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Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience

Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience (MS / PhD) Overview

The Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience (CMN) theme strives to advance scientific understanding of the psychological, mechanical, and neural mechanisms underlying skilled human behaviors. We research how these mechanisms are influenced by changes across the life-span (development and aging), changes due to practice (learning and memory processes), or changes following pathology (neurodegenerative disease, athletic injuries, amputation) and rehabilitation.

Research Pillars

Learning and Memory

We investigate the role of perceptual, cognitive, and motor processes critical for the various stages along the learning and memory timeline (e.g., initial encoding, sleep-related consolidation, long-term retention, expertise). Understanding how these processes interact has significant implications for the training and development of domain-specific expertise across professional domains.

Biomechanics and Neural Control

We integrate concepts from biomechanics and neurophysiology to understand how sophisticated movement emerges from the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Our research pillar focuses on how these systems interact to control movement relevant to activities of daily living (e.g., walking, running, standing), as well as navigating in uncertain environments (e.g., locomotion in unstable surfaces or in visually perturbing fields). These concepts are applied towards solutions aimed at improving mobility outcomes, including assistive technology such as prosthetics, orthotics, exoskeletons and shoes.

Injury and Rehabilitation

Following injury, or as the result of mobility-affecting conditions (e.g., traumatic brain injuries, neurodegenerative disease, amputation, etc), our capability for even basic movements can be compromised. Our goal is to understand how anatomical, physiological, and psychological variables interact to affect recovery and rehabilitation, whether this is a return to participation in the activities of daily living or a return to play in sport. 

Brain-Behavior Mapping

We adopt a multimodal neuro-imaging and -modulatory approach to examine the neural underpinnings of various motor behaviors. We employ electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including functional and anatomical MRI as well as magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Brain areas and networks of interest can be modulated via non-invasive brain stimulation approaches such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

 

Research Facilities

Students in the CMN theme will have access to state-of-the-art facilities that bridge research themes within the Department of Health & Kinesiology.  Our CMN theme is housed within the brand new College of Health Research Center to conduct cutting-edge research in the areas of biomechanics, motor control, cognitive neuroscience, exercise and circadian physiology and nutrition. Outside of the College of Health, CMN members also utilize motion capture lab spaces in the Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital as well as the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suite located in the Imaging and Neurosciences Center in nearby Research Park.

 

MS Thesis Program Details

You will have a primary mentor but also be supported by all of the faculty in the Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience Research Theme.  You will complete a 36 hour program of study along with your thesis.  Your courses will emphasize content area knowledge, research methods and statistics, seminar experiences with your mentors, and the completion of your thesis.  Your completed thesis will be in manuscript form and submitted to a journal upon completion. 

Required for this Program

  1. BS in Kinesiology or a related field
  2. Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  3. The GRE requirement has been suspended.  You do not need to submit your scores during the application process.

PhD Program Details

You will have a primary mentor but also be supported by all of the faculty in the Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience Research Theme.  You will complete a 67 hour program of study along with your dissertation.  Your courses will emphasize content area knowledge, research methods and statistics, specialized content knowledge, seminar experiences with your mentors, and the completion of your dissertation.  Your dissertation will consist of multiple manuscripts. 

Required for this Program

  1. Students entering the PhD program must have a demonstrated capacity for independent research. This capacity is most commonly demonstrated through completion of a master’s thesis. However, other experiences, such as, but not limited to, intensive undergraduate research experience, industry experience, clinical research or practice, or experience presenting or publishing research can be examples of a capacity for independent research. Students with a bachelor’s degree who wish to enroll in the PhD program are encouraged to speak with a prospective mentor about their suitability for the PhD program. 
  2. Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher 
  3. The GRE requirement has been suspended.  You do not need to submit your scores during the application process.

 

Our Team

Core Faculty

  1. Peter Fino, PhD 
  2. Mukta Joshi, MS
  3. Genevieve Albouy, PhD
  4. Bradley King, PhD
  5. Kota Takahashi, PhD

Postdocs

  1. Jenna Burnett, PhD
  2. Daniel Davis, PhD
  3. Cecilia Monoli, PhD

Graduate Students

  1. Jose Anguiano-Hernandez
  2. Breanna Dumke
  3. Paula Kramer Rodrigo
  4. Christopher Long
  5. Naira Saulle Araujo
  6. Ainsley Temudo
  7. Anke VanRoy
  8. Abigail White

Contact Us

  • Co-Directors of Graduate Studies

    Julie Lucero, PhD

    Genevieve Albouy, PhD

     

    Program Manager

    Andrea Moss

    Email

     

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Graduate Resources