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Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Branch

The Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Branch sponsors research on neural and psychological mechanisms underlying age-related changes in cognition, emotion, sensory, and motor function, from the level of genes to the whole organism and including epidemiological studies of populations and clinical trials. Studies of molecular, structural, and dynamic brain changes, including research on adaptation or plasticity, resilience, and reserve are of particular interest, as well as interventions to maintain or gain function in older age. Cognitive Neuroscience encompasses research on neural mechanisms of age-related change in cognitive processes, including learning, memory, attention, executive function, decision-making, and language at all levels of analysis. Prevention and treatment trials for age-related cognitive decline also are emphasized. Investigations of delirium and post-operative cognitive decline are supported. The relationship between delirium and dementia, as well as the distinction between age-related cognitive decline and pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, are also of interest. A focus on Sensory Processes supports studies on mechanisms of normal aging and disease-related alterations in visual, auditory, somatosensory including pain, vestibular, and chemosensory (taste, olfaction) functions. In an effort to understand Motor Function, research is supported on proprioception, postural control, neuromuscular function, sensory-motor integration, balance, and movement disorders in aging, including Parkinson's disease. The relationship between sensory or motor dysfunction and age-related dementia is a priority area. Affective Neuroscience supports studies on the neurobiology of age-related changes in emotion. Of particular interest is the interface between emotion and cognition. The Division of Neuroscience, and this branch in particular, interacts and collaborates with the Division of Behavioral and Social Research where psychological science and behavioral neuroscience converge, as well as with the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, where aging of non-neural systems, geriatric syndromes, and CNS function converge.

Molly V. Wagster, Ph.D.
Branch Chief
Email Molly V. Wagster

Dave Frankowski, Ph.D.
Health Specialist
Email Dave Frankowski

Caroline Sferrazza, M.S.
Health Specialist
Email Caroline Sferrazza

Cognitive Neuroscience Section

Molly V. Wagster, Ph.D.
Program Director, Prevention and Treatment Trials for Age-Related Cognitive Decline; Neural Mechanisms/Correlates and Neurobiology of: Learning and Memory; Brain Plasticity/Adaptation and Cognitive Researve/Resilience
Email Molly V. Wagster

Matt Sutterer, Ph.D.
Program Director, Prevention and Treatment Trials for Age-Related Decline/Impairment; Neural Mechanisms/Correlates and Neurobiology of: Attention, Cognitive Control, Executive Functions; Language; and Decision-making
Email Matt Sutterer

Devon Oskvig, Ph.D.
Program Director, Neural Mechanisms/Correlates and Neurobiology of Spatial Learning and Memory; Prevention and Treatment Trials for Age-Related Decline/Impairment
Email Devon Oskvig

Luci Roberts, Ph.D.
Program Director, Prevention and Treatment Trials for Age-Related Decline/Impairment, Delirium, Post-Operative Cognitive Decline; Mechanisms/Correlates and Neurobiology of: Sex Hormones and Cognition; Cognition and Non-CNS Comorbidities; Delirium and Post-Operative Cognitive Decline
Email Luci Roberts

Motor Systems and Disorders of Aging Section

Coryse St. Hillaire-Clarke, Ph.D.
Program Director, Neural Mechanisms/Correlates and Neurobiology of Changes with Aging and Disease in Motor Systems and Function including Gait, Balance, and Neuromuscular Function. Prevention and Treatment Trials for Change in Motor Function with Aging and Disease
Email Coryse St. Hillaire-Clarke

Sensory Systems and Disorders of Aging Section

Coryse St. Hillaire-Clarke, Ph.D.
Program Director, Neural Mechanisms/Correlates and Neurobiology of Changes with Aging and Disease in Audition, Vision, Olfaction, Taste, Somatosensation (except Pain), Vestibular Function; Prevention and Treatment Trials for Change in Motor Function with Aging and Disease
Email Coryse St. Hillaire-Clarke

Devon Oskvig, Ph.D.
Program Director, Neural Mechanisms/Correlates and Neurobiology of Pain and Aging; Prevention and Treatment Trials for Pain
Email Devon Oskvig

Affective Neuroscience Section

Matt Sutterer, Ph.D.
Program Director, Neural Mechanisms/Correlates and Neurobiology of Emotional Aging. Prevention and Treatment Trials for Age-Related Change/Impairment in Emotional Function
Email Matt Sutterer

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