Language is a ubiquitous aspect of human life. Yet we are just beginning to understand the neural infrastructure that supports this complex social and cognitive function. Broadly, my research focuses on the relations between the brain and behavior. My lab has examined semantic and phonological aspects of language comprehension and production. Most recently I have been examining age-related differences in language. Specifically, this research project looks at neural factors that contribute to age-related retention (semantics) and decline (phonology) that have been observed in language production. We investigate the relations between structural factors (i.e., white matter integrity), functional activations, and behavior.
Previously, I have used electrophysiology to examine how semantic and phonological processes interact during spoken language comprehension. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), I have investigated the neural substrates of orthographic, lexical, and semantic aspects of visual word processing, and the influence of conscious perception on the engagement of brain regions that support these processes. Finally, my involvement with the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN) project has allowed me to explore technical issues related to multi-site imaging, such as quality assurance measures and reliability. This experience facilitates my current role as the Director of Human Imaging at the Social, Life, and Engineering Sciences Imaging Center.