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Tom Baker

Department of Entomology
Phone: 814-863-4435


Conducts research on neuroethology of insect olfaction.


Paul Bartell

Acting Co-Director for CBBC in the academic year of 2015-2016
Department of Animal Science
Phone: 814-867-2365


Conducts research on biological clocks.

Roger Beaty

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-863-8524


My research examines neural and cognitive mechanisms of creative thinking. In particular, I study the roles of memory systems and cognitive control in creative thought. One area of my research uses fMRI to characterize brain network dynamics supporting creative cognition. A goal of this work is to identify cognitive processes associated with patterns of functional brain connectivity during idea generation. I also explore how cognitive abilities and personality factors relate to variation in brain network functioning.

Victoria Braithwaite-Co-Director of the CBBC

Department of Ecosystem Science & Management
Department of Biology
Phone: 814-865-4675


My group and I focus on the development of behavior and the impact that stressors have during sensitive phases. We quantify the impacts stressors have on perception, learning and memory, affective states and changes in neural plasticity. In a related project we address the capacity for awareness in animals and how this influences pain and suffering.

Sonia Cavigelli

Department of Biobehavioral Health
Phone: 814-863-0210

We work on the influence of temperament and social status on stress and health; individual differences in stress and health in the natural environment; development of temperament/personality.

John Collins

Department of Physics
Phone: 814-863-0783


What algorithms are/can be used, and what are the semantics of neural representations? This concerns both biological systems and engineered applications. Particular interests include: (a) the role of neurogenesis and synaptogenesis in memory formation; (b) the role of massive feedback connections (as in the visual cortex) in learning, in perception, and in the self-organization of neural systems.

Nancy Dennis

Department of Psychology


I work on human cognitive neuroscience of aging, learning and memory, implicit learning, episodic memory, relational memory, false memory, cognitive control and fMRI

Michele Diaz

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-863-1726

My research focuses on the neural representation of language and how this representation changes with age. In particular, I am interested in age-related differences in phonological and semantic aspects of language production. My lab and I combine behavioral, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging measures to examine the relations between age, cognition, and the brain. I have also investigated contributions of the right hemisphere to language with research studying figurative language, discourse, and novelty. Finally, I worked on the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN) for 10 years focusing on best practices in neuroimaging and multi-site experiments.

Nancy Dreschel

Department of Animal Science
Phone: 814-863-4197

My research has focused primarily on fear and stress in companion animals and their human handlers. I am particularly interested in biobehavioral measures of canine, feline, and human interactions. My interests include human and animal public health, animal welfare, and canine cognition.

Paula Droege

Department of Philosophy
Phone: 814-863-4842

My research in the philosophy of mind focuses on the difficult question of how consciousness and other mental processes might be produced by a physical thing like a brain. Drawing on work in phenomenology and biological functionalism, I argue that consciousness has evolved as a way for the mind to represent time. Conscious states represent the way the world is at the present moment in order for the creature to assess where it has been and how best to proceed.

Nicole Etter

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Phone: 814-863-2021

My research interest is related to orofacial somatosensation and low-level force assessments in healthy young and aging groups, as well as adult neurologically impaired populations. Certificate of Clinical Competence – Speech-Language Pathology. Dr. Etter focuses on ways humans process and use sensory information for the purposes of speech production and feeding. OPPAL is home to a unique stimulus delivery system, custom designed to deliver tactile inputs to orofacial skin surface during simultaneous performance of visually guided behaviors in the lower face. We are interested in better understanding the relationship between sensation (auditory and orofacial somatosensation) and skilled movement behaviors used for speech production. We are analyzing how this relationship may be altered as a feature of healthy aging, neurologic disorders (stroke or traumatic brain injury), and/or lifestyle variables (smoking history etc). Additional work in the lab focuses on the use of technology and Engagement theory for adults completing home-based motor speech interventions.

Chuck Geier

Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Phone: 814-865-1728

I am interested in understanding brain systems that mediate anticipatory and consummatory (outcome) responses to incentives (rewards, losses) and how these relate to the development of cognitive control, including inhibitory control and working memory. I am also keenly interested in how risky behaviors, such as cigarette smoking, might be more rewarding to adolescents than adults and how this, in combination with limitations in cognitive control, might lead to initial experimentation with the drug and dependence. The conceptual model that guides much of my research is that it is the interaction between incentive (reward, punishment) processing and basic cognitive control abilities, both of which are still maturing in adolescence, that sets the stage for suboptimal decision making and risk taking, including substance use.

Rick Gilmore

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-865-3664

I study the development of neural mechanisms engaged in dynamic perception and action planning. My research involves behavioral, neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI), and computational methods. Current projects focus on studying the development of self- and object motion processing and human and computer-based mechanisms associated with the detection of visual symmetry. I am also involved in a large-scale effort to create an open repository for video-based behavioral science data.

Christina Grozinger

Department of Entomology
Phone: 814-865-2214


My group’s research focuses on the genomic analysis of social behavior in honey bees and other social insect species. We are primarily interesting in understanding the molecular basis and evolution of chemical communication and host-parasite interactions. We are characterizing the molecular, physiological, behavioral, and social factors that regulate these processes. These studies not only shed light on the molecular pathways underlying behavior, olfaction, immunity, and chemical ecology, but can also serve as the basis for applied research into novel methods for improving honey bee breeding, colony health and management.

