The Department of Educational Psychology Department unveil its Neurobiological Lab for Learning and Development (NLD) on Friday, December 11. Led under the direction of assistant professor Dr. Steven Woltering, the lab presentation is aimed to give viewers an in-depth look into the biometric work for future students.
The developmental foundations for the NLD were placed in August 2014. The lab is home to state-of-the-art equipment capable of measuring different pieces of neurologic data that influence development, learning and physiology.
“We want to explain our mission and vision for what the lab can mean for the faculty at Texas A&M, students, and the community at large,” said Dr. Woltering.
In early 2015, the lab received $25,000 from the Division of Research’s PESCA Grant Program, which makes annual awards to a wide-range of projects among Texas A&M faculty-researchers in the social sciences, policy studies, arts, humanities and related fields.
“The neurobiological lab represents the type of project that PESCA was created to support: one that has significant potential to attract future funding from federal agencies, national endowments, institutes, foundations and councils,” said Vice President for Research Glen A. Laine.
The NLD is currently centered around four research projects: The Impulsivity Project, Developmental Study, The Stress Project, and The Sleeping Project. Each research project will feature the use of specific equipment demonstrated by students, to measure bio-behavioral data and physiological data for future studies.
“So far we’ve built a team of young students and have had contact with other departments and colleges — getting them interested in neuroscience,” said Dr. Woltering. “Neuroscience is an important aspect of the future and I think there’s definitely a big platform and interest in the work that we are trying to do.”
The impulsivity project, in collaboration with the psychology department, will measure impulsive biomarkers in adolescents that can be linked to obesity.
“We’re going to look at some neuro indicators in the brain system of adolescents to see if they have any abnormalities in the brain system that control impulses and emotion,” said Dr. Woltering.
The Stress Project will measure the breath rate as a tool for stress and emotional regulation. It involves the use of a tool that continuously records one’s breathing rate and notifies the user when stress levels are increased.
“This project is incredibly useful for people who are prone to stress,” said Dr. Woltering. “The good thing about this technology is that it makes us able to be more mindful of what we are thinking and feeling during these physiological reactions.”
The final two projects, The Developmental Project and The Sleeping Project, deal with self-control regulation and the how sleep affects the body.
“There’s little known research about the physiology of self-control and the importance of napping and sleep,” he said. “I think that this is something to distinguish ourselves into see how we can apply it to the effects of learning.”
The NLD opening talk will be held Friday, December 11 at 2 p.m. in Harrington 215. The open house demonstrations will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Harrington 715A. To RSVP for the lab opening, click here.