Dr. Kristy vanMarle studies the mathematical abilities of infants and toddlers, seeking new insights into how the human brain develops, formats, and represents concepts of quantity. Basic cognitive quantifying abilities progress into ideas of number, time, and space, and are crucial to the everyday tasks that our adult brains perform. “Babies,” Dr. vanMarle tells SyndicateMizzou, “give you a window into what kind of initial, foundational core [mathematical] capacities are there, how they get elaborated, and what kinds of experiences are necessary for different capacities to come online.”
Shubhra Gangopadhyay is the one of the few female faculty at MU’s Center for Micro/Nano Systems and Nanotechnology. She’s also the one in charge of developing the center. In the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, of which Gangopadhyay is the LaPierre Endowed Chair Professor, she is one of three women. “There is a shortage of female scientists and female professors, in general,” Gangopadhyay says. “And in engineering, it is really not good.”
Dr. vanMarle works with students both in the laboratory and in the classroom. Her work in the classroom helps “keep her excited about the research,” she tells us, and her students in the lab provide important feedback and offer fresh perspectives that contribute greatly to the research.
Dr. vanMarle’s work in the Developmental Cognition lab uses a technique of measuring babies’ “looking time” in order to gauge their visual attention. Researchers then examine changes in visual attention over multiple trials in order to analyze babies’ ability to discriminate between stimuli. Analyzing the data gathered from this process is the key to the lab’s insights into developmental cognition and beyond.
Nano-sized particles—clusters of molecules so small that 100,000,000 would fit across a single hair—can be built by attatching molecules together or by smashing apart bigger clusters. Shubhra Gangopadhyay’s lab does both. Her work will result in amazing new technologies, some of which will be used by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Kerns discusses the technology used in his research to view brain activity.
Kerns discusses how activity in different parts of brain can be observed in the lab.