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Neuroscience Research Labs

Each neuroscience professor mentors an undergraduate research group of beginners and more advanced students during the year and the summerEach neuroscience professor mentors an undergraduate research group of beginners and more advanced students during the year and the summer

Neuroscience faculty pursue research programs in biology, psychology and philosophy that are designed to engage students as research scholars. Faculty and student researchers collaborate closely to contribute to the process of discovery and advancement of knowledge. 

Below are descriptions of each faculty lab. Interested students should individually contact the faculty member.

Professor Shubhik DebBurman, Biology

“I am fascinated with how cells manipulate protein shapes. Proteins are the most diverse class of molecules in our cells and their unique functions and shapes hold the secrets of life. If proteins still misfold, they are targeted for destruction to preserve cellular health. But some misfolded proteins that such escape quality control, build up in tissues and cause tragic incurable diseases. I collaborate with undergraduates to investigate the protein folding mysteries underlying one such illness: Parkinson’s Disease, which is caused by the misfolding of protein, alpha-synuclein. My students are seeking to understand how alpha-synuclein misfolding and problems with its clearance causes cell death by using innovative experimental model systems: budding and fission yeasts. Students interested in joining my lab can contact me at debburman@lakeforest.edu.”
DebBurman Lab website

Professor Sergio Guglielmi, Psychology

“I am a clinical psychologist and my research interests generally focus on: (a) the physiological correlates of emotional states (e.g., bodily changes associated with prejudiced attitudes), (b) behavioral and cognitive-behavioral interventions for anxiety disorders, and more generally (c) the relationship between psychological variables (emotion, behavior) and medical outcomes (e.g., health consequences of stress and burnout in teachers). More recently, my research has focused on the application of structural equation modeling techniques (particularly latent growth curve modeling) to the examination of important educational issues. Currently, I am investigating the validity of key assumptions of bilingual education theory in order to determine whether this is an effective strategy for educating students whose native language is not English. Students interested in joining my lab can contact me at guglielm@lakeforest.edu.”

Professor Anne E. Houde, Biology

“I study behavioral ecology and the evolution of behavior, focusing on sexual behavior and mate choice. Currently, I am studying the effects of social and environmental factors on the sexual behavior of guppies. I am especially interested in how mate choice by females contributes to polymorphism in male color patterns. Our lab has demonstrated that female guppies are more attracted to males with unique color patterns than those with common color patterns.  We are now focusing on behavioral mechanisms for females’ apparent preferences for unique color morphs and on their general attraction to novel males. Students interested in joining my lab can contact me at houde@lakeforest.edu.”
Professor Houde’s website

Professor Matthew R. Kelley, Psychology

“I am interested in discovering the general principles that govern human memory over the short- and long-term.  Presently, I am exploring a variety of counterintuitive memory phenomena, such as collaborative inhibition (memory impairment when recalling with a partner), hypermnesia (memory improvement with the passage of time), part-set cuing (memory impairment with hints), and the generation effect for lyrical censorship (enhanced memory for unheard relative to heard information).  Students interested in joining my lab can contact me at kelley@lakeforest.edu.”
Professor Kelley’s lab website

Professor Douglas B. Light

“I study animal physiology (adaptations to maintain homeostasis), mainly focusing on membrane transport mechanisms and signal transduction processes at the cellular level.  Currently, I am investigating the physiological basis by which cells regulate their volume using vertebrate red blood cells as a model system.  Although the ability of cells to regulate their volume is one of the oldest regulatory mechanisms from an evolutionary standpoint, little is known about the processes that underlie this widespread phenomenon.  To elucidate this topic, students in my lab incorporate several complementary experimental approaches: hemolysis experiments to examine osmotic fragility, electronic sizing to determine cell volume, and fluorescence microscopy to monitor levels of intracellular calcium.  Students interested in doing a research project or independent study can contact me at light@lakeforest.edu.”
Professor Light’s website

Professor Jean-Marie Maddux

“I am interested in basic mechanisms of associative learning, and the brain regions and circuits that subserve learned behavior. Environmental stimuli that signal salient motivational events, such as food or drugs, can acquire powerful control over behavior through Pavlovian conditioning. Broad goals of my research are to consider the role of learning processes that function in addiction, to identify candidate brain areas that allow for this learning to happen, and to investigate neurotransmitter systems that are involved in this learning and its behavioral output (performance). I am particularly interested in contrasting reward related learning for natural rewards (e.g., food or sucrose) vs. drug rewards (e.g, alcohol), and in cholinergic and dopaminergic systems. One line of my current research examines the effect of nicotine, a cholinergic agonist and the main active ingredient in tobacco, on alcohol-seeking behaviors triggered by Pavlovian alcohol cues. Another line of work explores the incentive salience of both Pavlovian alcohol cues and sucrose cues. I use a variety of methods in my research, including behavioral, pharmacological, and neuroanatomical techniques, conducted with rat subjects. Students interested in joining my lab can contact me at maddux@lakeforest.edu. I will be joining the Lake Forest faculty in January 2016.”
Professor Maddux’s website

Professor Naomi Wentworth, Psychology

“I study the development of voluntary behavioral control, mostly in infants and young children.  I am particularly interested in the processes that allow us to regulate our behavior so that we can make the correct, though less automatic response, rather than the habitual, though incorrect response.  In other words, students in my lab study the origins and development of self-control.  In our current studies, we collect eye movement and brain wave data from infants and young children as they perform various visual-spatial tasks in which two response tendencies compete.  Students interested in joining my research lab can contact me at wentwort@lakeforest.edu.”

Professor Rui Zhu, Philosophy

“I approach mind and cognition primarily from the perspective of information flow, with an increasing interest on its neuronal realization and distribution. The informational focus traditionally drew its inspiration from language, perception, and the Turing machine model of computation, with only marginal attention to the brain. But recent advancements in brain studies have made it easier for abstract models of mind to be tested against concrete neurological findings on how the brain registers/delivers or fails to register/deliver certain informational input/output. One particular issue that have commanded my attention over the years is how our mind is equipped to deal with unique informational clusters such as speech, music comprehension and pattern recognitions. I teach philosophy of mind to undergraduate students and can be reached at zhu@lakeforest.edu.”