Research Opportunities in Neuroscience at Brooklyn College
Research experience and training are available in the laboratories of the following faculty members:
Areas of Expertise: Israel Abramov studies the visual system across the life span, using psychophysical methods to understand the underlying biology. He and his collaborators measure spatio-temporal resolution, binocular functions, color functions, etc.; ask which functions are correlated and thus share neuronal substrates; and test specific groups, such as participants with Down syndrome. Applied topics include illumination of art in museums and identifying stylistic groupings of archaeological artifacts.
Areas of Expertise: Animal learning and memory, evolution of brain complexity, ecology, evolution, sensory biology, neural basis of behavior, using mostly invertebrate models.
Areas of Expertise: Elizabeth Chua has broad interests in the cognitive and neural bases of human memory. Her research thus far has focused on three major areas: associative memory, metamemory (knowledge of one's memory) and how these change in normal aging. The methods she has used to answer questions on these topics include functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and eye tracking techniques.
Areas of Expertise: Matthew Crump is interested in human learning, memory, attention and performance. He focuses primarily on behavioral research tools to isolate these processes and then understand how they are coordinated together to support skilled performance. Some of the specific questions he is interested in are: 1) how do memory processes guide attention and action, 2) how do attention processes select relevant from irrelevant information, and 3) how do people produce meaningful sequences of actions.
Areas of Expertise: Andrew Delameter's research interests are directed toward an understanding of basic learning processes, particularly as they are revealed in simple Pavlovian and instrumental learning paradigms with laboratory animals. His focus is on understanding, both at the psychological and neural systems levels of analysis, how organisms represent the causal structure of their environment.
Paul M. Forlano
Areas of Expertise: Using fish as model systems, Paul Forlano's lab employs a combination of evolutionary/systems neuroscience with a molecular and cellular approach in order to identify the mechanisms underlying steroid-induced neural plasticity and sex differences in brain and behavior. These studies focus on vocal, auditory and neuroendocrine circuits that are conserved across vertebrates.
Areas of Expertise: Yu Gao studies biological bases of aggressive, antisocial, psychopathic and criminal behavior. She is interested in identifying neurobiological bases of externalizing behavior in children, adolescents, and adults using psychophysiological method (e.g., electrodermal conditioning, P300). She also studies emotion and decision-making deficits in psychopathic criminals and noncriminals, and basic cognitive-affective processes development in children.
Frank W Grass
Areas of Expertise: The BioMimetic & Cognitive Robotics Lab is dedicated to discovering mechanisms that control and coordinate behavior. It uses biomimetic robots and computer simulations in parallel with animal behavior studies to validate theories of behavior. Neural, evolutionary and ecological constraints on behavior are central to its work, which holds that a complete understanding of a behavior must include these constraints. The lab takes the computational perspective that models must be simple and powerful.
Natalie A. Kacinik
Areas of Expertise: Psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience. One line of research examines the representation and activation of word meanings in semantic memory. The other deals with the comprehension of higher-levels of language (i.e., figurative expressions, discourse and pragmatics). These issues are investigated behaviorally using word recognition and priming procedures, and with methods from cognitive neuroscience like visual half-field presentation, event-related potentials (ERPs), and structural MRI.
Daniel D. Kurylo
Areas of Expertise: Daniel Kurylo's research focuses on ways in which populations of neurons become integrated to produce cognitive functions. Models of neural integration are explored in human clinical populations as well as with animal models. Studies include an analysis of visual impairment in patients with brain injury and schizophrenia. Studies also include an analysis of visual capacities in animals, and changes in perception that result from alterations in neural chemistry.
Laura A. Rabin
Areas of Expertise: Researchers are characterizing the earliest stages of age-related cognitive impairment, when treatment that slows progression to dementia can exert the strongest impact. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a transitional state between the cognitive changes of normal aging and Alzheimer's disease. Patients with MCI experience significant memory loss yet do not meet criteria for dementia. I study patients with MCI using neuropsychological evaluation, genetic testing, and neuroimaging techniques.
Areas of Expertise: The biopsychology of appetite, food preferences, and obesity. Current research is focusing on the role of learning in the development of preferences for high-fat and high-sugar foods using animal models (rats, mice). Brain mechanisms mediating food appetite and preference learning are under investigation.
Deborah J. Walder
Areas of Expertise: Deborah Walder's research program focuses on the neurodevelopment of mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and depression, with consideration of sex differences. She studies biomarkers of risk (e.g., neurohormones, brain abnormalities, genetics, and neuropsychological functioning) and environmental factors, among healthy and high-risk youth and young adults. This includes use of prospective methods to better understand the early trajectory of illness, with an eye toward prevention and early intervention.