Faculty Spotlight: Joseph Bergan

Research Area: Behavioral Neuroscience; Faculty page

Joseph Bergan grew up in northern Minnesota—a setting that naturally fostered an interest in the natural world. Early interests in medicine, geology, and mathematics gave way to neuroscience during his first year at Macalester College. “Neuroscience has the questions that interest me most in science. You are studying how the brain works, how we interact and perceive the world. How we behave, feel, and think. Those questions are really interesting to me. It is a privilege to get to study these questions and introduce students to these concepts for a living.” says Bergan.

Visit to the CoDeNeuro Lab

How do foundational perceptual and cognitive abilities interact with developmental experience to give rise to full-fledged uniquely human knowledge?

The Cognitive and Developmental Neuroscience (CoDeNeuro) Lab studies human cognition and cognitive development using behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI and EEG) measures in children, adolescents, and adults. They focus on understanding the developmental mechanisms and neural underpinnings of culturally transmitted, uniquely human cognitive domains such as reading and mathematics.

The ultimate goal of their research is to advance our theoretical understanding of the nature of human knowledge and to help develop new pedagogical approaches for improving an important academic skillset for the next generations.

PBS Welcomes Adam Grabell

Research Area: Clinical Psychology; Faculty page

What is the focus of your current research?

The question that my research focuses on is: “How does emotion regulation work in early childhood and what are the parts of this system that contribute to the most common forms of emerging psychopathology?”

PBS Welcomes Marcela Fernandez-Peters

Research Area: Behavioral Neuroscience; Faculty page

Originally from Costa Rica, Marcela Fernandez-Peters was inspired by the great diversity of wildlife that exists there. She developed a desire to learn about the different adaptations and behaviors of native animals. After majoring in Biology at the Universidad de Costa Rica, she began to concentrate on the world of animal communication.

PBS Welcomes Holly Laws

Research Area: Clinical Psychology; Faculty page

Holly Laws, Lecturer and Research Methodologist, developed a significant interest in social justice work after graduating from Wesleyan University. She spent time performing service through Habitat for Humanity and working with educational reform non-profits in New York. She worked on research teams, handling qualitative interviews and finding out more about the relationships between children, their families and schools.

Rebecca Spencer Receives $2.64 Million from NIH for Preschooler Sleep Study

Neuroscientist Rebecca Spencer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently received a five-year, $2.64 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore, in a series of laboratory and preschool-based studies, whether mid-day napping benefits learning in young children and helps them cope with emotions.

Rosie Cowell and David Huber receive $2.36 million grant to develop a new brain research tool

Rosie Cowell and David Huber, neuroscientists in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, have been awarded a $2.36 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a mathematical model of the blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signal used in fMRI. Researchers from UC San Diego and MIT will also collaborate on the project. Funding comes as part of the BRAIN initiative, striving to create new technologies that will enhance our understanding of the human brain. This research project seeks to bridge across different scales of neurobiological mechanism.