University of Arkansas Showcases Neuroscience Research
Nasya Sturdivant, a biomedical engineering doctoral student, explains her research to Chancellor Joe Steinmetz at the neuroscience research showcase.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said Tuesday at a showcase of the University of Arkansas’ brain and neuroscience research that future advancements in finding out how the brain works will rely on interdisciplinary collaboration.
“When I started as a faculty member at Indiana University in the 1980s I basically worked alone,” Steinmetz said. “The brain is even more complicated than we imagined it would be 30 years ago. There are so many levels of neuroscience analysis that requires people to collaborate on all levels. I’m excited that the University of Arkansas is positioned well for neuroscience collaboration.”
Steinmetz, an accomplished neuroscientist, spoke to an estimated crowd of 75 faculty, students and staff who attended the showcase at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House.
“This showcase is near and dear to my heart and it’s nice to see so many people here,” Steinmetz said. “It shows there is truly a real interest in neuroscience research on this campus. It’s a thrill to see this kind of work.”
Researchers presented their results in areas ranging from architecture to exercise science and psychological science. Some of the projects included:
- A blood-brain barrier “organ-on-chip” system that will be used as a platform to develop drugs to treat blood-brain barrier dysfunction following traumatic brain injury, from the Mechanobiology and Soft Materials Laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
- Examination of short-term plasticity within human visual and motor systems, from faculty and students in the Cortical Dynamics Laboratory in the Department of Psychological Science.
- Collaborative research focusing on mapping spatial perceptions using knowledge from neuroscience, occupational therapy and architecture to understand how people ‘see’ their environments, from an interdisciplinary team led by Winifred E. Newman, chair of the Department of Architecture.
- Examination of the recovery outcomes between athletes who were and were not removed from play following a concussion, from the Office for Sport Concussion Research in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation.
- Neuroimaging approaches to music and enculturation, from the Music Cognition Lab in the Department of Music.
Steinmetz noted several projects involve undergraduate students.
“Participation in undergraduate research can be life-changing,” he said. “Over the time I had an active research lab I must have had at least 200 undergraduates. Watching the passion in those individuals that were lifted by that experience … they got exposure to what scientific research is all about. Students are the next-generation of scientists. We always have to remember that.”
The university’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development hosted the showcase. The office has hosted similar events in the areas of cybersecurity and health.
“We are looking for more ways for our faculty from different areas on campus to collaborate on research projects,” said Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development. “Events like this are our version of the water cooler, where great ideas happen.”
Faculty, staff and students who presented posters at the event were:
- Simon Ang, professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, College of Engineering
- Kartik Balachandran, assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
- R.J. Elbin, assistant professor, Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation; College of Education and Health Professions
- Timothy Evans, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
- Ingrid Fritsch, professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Fulbright College
- Stephanie Long, senior, Department of Psychological Science, Fulbright College
- Matthew Gannon, doctoral student, Department of Psychological Science, Fulbright College
- Shree Gautam, postdoctoral research associate, Department of Physics, Fulbright College
- Navam S. Hettiarachchy, University Professor, Department of Food Science, Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences
- Hanna Jensen, research assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
- Morten Jensen, associate professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
- Wayne J. Kuenzel, professor, Department of Poultry Science, Bumpers College
- James Lampinen, Department of Psychological Science, Fulbright College
- Elizabeth Margulis, Department of Music, Fulbright College
- Winifred E. Newman, professor and chair, Department of Architecture, Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
- Nathan A. Parks, assistant professor, Department of Psychological Science, Fulbright College
- Shannon Servoss, associate professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
- Woodrow Shew, assistant professor, Department of Physics, Fulbright College
- Julie Stenken, professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Fulbright College
- Nasya Sturdivant, doctoral student, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
- Jeffrey Wolchok, assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
- Research & Innovation
- Academic Affairs
- Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
- Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences
- College of Education and Health Professions
- College of Engineering
- J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences
Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor
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