Using preclinical models, Jared Schwartzer studies the interaction of the immune system and nervous system during brain development in utero, and the effects of these interactions on behavior during postnatal development. Much of his research is inspired by clinical and epidemiological trends observed in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. In the Schwartzer Lab, specialized techniques from neuroimmunology and behavioral neuroscience come together to explore how changes in the mother’s immune system influence social behavior in offspring.
Kathy Binder is keenly interested in how adults with low literacy skills learn to read. She has examined how these readers use various “codes” of language - phonological codes (sounds), orthographic codes (spelling patterns), and morphological codes (roots and affixes). She examines how these codes influence spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension abilities. Binder teaches a CBL course in which her students become adult literacy tutors to better understand readers’ strengths and weaknesses. This work has been funded by the NIH and IES.
Renae Brodie is an ecological physiologist who investigates the reproductive and larval biology of crabs. Currently, she is studying fiddler crabs along the Atlantic coast, where she has established field sites from Massachusetts to Georgia to test hypotheses about how temperature and other factors― like population density, food supply and pollution―impact survival and reproduction. Ultimately, insights from these projects will allow Renae, her students and collaborators to predict how the health and geographic ranges of fiddler crab populations will shift as the planet’s climate continues to change.
Ken Colodner’s research focuses on molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Colodner and his students utilize the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model organism to investigate how human disease-related proteins induce cell death and dysfunction in the brain. The Colodner Lab is particularly interested in examining the extent to which neuronal and glial cells, the two major cell-types of the brain, contribute to the neurodegenerative disease process.
Jane Couperus is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist. Her research focuses on the neurological bases of visual selective attention and visual selective attention development. Her work utilizes event related potentials (i.e. electrical activity in the brain) to examine how we select out relevant visual information while simultaneously filtering out non-relevant information in both children (6-12 years) and adults. Couperus teaches courses in child and adolescent psychology and cognitive neuroscience, and courses that combine the two. She also teaches a course on the neuroscience and psychology of sex and gender.
Gary Gillis is interested in the biomechanics and neuromuscular control of animal locomotion. He has worked on systems ranging from swimming fish to running mammals and has been involved in projects exploring plasticity in muscle function and the effects of body size on locomotor movements. Most recently his lab has been using toads to study the control of rapid deceleration during landing. In 2012 and 2013 Gillis served as a Program Officer for the National Science Foundation. Gillis is the point-person for summer student programming, federal grant submissions, and Faculty Fridays.
Kathryn A. McMenimen
Kathryn McMenimen is interested in the chemical interactions that underlie biological systems. Her research group uses tools at the interface of chemistry, biochemistry, neuroscience, and biophysics to study one type of molecular chaperone, the small heat shock proteins. McMenimen is particularly interested in protein homeostasis and how dysfunction of molecular chaperones contributes to protein misfolding diseases, such as, cataracts, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurological diseases.
Marta Sabariego is interested in the neural circuits of emotion and memory at the systems level. In particular, Sabariego investigates the mechanisms that support recovery and adaptation from situations involving surprising reward loss and how these life events affect cognitive processes. These questions are addressed by recording neurons in freely moving rodents, performing stereotaxic neurosurgery, behavioral testing, and histological analysis of brain tissue. Sabariego is especially interested in the translational implications of this basic research and in the development of new therapeutic approaches to prevent or ameliorate emotional and cognitive problems in disease.
Andre White's research explores the neurobiological changes that underlie persistent cocaine-seeking behaviors in mice. Previously, he determined little-known known epigenetic mechanism, nucleosome remodeling, was critical for the formation of cocaine-associated memories and synaptic plasticity. This research was recently published in Nature Communications. Through teaching, White seeks to harness students’ curiosity about addiction and direct it towards a better understanding of the nervous system. In his courses, students have the opportunity to manipulate the reward pathway in mice then examine the contribution of those specific brain regions to drug-seeking behavior.