NSF Award Abstract

Neuroimaging is the most commonly used laboratory tool in in Cognitive Neuroscience, helping to unify the field and drive research progress. Undergraduate training in neuroimaging, however, has lagged because of its high cost and relatively technical nature. This in turn has made it difficult for researchers to identify and recruit students into their Cognitive Neuroscience laboratories that use neuroimaging, while also placing a large training burden upon them. The goal of the proposed program is to overcome the training gap in neuroimaging for cognitive neuroscience. Over the course of a 10-week summer program undergraduate students will gain both detailed knowledge of neuroimaging methods and intensive experience using them in a research project. A 2-week imaging boot camp will give trainees facility with fMRI and EEG imaging modalities. Students will then conduct individual 8-week imaging-based research projects within top Cognitive Neuroscience labs. Twice weekly seminars will cover topics such as research ethics, scientific writing, crafting graduate school applications, and how to navigate laboratory structure, as well as the content of the field. Additional group activities will form a bonded cohort of trainees with common interests in neuroimaging. The research projects in which trainees will participate will collectively drive the field forward, rigorously testing key hypotheses with state-of-the-art methods. The participating laboratories have well-documented track records of such research. The labs span three subdomains in the field, perception, cognition, and clinical applications, and examples of topics under investigation range from techniques to enhance memory and creativity, to factors that underlie drug addiction in teenagers, to interventions to aid speech comprehension in people with hearing loss.