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Read Montague, Ph.D.


Read Montague, Ph.D. Director, Human Neuroimaging Laboratory, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (David Hungate/ Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute)

Genderless Silhouette
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute
2 Riverside Circle
Office #1107
Roanoke VA, 24016

Research Areas

  • Neuroengineering

Research Interests

Read Montague’s work focuses on computational neuroscience – the connection between physical mechanisms present in real neural tissue and the computational functions that these mechanisms embody. His early theoretical work focused on the hypothesis that dopaminergic systems encode a particular kind of computational process, a reward prediction error signal, similar to those used in areas of artificial intelligence like optimal control.

In pursuit of testing these ideas in humans, Montague founded the Human Neuroimaging Lab at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and pursued functional neuroimaging experiments analogous to those used in other model species. From 2005 to 2006, he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he focused on game theory and its potential use as a probe of psychopathology. In 2006, he was the founding director of the Computational Psychiatry Unit at Baylor College of Medicine. In 2011, Montague moved to the department of physics at Virginia Tech, received a Principal Research Fellowship from The Wellcome Trust, and became a principal at The Wellcome Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London (UCL). At UCL, he also serves as adjunct faculty at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit and participating faculty member of the University College London/Max Planck Institute Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing.

He is actively engaged in translating computational neuroscience into the domain of mental health through work in Computational Psychiatry. His group has recently pioneered new approaches to sub-second neurotransmitter measurements in conscious humans. Over the past decade, he was a member of the MacArthur Foundation Network on Neuroscience and Law with a particular interest in the mental states project(s). His laboratory uses theoretical, computational, and experimental approaches to the problems of mental health and its derangement by disease and injury. Work in the laboratory is supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, The Kane Family Foundation, Autism Speaks, The MacArthur Foundation, The Dana Foundation, and The Wellcome Trust.


  • The Salk Institute: Postdoctoral fellowship
  • Rockefeller University: Postdoctoral fellowship
  • University of Alabama Birmingham: Ph.D., Biophysics

Awards, Honors, and Service

  • William R. and Irene D. Miller Lectureship, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2011–2012 
  • Network Member, The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, 2011-2015 
  • Walter Gilbert Award, Auburn University, 2011 
  • Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship, 2011-2018 
  • Kavli Fellow, U.S.-China Frontiers of Science, National Academy of Science, 2010 
  • Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ., 2005–2006 
  • Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award, 1997, 2005

Recent Publications

Hula A, Vilares I, Dayan P, Montague PR. (2018). A Model of Risk and Mental State Shifts during Social Interaction. PLOS Computational Biology

Moran RJ, Kishida KT, Lohrenz T, Saez I, Laxton AW, Witcher MR, Tatter SB, Ellis TL, Phillips PE, Dayan P, Montague PR. (2018). The Protective Action Encoding of Serotonin Transients in the Human Brain. Neuropsychopharmacology 43: 1425-1435. 

Montague PR. (2017). Computational Phenotypes Revealed by Interactive Economic Games. In: Anticevic A, Murray JD, Krystal JH (Ed.), Computational Psychiatry: Mathematical Modeling of Mental Illness. (pp. 273-292):Elsevier. 

Hétu S, Luo Y, D'Ardenne K, Lohrenz T, Montague PR. (2017). Human substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area involvement in computing social error signals during the ultimatum game. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 12(12): 1972-1982. 

Solway A, Gu X, Montague PR. (2017). Forgetting to Be Addicted: Reconsolidation and the Disconnection of Things Past. Biological Psychiatry 82(11): 774-775. 

Vilares I, Wesley MJ, Ahn WJ, Bonnie RJ, Hoffman M, Jones OD, Morse SJ, Yaffe G, Lohrenz T, Montague PR. (2017). Predicting the knowledge–recklessness distinction in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 114(12): 3222-3227. doi:10.1073/pnas.1619385114. 

Luo Q, Ma Y, Bhatt M, Montague PR, Feng J. (2017). The Functional Architecture of the Brain Underlies Strategic Deception in Impression Management. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11: 513. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00513. 

Solway A, Lohrenz T, Montague PR. (2017). Simulating future value in intertemporal choice. Scientific Reports7: 43119. doi: 10.1038/srep43119. 

Montague PR, Kishida KT, Moran RJ, Lohrenz TM. (2016). An efficiency framework for valence processing systems inspired by soft cross-wiring. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 11: 121-129. 

Lohrenz T, Kishida KT, Montague PR. (2016). BOLD and its connection to dopamine release in human striatum: a cross-cohort comparison. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Biological Sciences371(1705): 20150352. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0352.