Neural basis of attention, cognition, and cognitive control in healthy and impaired individuals; clinical neurophysiology; clinical and experimental neuropsycholgy
My research is in the area of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience with particular interest in the neurophysiological basis of cognitive functioning, intellectual abilities, and attention in healthy and impaired individuals. Animal models have been studied. The major current methodological approach used in the Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurosciences, which I direct, is dense electrode electrophysiology, mainly event-related brain potentials (ERPs), to study cognitive processes such as working memory and cognitive control (executive function). Electrophysiological measures are often used in combination with MRI, neuropsychological, and behavioral measures. Recent work with clinical populations has focused on cognitive disturbances in autoimmune disorders such Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Multiple Sclerosis. Currently we are examining the efficacy of cognitive training in patients with Multiple Sclerosis and the effects of cognitive training on brain function. Other current research has been directed at brain mechanisms of cognitive control such as conflict resolution and response inhibition and how cognitive control mechanisms are disrupted by traumatic events and symptoms of PTSD in police officers and in civilian controls. We are also examining the ability of photobiomodulation treatment (low level laser therapy) to improve cognitive and brain functioning in individuals with traumatic brain injury. Both electrophysiology and neuropsychology are used to determine the effect of treatment on cognitive functioning in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients. The development of novel electrophysiological markers of neural efficiency and cognitive function via state-of-the art dense electrophysiological techniques is an overriding focus of the research as we address theoretical questions pertaining to cognitive neuroscience. In general, the research takes a systems approach to understanding cognitive functioning. Individual differences in behavior and brain function are a significant orientation of our studies.