Scientist and assistant professor
We know that people have trouble with their memory as they age, but scientists have different theories about why and how this happens. Research in my laboratory has tried to better understand the particular types of memory that get worse as we age. We have also developed eye-tracking tasks that help us understand how younger and older adults study information differently with their eyes. In addition, we have used neuroimaging to measure the areas of the brain that are known to develop age-related atrophy or neurodegeneration. Using these methods, we have made important discoveries that have linked age-related atrophy in particular brain regions to declines in memory and to different patterns of eye movements. By better understanding how memory changes in healthy aging, we will be better able to understand the difference between “normal” memory changes and more serious memory changes that are a sign of dementia. During the Summer Research Opportunity Programme (SROP), the selected student will assist with data collection and analysis. The student will be actively involved in contacting potential participants for our neuroimaging and eye-tracking memory studies, perform screening questionnaires, and scheduling the participants’ appointments in the laboratory. Note that if pandemic-related restrictions are in place during the summer of 2022, some of this research will be adapted into online research studies. The SROP student will also attend weekly lab meetings and journal clubs, so that they will learn about related scientific topics.
I am a passionate advocate for promoting a more diverse and inclusive academic environment within my own laboratory and at the University of Toronto. I strongly believe that mentorship of students from underrepresented groups at the undergraduate level is a critical “ingredient”” for achieving a more welcome