Research is an essential part of a scientific degree. Our faculty collaborates with colleagues locally and abroad to tackle the global challenges facing health, security, and sustainability. Designated an R1 National Research University, our portfolio boasts $87M in funding from grants and industry partners.
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Motor skills such as throwing a ball, eating with knife and fork or dancing are uniquely human and key to functional behavior. Optimizing the acquisition and preventing or reverting the degradation of skill requires a rigorous quantitative understanding. The Action Lab analyzes how human neurophysiology and task mechanics constrains sensorimotor skills and their change. This work has applications for and performance enhancement and recovery after neurological injury.
Dr. Melloni studies the neurobiology of aggressive behavior. The main goal of this research is to understand how drug use and exposure to social stress during adolescence alter brain development and influence aggressive behavior.
Dr. Ayers’ research focus is on the neuroethology of motor systems in invertebrates and lower vertebrates and the application of this knowledge to the development of advanced robots.
Dr. Sikes specializes in the neurophysiology of the cingulate cortex; in particular, the role of cingulate cortex in pain sensation. Research has included pathway investigation to understand pain information transmission, and now focuses on contrasting the effects of somatic and visceral noxious stimulation on cingulate neuron activity.
The primary focus of Dr. Jackson’s research is on how exposure to cocaine (and other psychostimulants including methamphetamine) during pregnancy affects neuronal interactions in the fetus throughout development. We utilize neurochemical and behavioral strategies to assess alterations in brain areas modulating motor function and reward throughout development.