Sutdents in the REU spend most of the summer working on research projects in labs that use neuroimaging to address questions in cognitive neuroscience. Many top labs that use cutting-edge methods host students, including the ones listed here:
Stephanie Carlson’s laboratory examines young children's cognitive development, focusing on executive function (related to self-control), language, and theory of mind They design and test measures of these skills and assess their co-development in children ages 2-5, using neuroimaging, behavioral, and cross-cultural methods. She typically has several undergraduate research assistants working in the lab, and publishes frequently with undergraduate authors.
Colin DeYoung investigates the structure and sources of personality, including cognitive abilities and risk for psychopathology, using both psychometric and neuroimaging methods. Dr. Deyoung’s lab typically has about 4 undergraduate research assistants per semester. One student was recently an author on a conference presentation.
Steve Engel's lab studies vision and cognition by combining measurements of behavior with neural measurements made using functional MRI. A main topic currently under investigation is visual plasticity—how cortex can change with experience. Within this domain the lab is examining effects of altered environments, perceptual training, and visual expertise
Sheng He’s research program explores the neural basis of human vision, visual attention, and visual awareness. Both psychophysical and neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG) methods are used in these studies. He has 1-2 undergraduates working in his lab during a typical semester.
Yuhong Jiang’s laboratory investigates human attention, learning, and memory functions in adults, typically developing children, and children with autism spectrum disorders. The lab’s research combines classical behavioral measures from cognitive psychology with neuroimaging techniques. Dr. Jiang typically has about 4 undergraduate RAs per semester in the lab. In the past 3 years she has 8 peer-reviewed publications with undergraduate co-authors.
Kendrick Kay’s lab aims to understand how the human brain represents, and makes decisions about visual images. The lab uses a combined experimental and computational approach that seeks to develop models that characterize the stimulus transformations performed by the brain. The primary measurement technique is functional magnetic resonance imaging Dr. Kay typically has two undergraduates working in his laboratory.
Daniel Kersten conducts research that seeks to understand visual perception as a process of statistical inference by which the brain transforms high-dimensional, ambiguous image data, into reliable estimates of object properties, such as size and shape. His lab uses both neuroimaging and psychophysical methods. He averages two undergraduates per semester in his laboratory and has two poster presentations at major conferences with undergraduates in the last 3 years.
Wilma Koutstaal uses multiple methods in Cognitive Neuroscience to investigate how the human mind innovates and creates using past and present knowledge, how one can enhance learning, and how mental agility can be promoted across the lifespan. In an average semester, there are about 12 undergraduates working in her lab, and in the last three years, two students have appeared on conference posters, and one has coauthored a published paper.
Kelvin Lim's research interest is the use of innovative magnetic resonance imaging techniques to study brain disorders. His primary focus has been the use of multiple modalities available with magnetic resonance to characterize the brain in schizophrenia, aging, traumatic brain injury and cocaine dependence. He has one undergraduate working in his lab in a typical semester, and has two publications with undergraduate authors in the last 3 years. In 2014, he won the UMN Clinical and Translational Science Institute Mentor of the Year award.
Monica Luciana investigates brain/behavior relationships in adults and children, focusing on the neurobiology of behaviors that are mediated by the brain's prefrontal cortex, including working memory, planning, and emotional control/reward processing. She studies both normal and clinical populations using neuroimaging and behavioral evaluations. She averages 3 undergraduates in her lab per semester and has published one paper with an undergrad co-author in the last 3 years.
Cheryl Olman's lab uses a combination of visual psychophysics and fMRI, to determine how detection of local image features interacts with scene perception. How are local features in an image selected and grouped to construct a mental representation of a scene or object? The lab also investigates the linkage between what BOLD fMRI measures (changes in blood oxygenation) and what we want to know (the underlying neural activity). Are excitation and inhibition always balanced, or can inhibition drive the BOLD response as well as excitation? How do spatial characteristics of vascular regulation distort our view of spatially distributed neural activity?
Andrew Oxenham runs the auditory perception and cognition lab, that investigates how the ear and brain work together to interpret the complex array of acoustic information (e.g., speech, music, and environmental sounds) that we encounter in everyday life. The basic science that the lab performs has many practical applications in fields such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and automatic speech recognition. Psychophysics, EEG, and fMRI are tools of choice for these investigations. The lab averages 4-5 undergraduate research assistants per semester, and has two papers published with undergraduate authors in the last 3 years.
Kathleen Thomas’ research interests lie in the development and neurobiological correlates of attention, learning, and memory functions during childhood and adolescence. Her current projects address the impact of specific life experiences on brain development and cognitive development, using neuroimaging techniques and behavioral assays. She is a graduate of an REU program herself, and 11 different undergraduates have been authors on 15 posters and/or papers from her lab in the past 3 years.