Cognitive Aging Laboratory (Marsiske)

Dr. Marsiske's research has four major foci: (a) older adults' everyday problem solving abilities and their relationship to basic cognitive and intellectual performance
(b) modifiability of older adults' cognitive performance due to training interventions and practice; (c) understanding short-term variability and fluctuation in elders' cognition, and its relationship to cognitive status and other time-varying predictors; and (d) understanding the inter-relationship of sensorimotor and cognitive function in later life, with a particular focus on balance and locomotion.

 

Memory & Dementia Laboratory (Bauer)

Clinical and theoretical issues in acquired and age-related memory and perceptual disorders dominate the relational memory laboratory. Current studies focus on the role of the hippocampus and other memory-related structures in relational and spatial memory, and on preclinical detection of individuals at risk for developing Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia. This research involves applying a "comparative neuropsychology" model that attempts to adapt well-defined and validated animal paradigms to the study of human neuropsychology. Current examples include a computer-based version of the Morris Water Maze (to study spatial navigation) and ordered memory paradigms (to study sequential and relational memory). Current research projects incorporate structural neuroimaging and 1H Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to relate behavioral data to underlying brain function. We currently have studies underway using normal aging populations, populations at risk for developing dementia, temporal lobe epilepsy, and other medical-surgical groups. An additional research interest concerns educational and training applications of recent findings in the neuroscience of learning and memory.

 

Cognitive Neuroscience Emotion Laboratory (Bowers)

A major emphasis within the Cognitive Neuroscience is the neuropsychology of emotion, with specific focus on limbic, basal ganglia, and cortical systems. We use a variety of contemporary methodologies (face digitizing, TMS, imaging, psychophysiology) to address theoretically driven questions about the neural basis of cognitive and emotional behavior in patients with specific neurologic diseases (Parkinson's, Temporal Lobe epilepsy, MCI). A second focus is to develop clinically useful tools for detecting changes in emotional cognition. Current projects include: (a) emotional and cognitive changes associated with Parkinson's disease and its treatment (including DBS); (b) emotional memory, psychophysiology, and MRI correlates of rate of forgetting in normal elderly and those with MCI/early AD; (c) laterality of intra-individual mood variability and stress reactivity (cortisol, startle) in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy; and (d) the use of novel computer imaging techniques to evaluate dynamic expressions of facial emotion. We have recently started a NINDS sponsored clinical trial for treating facial inexpressivity in Parkinson's disease. The Cognitive Neuroscience Lab is located in the McKnight Brain Institute, immediately adjacent to the Movement Disorders Center and the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program. For other information about the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, go to: www.phhp.ufl.edu/cogneuro

 

Language, Neuroimaging & Rehabilitation Laboratory (Crosson, Conway)

(Coming soon)

 

POCD, Neuroimaging, and Intervention Laboratory (Price)

Dr. Price's research focuses on the biobehavioral, neuroanatomical, and cognitive changes associated with pathological aging, with special emphasis on subcortical vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease. One goal is to understand, from a biological and neuroanatomical view, why certain older adults are at greater risk for cognitive decline after invasive surgical procedures (post-operative cognitive dysfunction; POCD). Relatedly, which interventional techniques may be most appropriate for reducing or allaying cognitive decline in those with mild memory impairments. Current projects include: (a) examining the predictive value of diffusion tensor imaging, hippocampal proton spectroscopy, and volumetric structural imaging on post-operative cognitive decline; (b) investigating the influence of anesthetic type on biochemical stress responses in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease; (c) understanding the role of white matter abnormalities (i.e., Leukoaraiosis) on the clinical presentation of Alzheimer's disease (d) the development and implementation of cognitive strategies for improving function after surgery.

 

Pediatric Neuropsychology Laboratory (Fennell)

Over the years, since her graduate school days, Dr. Fennell has maintained an interest in learning disabilities (the topic of her dissertation), in human laterality studies and in children's medical disorders that affect neuropsychological functions. She has published papers and chapters in neuropsychological assessment, in renal disorders, in childhood epilepsy, in pediatric brain tumors and other cancers affecting the CNS (e.g. leukemia) and in studies of brain and language lateralization determined during Wada testing for epilepsy. More recently, she has collaborated on studies of traumatic brain injuries in children, ADHD and sleep disorders in children with chronic epilepsy.

 

Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory (Perlstein)

Dr. Perlstein's research focuses on understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms of normal (including aging) and abnormal (schizophrenia, anxiety and affective disorders, traumatic brain injury) information processing using theoretically-motivated cognitive tasks and indices of brain activity (functional magnetic resonance imaging, high-density electroencephalography/event-related potentials). This research draws from the theoretical spectrum of clinical and cognitive psychology and psychiatry to emotion neuroscience-i.e., clinical-cognitive neuroscience-and employs empirical methods from clinical and cognitive psychology, experimental neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience and medical imaging.

 

Child Attention & Memory Laboratory (Heaton)

Dr. Heaton has several research interests including pediatric neuropsychology, childhood traumatic brain injury, attention, memory, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and demographic factors affecting test performance. She is currently involved with several studies. One is entitled, "Predicting Memory Disorders from Attentional Dysfunction in Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury," and is funded by the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust Fund (BSCIRTF). The second is "Effects of Methylphenidate on Attention, Memory and Emotion in Children with ADHD: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study" and is funded by the Department of Pediatrics at UF. Dr. Heaton is also the principal investigator on a third study, entitled "Evaluating Attentional Skills in Children Using the Test of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA-Ch)." The study is funded by the Center for Pediatric Psychology and Family Studies at UF and investigates the clinical utility of the TEA-Ch for assessing attentional problems in ADHD in children.