Position title: Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Phone: (608) 265-6451
M.S. in Motor Behavior, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
I initially studied the neural mechanisms underlying the integration of sensory information from different modalities and the transformation of such information into motor commands; in particular, those that generate and control the coordinated movements of the eyes and head to the sources of auditory stimuli. Subsequently, I transitioned to studying the neural mechanisms underlying decision making and how they are affected by psychostimulants (e.g., methylphenidate; Ritalin), which are extensively used to treat children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
More recently, I have incorporated a new line of work concerned with the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the effects of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) on higher order cognitive function, a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Through the development of this project in our awake/behaving non–human primate preparation it became clear that some of the most interesting and potentially useful effects of VNS for clinical use were at the other end of the vagus nerve, in the gut.
Research Key Words:
Sensorimotor Integration, Decision Making, Effects of Psychostimulants on the CNS, Underlying Effects of VNS