Laboratory faciltiies

A broad spectrum of equipment housed in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Program laboratories enhances graduate training and research.

General-purpose equipment such as oscilloscopes, infusion pumps, analytical balances, and many computers equipped with software packages for word processing, statistical analysis of data, and graphical representation of data are available to students. Surgical laboratories include stereotaxic instruments, autoclaves, electrolytic and radiofrequency lesion makers, and equipment for producing neurotoxic lesions. Histology laboratories are equipped with cryostats, freezing microtomes, compound microscopes, and computer-based imaging equipment for the three-dimensional analyses of individual neurons or brain sections. Behavioral laboratories are equipped to conduct a variety of experiments.

Specialized laboratories

Behavioral Pharmacology and Toxicology Laboratory

Dr. Scott Bowen

Located in the Biological Sciences building, the Behavioral Pharmacology and Toxicology Laboratory houses the research program studying the behavioral and neurological underpinnings of drug abuse. We incorporate a number of behavioral and neurological methods for data collection including operant chambers, activity monitors, various mazes (Morris, Plus, Radial, etc.), and motor function tests. In combination with histological, neurochemical and molecular equipment, we are investigating the neurobehavioral mechanisms underlying drug tolerance and dependence as well as the developmental effects of prenatal inhalant exposure.

Brain Connectivity and Aging Laboratory

Dr. Jessica Damoiseaux

The main focus of the lab is to investigate age-related changes in brain function, brain structure and cognition. The aim is to better understand normal age-related brain changes and to detect early signs of abnormal aging, such as Alzheimer's disease. The techniques used to study brain changes, in particular the changes in connections between brain regions (brain connectivity), are resting-state functional MRI and diffusion imaging. The lab is located in the Knapp building, in the Institute of Gerontology, and we use the MRI facilities at Harper Hospital to collect our brain imaging data.

Cognitive and Brain Development Lab

Dr. Noa Ofen

Located in the Knapp Building, in the Institute of Gerontology, the Cognitive and Brain Development Laboratory houses the research program studying neural underpinnings of cognitive and brain development. We incorporate behavioral and neuroimaging methods and are using the MRI research facilities at Harper Hospital for data collection. We also collaborate with the Department of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at Wayne State School of Medicine and other national and international collaborators.

Concepts and Cognition Lab

Dr. Lara Jones

The major focus of research in our lab, which is located in the Simons Bldg., is on relational representation in language. Specifically, we use a variety of computerized and paper/pencil tasks to investigate the underlying processes of inferring relations between concepts (e.g., an island house is a house located on an island). We investigate the processing of this relational information in lexical priming and verbal analogy tasks.

Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging Lab

Dr. Naftali Raz

Located in the Skillman Building, next to the Institute of Gerontology, Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging Laboratory houses the research program dedicated to the exploration of neural underpinnings of cognitive aging, as well as its positive and negative modifiers. Currently, we are engaged in the following projects funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging: A longitudinal study of differential age-related changes in brain structure, longitudinal predictors of episodic memory, age-related differences in executive functions and their neural correlates, hypertension as a modifier of cognitive and brain aging. For non-invasive brain imaging we use MRI facilities at Harper Hospital and Children's Hospital of Michigan, the affiliates of Wayne State University. We also collaborate with the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) on a study of protective effects of exercise and aerobic fitness on the aging brain and cognition.

Developmental Psychobiology Laboratory

Dr. Susanne Brummelte

The main focus of research in the lab is on the effects of early adverse life experiences on brain development and the subsequent behavioral outcome. The lab is located in the Biological Sciences Building and equipped with behavioral testing apparatuses for rodents as well as histological, neurochemical and molecular equipment to investigate the effects of early stress such as prenatal anti-depressant exposure on the maturation of the nervous system of male and female offspring.

Healthy Brain Aging Lab

Dr. Ana Daugherty

Located in the Integrative Biosciences (IBio) building, the Healthy Brain Aging Laboratory studies metabolic and vascular health factors that shape neural and cognitive changes across the lifespan. We use advanced noninvasive neuroimaging techniques, cognitive assessment, physiological markers and genetics to evaluate individual differences in the course of aging, including both risk (e.g., metabolic syndrome) and protective (e.g., aerobic exercise) health factors.

Neurobiology of Emotion Laboratory

Dr. George Borszcz

The neural mechanisms that underlie emotion and studied using specialized audio equipment for the analysis of animal vocalizations, computer-controlled brain stimulators, and electrophysiological equipment for recording multiple- or single-unit neural activity from the brain. Changes in brain chemistry associated with emotional states are studied using in vivo microdialysis and high-performance liquid chromatography.