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Professor Barry J Everitt Sc.D., F.R.S., F.Med.Sci.

Professor Barry J Everitt, Sc.D., F.R.S., F.Med.Sci.

Director of Research, Department of Psychology

Provost, Gates Cambridge Trust

Office Phone: (3)33583 (7)65286


Professor Barry Everitt graduated from the University of Hull with a B.Sc. in Zoology in 1967. He gained his Ph.D. in behavioural neuroendocrinology from the University of Birmingham in 1970.  Following postdoctoral neuroscience research as an MRC Fellow at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, he joined the Department of Anatomy at the University of Cambridge as a lecturer in 1974 and was appointed Reader in Neuroscience in 1991.  He moved to the Department of Experimental Psychology in Cambridge in 1994 and was elected Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience in 1997.  He was Master of Downing College from 2003 to 2013 and is currently Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, established by a gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund a scholarship programme in Cambridge for overseas graduate students. He is President-elect of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and will assume the Presidency in 2016.


He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (2007), Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2008) and a Member of EMBO in 2014. He has received honorary D.Sc. degrees from both his almae matres (Hull University in 2009; Birmingham University in 2010) and an honorary MD from the Karolinska Institutet in 2015. He was the co-recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award (2011), the European Behavioural Pharmacological Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2011), the FENS-EJN Award (2012) and the British Association for Psychopharmacology Lifetime Achievement Award (2012). He has been President of the British Association for Psychopharmacology (1992-4), the European Brain and Behaviour Society (1998-2000) and the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society (2003-5). He was Chair of the International Fellowships Committee of the Human Frontier Science Program (1994-6), a member of the MRC Neurosciences and Mental Health Board (1999-2003) and a Scientific Counsellor for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Washington DC, 2002-6). He was Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Neuroscience from1997-2008 and has been a Reviewing Editor for the journal Science since 2005.  He is a member of the council of the Society for Neuroscience and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Departments and Institutes


Research Interests

Barry Everitt's research is concerned with the neural and psychological mechanisms underlying learning, memory, motivation and reward especially related to drug addiction. A major research theme is the impact of learning on drug addiction - both its development and its persistence. Thus, taking drugs might begin as a voluntary, or goal-directed, action but may transform in time to become a compulsive habit that is extremely difficult to relinquish. This transition from initial drug use to addiction may occur through the progressive engagement of different pavlovian and instrumental learning systems in the brain and his research group has made significant advances in defining the neural basis of these learning mechanisms underlying addiction and also  the molecular and neurochemical basis of memory ‘reconsolidation’, the process by which drug and fear (and other memories) become labile when reactivated at retrieval.

Key Publications

Everitt BJ, Robbins TW. Drug Addiction: Updating Actions to Habits to Compulsions Ten Years On. Ann Rev Psych. 2015. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-122414-033457 . PMID: 26253543

Giuliano C, Goodlett CR, Economidou D, García-Pardo MP, Belin D, Robbins TW, Bullmore ET, Everitt BJ. The Novel μ-Opioid Receptor Antagonist GSK1521498 Decreases both Alcohol Seeking and Drinking: Evidence from a New Preclinical Model of Alcohol Seeking. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Jun 5. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.152. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26044906

Pelloux Y, Murray JE, Everitt BJ. Differential vulnerability to the punishment of cocaine related behaviours: effects of locus of punishment, cocaine taking history and alternative reinforcer availability. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Jan;232(1):125-34. doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3648-5. PMID: 24952093

Everitt BJ. Neural and psychological mechanisms underlying compulsive drug seeking habits and drug memories--indications for novel treatments of addiction. Eur J Neurosci. 2014 Jul;40(1):2163-82. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12644. PMID: 24935353

Merlo E, Milton AL, Goozée ZY, Theobald DE, Everitt BJ. Reconsolidation and extinction are dissociable and mutually exclusive processes: behavioral and molecular evidence. J Neurosci. 2014 Feb 12;34(7):2422-31. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4001-13.2014. PMID: 24523532

Murray JE, Dilleen R, Pelloux Y, Economidou D, Dalley JW, Belin D, Everitt BJ. Increased impulsivity retards the transition to dorsolateral striatal dopamine control of cocaine seeking. Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Jul 1;76(1):15-22. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych. 2013.09.011 PMID: 24157338

Belin D, Belin-Rauscent A, Murray JE, Everitt BJ. Addiction: failure of control over maladaptive incentive habits. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013 Aug;23(4):564-72. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.01.025. PMID: 23452942

Everitt BJ, Robbins TW. From the ventral to the dorsal striatum: devolving views of their roles in drug addiction. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Nov;37(9 Pt A):1946-54. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.02.010. PMID: 23438892 

Giuliano C, Robbins TW, Wille DR, Bullmore ET, Everitt BJ. Attenuation of cocaine and heroin seeking by μ-opioid receptor antagonism. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 May;227(1):137-47. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2949-9. PMID: 23299095

Pelloux Y, Dilleen R, Economidou D, Theobald D, Everitt BJ. Reduced forebrain serotonin transmission is causally involved in the development of compulsive cocaine seeking in rats. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Oct;37(11):2505-14. doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.111. PMID: 22763621

Jonkman S, Pelloux Y, Everitt BJ. Differential roles of the dorsolateral and midlateral striatum in punished cocaine seeking. J Neurosci. 2012 Mar 28;32(13):4645-50. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0348-12.2012. PMID: 22457510