Michael Hallquist

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-863-5756


Dr. Hallquist’s research characterizes the developmental psychopathology of personality dysfunction in adolescence and young adulthood. He is interested in how personality traits, interpersonal relationships, and disrupted maturation of neurobehavioral systems are associated with the emergence of personality dysfunction, especially borderline personality disorder (BPD). Work in his laboratory spans clinical, behavioral, and neuroimaging assessments of personality and psychopathology. As a developmental psychopathologist, Dr. Hallquist’s research also focuses on the normative maturation of brain systems implicated in self-control, reward processing, and emotion regulation, which informs a better understanding of abnormal trajectories in BPD.

Frank Hillary

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-865-5849


My research examines the effects of brain injury and disease on functional brain organization. One primary goal of our work is to understand how distributed neural networks are altered following significant neurological disruption (e.g., traumatic brain injury). Using functional MRI and high density EEG our work examines short-term plasticity during task acquisition (i.e., new learning) as well as whole-brain changes occurring during the first year after injury. Two important facets to this work are the: 1) integration of network modeling (e.g., euSEM, graph theory) to document network changes and 2) focus on individual differences in recovery to address the heterogeneous effects of injury on neural systems.

David Hughes

Department of Entomology & Department of Biology
Phone: 814-863-6073

My group and I are interested in parasites that control the behavior of their hosts. Working with model systems in tropical and temperate habitats we explore disease dynamics, defense and the evolution of manipulative strategies. A major focus is moving into a proximate level view in an effort to understand how a single celled organism in one Kingdom (Fungi) alters the CNS of a multicellular organism in another Kingdom (Animalia).

Dezhe Jin

Department of Physics
Phone: 814-863-6673

The research in our group focuses on computational models of generation and perception of complex birdsong, and robust recognition of auditory objects such as speech in the auditory system. The work is done with close collaborations with experimental groups.

Stephen J. Wilson

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-865-6219


My primary area of research interest is addictive behavior, with a specific focus on cigarette smoking. I utilize an interdisciplinary approach that integrates theory and methods from traditional behavioral addiction research with those derived from the affective, cognitive and social neurosciences (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI). The overarching objective of my research is to shed light on the factors that make it difficult for people to quit using cigarettes and, in turn, to devise ways to use this information to advance the treatment of smoking.

Helen Kamens

Department of Biobehavioral Health
Phone: 814-865-1269


Research in the lab focuses on the role of genetics in complex disorders. We examine if genetic variation influences behaviors and try to elucidate the biological mechanism through which this is occurring. Behaviors related to alcohol and nicotine use are the primary focus.

Elisabeth Karuza

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-863-4721


Given known constraints on the human brain, how do learners extract the information they need from the environment, often without realizing they are doing it? The Karuza lab uses a combination of behavioral and neuroimaging techniques (fMRI) to probe learners’ sensitivity to both the simple associations and network-level structures around them, with a particular focus on which patterns best facilitate learning.

Kathleen Keller

Department of Nutritional Sciences & Department of Food Science
Phone: 814-863-2915


My laboratory studies eating behaviors in young children, in particular, how do they develop and how are they related to risk for obesity later in life. We are using techniques such as brain imaging and genetic screening of taste polymorphisms to provide insight into the biological underpinnings of eating behaviors and food preferences in children. Also, we are researching the impact of food marketing and branding on these eating behaviors.

Laure Klein

Department of Biobehavioral Health

Alex Kozhevnikov

Department of Physics
Phone: 814-865-6873


Our research group studies the neural mechanisms of the birdsong, in particular the neural substrates that underlie the syntax of the birdsong. Also, we are involved in development of novel techniques/devices for neural recordings and manipulations of neural circuits.

Tracy Langkilde

Department of Biology
Phone: 814-867-2251


I am interested in the physiological and behavioral consequences of novel stressors. My research examines the impact of invasion by predatory and venomous red imported fire ants on native lizards. We are finding that lizards from populations exposed to these invasive ants have elevated levels of corticosterone (CORT, a stress hormone), altered antipredator behavior, and increased behavioral sensitivity to CORT. I plan on investigating neural mechanisms, including changes in CORT receptors, that could be driving these patterns.

Lyle Long

Department of Aerospace Engineering
Phone: 814-865-1172


I am working on computational methods for large scale spiking neural networks, for both biological understanding and robotic applications. I also work on cognitive robotics, which involves using cognitive architectures (e.g. Soar) and decision trees on mobile robots (land-, air-, and sea-based). A key element of both these topics is machine learning.

Ping Li-Co-Director of the CBBC

Department of Psychology
Department of Information Sciences and Technology
Phone: 814-863-3921


Research in my lab focuses on the neuro-cognitive and computational mechanisms of language and language acquisition. In particular, we examine the dynamic changes that occur in the language learner and the dynamic interactions that occur in the competing language systems over the course of lifelong learning. Our studies in general aim at uncovering the relationships among brain, language, and culture.

