AU's Center for Neuroscience and Behavior, established in 2012, provides a unique interdisciplinary research and training environment that promotes excellence in the study of brain function and its manifestation in behavior.
The center strives to support neuroscience research efforts and promote collaborative interactions. As an externally-funded and self-sustaining center, our work integrates psychology, biology, neuroanatomy, and physiology with chemistry, physics and mathematics to advance understanding of the cognitive, emotional, sensory, and regulatory functions underlying the behavior of both humans and animals. The center brings together experts from these and other disciplines and provides core research facilities for neuroscience research.
Research and Training
The Center for Neuroscience and Behavior supports the training goals of faculty and students in a number of undergraduate and graduate programs. These programs include Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience (BCaN), Biology, Chemistry, and Clinical Psychology. Faculty and graduate student members of the center from each of these disciplines participate in a wide range of projects aimed at understanding the interrelationships between the brain and behavior. In addition, while not a degree-granting entity, the Center for Neuroscience and Behavior sponsors activities such as special courses, symposia, and off-campus training opportunities that enhance the educational experience for students at American University.
Director: Terry L. Davidson
- Victoria Connaughton
- Stefano Costanzi
- Kathleen Gunthert
- Katie Holton
- Arthur Shapiro
- Catherine Stoodley
- Samantha White
Behavior, Cognition, & Neuroscience
Advances in neuroscience have important implications for the development of policies designed to meet looming challenges in health care, aging, education, bioethics, child welfare, environmental and national security. Furthermore, addiction, violent crime, dementia, and obesity pose threats to our well-being that are unlikely to be addressed effectively without the translation of sound behavioral and neuroscience into effective public policy and law. Lobes and Robes, a new podcast developed by the Department of Neuroscience in cooperation with the School of Public Affairs and the Washington College of Law, brings scientists and policymakers together to address some of the most pressing problems of our time.
Catherine Stoodley was awarded the title of Provost Associate Professor and has received NIH funding for the project “Cerebellum and autism: Regional specialization for social and executive functions”, which continues her work investigating the role of the cerebellum in autism, as well as for “Effects of age and lesion location on motor, cognitive and behavioral outcomes in pediatric posterior fossa patients”. This work is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Karin Walsh at Children’s National Medical Center (co-Investigator) and Dr. Betty Malloy (Math-Stats, co-Investigator).
Laura Rice (BCaN 2022) has received the University award for Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level. Dr. Rice is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins.
Alexander Kisner received the Faculty Mellon Award.
Laurie Bayet received a Rising Star award from the Association for Psychological Science (APS), and a Distinguished Early Career Contribution Award from the International Congress of Infant Studies. Her lab also received a grant of $577,409 for the project “Grounding computational models of vision with infant brain data”. Her student, Kira Ashton, has also received a Sigma XI grant in Aid of Research for the project “The impact of early language exposure on visual object representation”.
Samantha White (AU '18, current BCaN PhD student) has won a grant from the Cosmos Club, a prestigious award by this longstanding DC science group. The funds will support her dissertation research on learning and decision making. Additionally, Samantha also received a Trainee Professional Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience. This a program focused on mentoring, professional skills development, networking for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers that is organized by the Society. Congratulations, Sam!
Catherine Stoodley received a grant from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (funded by the Department of Defense) for her project "Biologic mechanisms and efficacy of cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation in ASD.”
Brendan Tunstall (PhD, BCaN) was awarded an National Institutes of Health K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award for his post-doctoral research.
Terry Davidson has been appointed as a Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience by American University’s Board of Trustees.
Catherine Stoodley received a three-year grant from the Children’s Research Institute (funded by the National Institutes of Health) for work with Principal Investigator Catherine Limperopoulos on a project titled "The Vulnerable Preterm Cerebellum: Elucidating Mechanisms and Consequences of Injury."