewart M, Quirk GJ, Amassian VE. Corticospinal responses to electrical stimulation of motor cortex in the rat. Brain Res. 1990 Feb 05; 508(2):341-4.
89. Collier TJ, Quirk GJ, Routtenberg A. Separable roles of hippocampal granule cells in forgetting and pyramidal cells in remembering spatial information. Brain Res. 1987 Apr 21; 409(2):316-28.
90. Amassian VE, Stewart M, Quirk GJ, Rosenthal JL. Physiological basis of motor effects of a transient stimulus to cerebral cortex. Neurosurgery. 1987 Jan; 20(1):74-93.
91. Chan PS, Cervoni P, Accomando RC, Quirk GJ, Ronsberg MA. Mechanism of action of a new prostaglandin antihypertensive, viprostol [CL 115 347; (dl)-15-deoxy-16-hydroxy-16(alpha/beta)-vinyl-prostaglandin E2 methyl ester]: (II). Effects on the adrenergic nervous system. J Hypertens. 1986 Dec; 4(6):749-57.
92. Neafsey EJ, Bold EL, Haas G, Hurley-Gius KM, Quirk G, Sievert CF, Terreberry RR. The organization of the rat motor cortex: a microstimulation mapping study. Brain Res. 1986 Mar; 396(1):77-96.
93. Cervoni P, Goldstein BM, Herzlinger H, Lai FM, Quirk GJ. Evidence for the lack of interaction between (+/-)-1-O-octadecyl-2-acetylglyceryl-3-phosphorylcholine and alpha-adrenoceptors in vivo and in vitro. Br J Pharmacol. 1984 Oct; 83(2):511-7.

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