College of Science and Health > Academics > Neuroscience > Research
Faculty who are interested in Neuroscience conduct research in a variety of different ways and settings from studying how proteins interact in Alzheimer’s disease to computer modeling of human behavior. Below is a list of the current faculty and their research interests. To get involved follow the link to their websites and contact them individually!
Dr. Elliott has been a professor of Artificial Intelligence at DePaul University for twenty-seven years. He holds three teaching certificates for music, the BM, MM (music), and MS (computer science) degrees, and a PhD from Northwestern University's Institute for the Learning Sciences with an emphasis on computer simulations of human emotion.
Dr. Hastings' research focuses on neuromorphic processing to model the incredibly complex interactions of neural systems at a very detailed level. Bolstered by hardware advances including the SpiNNaker board and TrueNorth, and research projects like the Human Brain Project, this area is on the cutting edge of computing research for modeling human (and other intelligent) behavior.
The Jeyifous lab utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying learning and memory, neuronal disease, and drug abuse. We are broadly interested in the cell biology of neurons and synaptic junctions. More specifically, we are characterizing molecular processes that underlie the assembly and proper synaptic delivery and retention of proteins important for synaptic transmission and plasticity. These studies make use of recombinant DNA technology, biochemical assays and, most prominently, fluorescent light microscopic techniques. Recently, we have been characterizing novel effects of nicotine and synaptic activity on the reorganization of elements of the neuronal secretory pathway (endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi organelles). This has important implications for increasing our understanding of neuronal cell biology, elucidating nicotine’s addictive properties, and in the design of more efficacious smoking cessation agents. In addition to our neurobiological research projects, Dr. Jeyifous has established a bio-arts practice which fuses elements of the lab’s research focus and methodology with photographic study and digital collage approaches.
Dr. Kozlowski's lab is focused on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in a rodent model. They have examined numerous approaches aimed at repairing the injured brain following TBI including: gene therapy, bone marrow stem cell transplants, endogenous neurogenesis, and physical rehabilitation. Their current emphasis is on using a model of repeat concussions to understand how they are linked to neurodegenerative disease as well as whether APOE4 is a genetic risk factor for brain trauma related neurodegenerative disease. They utilize steretotaxic surgery, quantitative anatomical analysis, and sophisticated behavioral techniques in our studies. Their overall goal is to understand how the brain tries to repair itself, and how external therapies can help the brain do so.
Dr. Norstrom's research answers the question: What are the cellular mechanisms of disease states in the brain? His lab is focused on the cellular neurobiology related to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and prion diseases. By studying the molecular function and processing of proteins involved in these diseases, Dr. Norstrom hopes to gain insight into their development and, ultimately, add to the knowledge on how to most effectively and safely treat them. To approach these complex themes, Dr. Norstrom has utilized molecular genetics and protein biochemistry along with proteomics techniques and fluorescence microscopy. Using cell culture techniques and animal models, his lab will continue to elucidate the function and dysfunction of proteins and cells involved in neurodegenerative disease.
Dr. Raicu's research in The Visual Informatics and Data Analytics [VIDA] Group focuses on creating data mining and computer vision algorithms and developing systems for data processing, analysis, modeling, and visualization. Two laboratories, the Medical Informatics (MedIX) lab and the Intelligent Multimedia Processing (IMP) lab, house state-of-the-art research that combines theory and experimental methodologies to provide novel solutions to challenging data problems. The research conducted in the labs is applied to various domains including medical imaging, neuroscience, cellular biology, psychology, security and urban studies.
Dr. Thompson is interested in the philosophical issues surrounding the role of science in society. His research takes the shifting conjunctions of knowledge, power, and subjectivity as its object of study. Specifically, he investigates the shifting historical conditions that scientific inquiry must fulfill in order for its results to count as genuine forms of knowledge. He explores the forms of justification and explanation that social and political practices employ as they appeal to scientific knowledge in establishing and supporting standards of social and political order. Finally, he examines the conceptions of moral obligation, value, and agency that these configurations of knowledge and power produce. His research thus explores the varied ways in which the epistemic, normative, and ethical conditions that define the interrelation of knowledge, power, and subjectivity are at work in the burgeoning fields of neuroscience and neurotechnology.
Dr. Virtue's research investigates the neurological processes that occur during a variety of language tasks. She studies how the left and right hemispheres activate information during reading. For example, she has found that the right hemisphere has an advantage in processing certain types of inferences during reading compared to the left hemisphere. These are new and exciting findings because previously it was thought that the left hemisphere was the sole processor of language. Her research demonstrates that the right hemisphere plays an important and unique role during the comprehension of text. Most recently, Dr. Virtue has been investigating the role of the right hemisphere during the reading of conspiracy theories, nonliteral language (e.g., idioms, metaphors, sarcasm, etc.), slogans in advertisements, and during the processing of trademarks.
Dr. Bell’s research is focused on the effects of a chronic and ubiquitous environmental contaminant, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs are a model endocrine disrupting chemical, and are known to independently affect brain function, hormone actions, and immune processes. As such, her lab is interested in understanding how PCBs affect interactions between the neural, endocrine, and immune systems during development, and their long-term consequences on brain and behavior. She uses molecular and behavioral techniques to study this in a rat model.
Dr. Cudaback's laboratory is broadly interested in the identification and characterization of molecular mechanisms underlying various neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury. While the particular toxic insult necessarily varies with disease, this diverse group of brain disorders shares a common neuropathologic hallmark: neuroinflammation. Of particular interest to his work, APOE is a polymorphic gene in humans known to differentially modulate microglial and astrocyte function. Indeed, inheritance of the APOE allelic variant epsilon4 represents the single greatest genetic risk factor for development of Alzheimer's disease, and predicts the severity and outcome of many other neurodegenerative diseases. This suggests that APOE may exert its pathologic influence in part by disrupting normal inflammatory processes in the brain. He uses a variety of biochemical, in vitro, in vivo, and behavioral approaches to investigate the precise role that APOE plays in human brain disease.