LABORATORY DIRECTOR

Matthew B. Pontifex, Ph.D.

Dr. Pontifex's primary research interest is in the area of developmental neurocognitive kinesiology, examining the relation between health-oriented behaviors and higher-order cognitive function during preadolescence; and the application of these health-oriented behaviors as a means for improving cognitive health, academic performance, and overall effective functioning during maturation. To date, his examination of these relationships has utilized both behavioral and neuroelectric measures to focus on the influence of acute as well as chronic aspects of physical activity upon developmental neurocognition, with a particular interest in the modulation of cognitive control. Future research will continue to investigate how aspects of health-oriented behaviors modulate the maturation of neural networks underlying aspects of cognitive control in the normal preadolescent population as well as within children suffering from cognitive and attentional disorders. By incorporating both applied and translational perspectives, this line of research may serve to increase public health concerns regarding pediatric physical inactivity and promote legislative changes towards creating more opportunities for health-oriented behaviors with the ultimate goal of providing early intervention to improve cognitive health across the lifespan.

Office:
126E IM Sports Circle
308 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824

Contact Information:
Phone: (517) 432-5105
Fax: (517) 353-2944
E-mail: pontifex@msu.edu

DOCTORAL STUDENTS

Katy Gwizdala, B.S.

Katy is entering her third year as a doctoral student. Her primary research interest is in gaining an understanding of the extent to which a heathy lifestyle may influence the brain and cognition in pediatric populations suffering from disorder such as Down Syndrome (DS), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Office:
38 IM Sports Circle
308 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824

Contact Information:
Phone: (517) 353-0892
E-mail: gwizda10@msu.edu

Amanda L. McGowan, M.S.

Amanda is entering her second year as a doctoral student. Her research interests are still developing.

Office:
38 IM Sports Circle
308 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824

Contact Information:
Phone: (517) 353-0892
E-mail: mcgowa78@msu.edu

Madison Chandler, B.A.

Madison is entering her first year as a doctoral student. Her research interests are still developing.

Office:
38 IM Sports Circle
308 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824

Contact Information:
Phone: (517) 353-0892
E-mail: chand138@msu.edu

UNDERGRADUATE LABORATORY RESEARCH ASSISTANTS


Jensyn Bradley

6 semesters in the lab

Shelby Cavazos

4 semesters in the lab

Caleb Sokolowski

4 semesters in the lab

Maddy Allen

2 semesters in the lab

Becca Blitz

2 semesters in the lab

Monica Hagen

2 semesters in the lab

Jeremy Hagerman

First semester in the lab

Kylie Kayser

First semester in the lab

Grace Mansour

First semester in the lab

Gabriel Miller

First semester in the lab

Katie Voisard

First semester in the lab

BRAINSCOPE PROJECT RESEARCH ASSISTANTS


Alexander Blanchett

2 semesters in the lab

Clare Gapare

2 semesters in the lab

Brandon Henry

2 semesters in the lab

McKenzie Kosiara

2 semesters in the lab

Breanna Prickett

2 semesters in the lab

INTERESTED IN JOINING THE HBCL?

Many of the best learning experiences happen outside the classroom and getting involved in research provides students with the opportunity to gain new skills and insight that will further their education and provide needed background for postgraduate study in medicine, physical and occupational therapy, and kinesiological psychology.

The Health Behaviors and Cognition Laboratory is currently looking for highly motivated undergraduate students to assist with on-going research projects.

Undergraduate research assistants (URAs) in the HBCL engage in activities such as administration of maximal exercise tests and neuropsychological assessments, preparation and measurement of neuroelectric activity, and data processing. Additionally, URAs from the HBCL will have the opportunity to present some of the lab’s research findings at MSU’s annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum; and some URAs, who have played a significant role, will have the opportunity to present at national meetings and earn co-authorship on publications in scientific journals. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with graduate students and Dr. Pontifex. Most students spend the first semester in the lab learning research methods for neuropsychological and metabolic assessments. Once mastered, students are able to begin their own research projects. If you are interested in learning more about undergraduate research opportunities in the HBCL, please contact Dr. Pontifex.

Graduate students in the HBCL are given numerous opportunities to be involved in research, teaching, and the writing and presentation of papers, and be exposed to the process of grant writing. It is expected that students will be actively involved in scholarly research ranging from smaller projects to randomized controlled trials, depending on the research objective. Students completing a doctoral degree will generally have several publications in peer-reviewed journals, have presented numerous papers at national conferences (e.g., American College of Sports Medicine, Society for Psycophysiological Research), and be prepared to continue as an independent investigator. If you are interested in learning more about graduate research opportunities in the HBCL, please contact Dr. Pontifex.

GRADUATE ALUMNI

Andrew C. Parks, Ph.D.

Dissertation: The effect of an acute bout of physical activity on inhibitory control in children with autism spectrum disorder.

Drew is now a post-doctoral assistant in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan.

LOCATION

Department of Kinesiology
38 IM Sports Circle
308 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824

CONTACT US

Phone: (517) 353-0892
Fax: (517) 353-2944
E-mail: HBCL@msu.edu

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