School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Sees a Bright Future

In 2013, the Center for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience was created as a Center of Excellence at SDSU. The center brings together researchers from the School of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences, and the Department of Psychology in the College of Sciences. Its founding members from SLHS were Karen Emmorey, Tracy Love, and Lew Shapiro. Sarah Mattson, Ed Riley, and Axel Müller were the key members from Psychology. Three new faculty members were hired this year: Alyson Abel Mills (SLHS), Ksenija Marinkovic (Psychology), and Jillian Wiggins (Psychology), who will be arriving next semester.

portrait 1On September 18, the center held an all-day workshop centered around neuroscience research at SDSU. The morning session was open to anyone interested at SDSU and about 100 people attended. In the audience were curious undergraduates, gradu- ate students and faculty from around the university. After an introduction by Dr. Emmorey, the morning session consisted of 17 short presentations by core faculty members of the center, each describing their research area and techniques. This allowed others to identify new possible collaborations.

portrait 2As the newest faculty members, Dr. Mills and Dr. Marinkovic enjoyed a little more time to go into some detail about their work. Mills is studying how children learn new words through their context. Marinkovic is studying the impact of alcohol on cognitive processes and cognitive control.

The afternoon session included just the faculty members involved in the center. They discussed ideas of how to promote neuroscience, foster collaborations within the center and the university community, and how to support their students.  Since its inception, the center has sponsored a speaker series, developed an informative website (slhs.sdsu.edu/ccn/) and established student travel awards for graduate students. New collegium, pursuing new grant funding and additional support for graduate students are being discussed.

In order to study activity in the brain, each of these researchers use brain imaging, either currently or in the future of their research. They are looking forward to the completion of the new EIS complex, which will contain an imaging center. An on-site imaging center will allow neuroscience research to flourish and expand. Currently, imaging work is scheduled at one of the other imaging centers in San Diego, adding additional cost and inconvenience to imaging work.

Dr. Emmorey says, “The future for neuroscience at SDSU looks very bright and I am eager to see where the future takes us.  The increased collaboration facilities will certainly help us to expand our research and understanding of how our brains work.”