Yanxi Liu

Departments of Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering
Phone: 814-865-7495


I am interested in the whole perception, action and cognition cycle for machine and human (animals) and their interplay. My collaborators and I are seeking near-regularities, and building discriminative and generative computational models from real data guided by mathematical group theory and statistical machine learning. Our data sets come from a diverse set of applications from massive, multi-modality, high-dimensional, spatiotemporal biomedical images, hyper-spectral cellular images, motion capture data, EEG/fMRI/sMRI, video/audio and crowd sourcing data.

Xiao Liu

Department of Bioengineering
Phone: 814-863-4419


My group focuses on combining multi-modal neuroimaging techniques, e.g., fMRI, electrophysiology, and simultaneous fMRI-EEG, and computational approach to understand functional connectivity and temporal dynamics of the brain, particularly at different consciousness states such as sleep and anesthesia.

Peter Molenaar

Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Phone: 814-863-8373


Statistical methods to estimate connectivity networks. EEG/MEG source modeling. Quantitative genetics of physiological time series. Applied (non-)linear dynamic systems modeling. Longitudinal analysis. Artificial neural network modeling.

Kristina Neely

Department of Kinesiology
Phone: 814-863-9243


My research focuses on how brain structure and function, cognitive ability, and personality traits influence the control of reaching and grasping movements. My work is particularly focused on brain structures such as the basal ganglia and the prefrontal cortex, which are involved in disorders such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Keith Nelson
Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-863-1747


My central interests are developmental theories and their refinements as well as improvements in communications disorders and dyslexia treatments and other applied developmental psychology, together with changes in social policy that are rooted in improvements in cognitive developmental theory, language acquisition theory, results of systematic interventions, and dynamic systems theory.

Bryan Nichols
Journal of Research in Music Education.
Phone: 814-865-6521


The Pitch Exploration Lab is a space for undergraduates or graduates from any major on campus to explore music, brain, and psychology topics. We especially welcome research questions related to pitch. Work related to topics in the lab has been published in Psychology of Music, Psychomusicology, Musicae Scientiae, and Journal of Research in Music Education.

Harland Patch

Department of Entomology
Phone: 814-867-3023


I am interested in chemical receptors, pheromone evolution and behavior in insect pollinators

David Puts

Department of Anthropology
Phone: 814-359-9102


My lab studies the evolution and development of human sex differences. We are especially interested in how sex hormones contribute to sex differences in behavior, psychology, the brain, and other aspects of our phenotypes such as our voices, faces and bodies--and in why we evolved these sex differences and responses to sex hormones.

Chaleece W. Sandberg

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Phone: 814-863-2006


Research in my lab focuses on finding ways of optimizing language therapy for adult language disorders, with a primary interest in aphasia. Specifically, we are exploring what neuroplastic processes are taking place during successful therapy and how to enhance these processes. Additionally, we are exploring how cortical reorganization due to aging affects the way we interpret the cortical reorganization that results from language therapy.

Suzy Scherf

Acting Co-Director for CBBC in the academic year of 2015-2016
Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-867-2921


My core interests lie in understanding how children form representations of the visual world and how emerging functional specificity of the developing brain supports this process. Specifically, I am interested in the developmental trajectory of face representations because the discrimination and recognition of faces is one of the most taxing perceptual challenges confronted by people in their day-to-day life. I employ converging methodologies, including functional and structural magnetic resonance, and diffusion tensor imaging along with detailed behavioral paradigms in both typically developing populations and those with developmental disorders, with particular emphasis on autism, to examine development across multiple time points from early childhood to adulthood.

Janet Van Hell

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-867-2337


Her research focuses on second language learning and bilingualism as well as later language development in children with typical or atypical language development. She combines behavioral, neuropsychological, and linguistic techniques to study language development and language processing.

David Vandenbergh

Department of Biobehavioral Health
Phone: 814-863-8430


I am interested in the control of neuronal gene expression by drugs of abuse.

Diane L. Williams

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Phone: 814-865-3177

My research focuses on the characterization of cognition and language in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), based on an information-processing model, using behavioral, neuropsychologic measures, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the ability of individuals with ASD to perform language tasks with variations in contextual and processing demands.

Daniel Weiss

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-863-2265


My primary interest is in the domain of language acquisition and statistical learning (i.e., how learners track the distributional properties of speech). Recently, this work has begun to explore how language learners are able to track multiple inputs and non-uniform distributions. I adopt a comparative approach, studying these mechanisms in infants, adults and nonhuman primates. I also maintains an active research program studying motor planning and cognition/communication in nonhuman primates.

Brad Wyble

Department of Psychology
Phone: 814-867-2436


My lab studies the temporal resolution of visual perception at the intersection of attention and memory. We use psychophysics, computational modeling and ERP studies to explore how behaviorally-relevant information is detected by the visual system and then encoded into memory as consciously reportable representations.

Nanyin Zhang

Department of Bioengineering
Phone: 814-867-4791


My research focuses on investigating the normal brain function and pathoneurophysiology of brain disorders using neuroimaging, behavioral, and genetic methods.

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