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Research Labs


Prof.  Jason Arndt (Department of Psychology)

Human Memory Lab: Our lab examines the mental processes that underlie human memory. Current projects seek to understand the nature of memory errors, the influence of emotion on memory, how taking a test (as opposed to just studying) can improve long term memory, and how social processes influence memory.


Prof. Clinton Cave (Neuroscience Program)

Our lab studies embryonic neurodevelopment at the cellular and molecular level. The vertebrate nervous system develops from an embryonic structure called the neural tube. Progenitor cells within the neural tube must continually divide to produce the neurons and glia needed in the adult nervous system. We investigate these early cell fate decisions using the developing chicken embryo as a model system. Students utilize in-ovo electroporations to manipulate gene expression in neural tube progenitors and measure the developmental consequences using biochemical and histological approaches.


Prof. Marcia Collaer (Department of Psychology)

Spatial Cognition Lab: Our research investigates factors influencing cognitive abilities, particularly spatial skills. Some issues of interest: how do people ‘pay attention’ to their environment, strategies used, the influence of stressors, the role of social influences such as stereotypes, and relationships to hormones.


Prof. Amanda Crocker (Neuroscience Program)

Our lab focuses on understanding the molecular underpinnings of complex behavior. The lab is specifically interested in understanding the physical changes that occur in the brain following different types of physically painful stimuli. Physically painful memories are very often the hardest to forget for many organisms. We use the fruit fly to understand what happens at a molecular level when a painful memory is formed, and to understand how the brain interprets different types of painful stimuli. The lab is also interested in the role that genes play in the diversity of responses to painful stimuli. Pain induced by mechanical stress is one modality that the lab has become very interested in because of its close ties to concussions and traumatic brain injury. Students utilize many techniques including immunohistochemistry, genotyping, RNA isolation, bioinformatics, behavioral assays and fruit fly brain dissections.  


Prof. Kim Cronise (Department of Psychology)

Social/Emotional Regulation Lab:  Our research explores how emotions alter individual and social responses.  We investigate the impact of emotion regulation on endophenotypes of addiction such as impulsivity.  We also explore how emotional carry over effects influence social dynamics and prosociality. Current projects use mindfulness interventions to improve emotion regulation and self-control abilities.  Our studies assess the degree to which enhanced regulatory abilities lead to healthier responding during social-emotional challenges.  Outcome measures include behavior as well as psychophysiology measures such as EEG, hormone analyses, heart rate variability, and skin conductance responses. 


Prof. Mike Dash (Department of Psychology)

Behavioral Neurophysiology Lab: Our lab investigates the effects of spontaneous brain activity on both brain function and brain physiology.  By simultaneously monitoring electrical/chemical indices of brain activity along with behavior, we aim to understand the neurophysiological underpinnings and consequences of fundamental behaviors such as sleep and learning/memory.


Prof. Glen Ernstrom (Department of Biology and Neuroscience)

Molecular Neurobiology Lab: Our lab studies the molecular neurobiology of neurotransmission. Using the genetically tractable model organism the round worm Caenorhabditis elegans we investigate how neurotransmitters are loaded into synaptic vesicles and how synaptic vesicles release neurotransmitters from neurons. Our ultimate goal is to define common mechanisms of neurotransmitter loading and release that can facilitate the design of therapies for human neural disorders.


Prof. Kareem Khalifa (Department of Philosophy)

My research focuses on scientific explanation and understanding. I am currently writing a book that argues that scientific understanding is reducible to explanatory knowledge, and a series of papers challenging the ambitions and semantic assumptions of philosophical analyses of explanation. 


Prof. Matt Kimble (Department of Psychology)

Clinical Psychophysiology Lab: The lab investigates the behavioral, peripheral, and central correlates of anxiety and anxiety disorders using eye tracking, event related potentials, and measures of peripheral autonomic activity.


Prof.  Clarissa Parker (Department of Psychology and Neuroscience)

Behavioral Genetics Lab: Our research examines the genes and neurobiological pathways associated with  stress, anxiety, and substance abuse using mouse models.


Prof. John Spackman (Department of Philosophy)

My current research focuses on the relation between experience and language, and in particular on recent debates about whether perceptual, religious, and aesthetic experience should be viewed as conceptual or non-conceptual. I also have a special research interest in Buddhist philosophy, and in particular on Buddhist perspectives on the relations between mind, language, and reality.


Prof.  Mark Spritzer (Department of Biology)

Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Lab: Our lab focuses on the effects of hormones on spatial memory and underlying neural plasticity. We are particularly interested in the role that adult neurogenesis in the formation of new memories.  We are also examining how sexual interactions and social isolation influence adult neurogenesis and associated cognitive abilities.  To learn more about the Spritzer lab, click here.


Prof.  Bill Waldron (Department of Religion)

My work focuses on classical Indian Buddhist theories of cognition and the role of unconscious mental processes in the construction of perception. It brings these ancient ideas into dialogue with similar perspectives in cognitive science and neuroscience.


Prof. Zu Wei Zhai (Neuroscience Program)

Our lab investigates the development of self-regulation and its neural correlates among at-risk youth, as well as their contribution to substance and behavior addictions by using neurocognitive test batteries, structural and functional MRI, and statistical modeling. We also explore the etiology of substance and behavioral addictions, and other risky behaviors among youth within large epidemiological data. 


Program in Neuroscience

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753