Research Laboratory Descriptions:
|Dr. Kara Bopp
Influence of Aging on Memory and Attention
Dr. Bopp's research focuses the intersection of cognition and development. Her research purpose is two-fold: 1) to understand the impact of aging on memory and attention, and 2) to understand and define various types of cognitive processes. Her current research examines working memory, a process that allows the simultaneous storage and processing of information. This is the process used if you were asked to remember a list of numbers and then repeat them in backwards order. Working memory may be responsible for many of the age-related changes in cognition. It is necessary for many everyday tasks such as reading, calculating a tip, and driving a car. Dr. Bopp is always looking for interested student researchers and volunteer participants for her experiments.
Dr. G.R. Davis
Influences of Hunger, Satiety, and Binging on Feeding Behavior
Dr. Davis typically conducts research during the spring semester. His research has focused on the variables that influence sensory-specific satiety and development of an animal model to study binge eating in rats. Specific research questions include:
- How is the intake of a highly palatable sweet food (Froot Loops ®; FL) affected by limiting the access to that food and combining that limited access with stress?
- What condition(s) trigger episodes of binge eating in laboratory rats?
- How does stress affect food intake in laboratory rats?
|Dr. Stacey Hettes
Neurobiology of Feeding Behavior
Dr. Hettes typically conducts research during the fall semester. Her research focuses on understanding the central nervous systems areas that regulate feeding behavior such as the nuclei of the hypothalamus and the nucleus of accumbens. Using cannulas placed into specific CNS nuclei, agonists and antagonists of specific neurotransmitters can be infused while the feeding behavior of rats is measured in order to understand the role of endogenous systems governing feeding.
Dr. John Moeller
Behavior and Sensory Neurobiology of Ants, Bees, and Wasps
Dr. Moeller is investigating the behavior of organisms in the insect order Hymenoptera. Current studies are focused in two areas: 1) behaviors associated with the auditory signals of the wingless wasps commonly known as velvet ants, and 2) the collective adaptation in nesting behaviors of harvester ants. He is also interested in the underlying sensory systems that influence the above behaviors. Several approaches are used to understand some of the above phenomenon, including observations of unrestricted behaviors of velvet ants in the field and direct examination of anatomical and physiological mechanisms that form the basis of expressed behaviors, such as velvet ant stridulation.
Dr. Dave Pittman
Detection of Fat Taste & Influence of Anti-Anxiety Drugs on Taste & Ingestion
Dr. Pittman's research focuses on understanding how information transmitted from the mouth to the brain provides a neural code to guide ingestive behavior. There are two ongoing research programs in the laboratory: 1) characterizing the ability of fatty acids found in dietary fat to activate the taste system and influence ingestive behavior in rats; 2) understanding the ability of anti-anxiety drugs, benzodiazepines, to influence taste-mediated behavior. Experiments in the laboratory are divided into two classes of methodology: 1) behavioral methods using high resolution microanalysis of rats licking responses to various taste stimuli with specialized testing equipment; 2) nerve recording methods using electrophysiological measurements of the afferent taste signals sent from the mouth to the brain when taste stimuli are applied to the tongue of a rat. There are always opportunities for students to become involved in a research project in Dr. Pittman's laboratory!
Dr. Alliston Reid
Basic Mechanisms of Learning and Memory
Dr. Reid's research interests lie in the basic mechanisms of learning and memory across species. His research often focuses on the rules of integration of responding and environmental cues to produce adaptive patterns of behavior. His approach to these topics involves the experimental analysis of behavior with rats, pigeons, and humans, along with mathematical modeling and computer simulation of these basic processes. Dr. Reid is always interested in having students involved in all aspects of this research and frequently students are coauthors of published papers and conference presentations.
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