Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

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Training Program in Multisensory Processes


Despite traditional emphasis on individual senses, there is growing appreciation that brains are inherently multisensory and growing evidence that anomalies of multisensory integration contribute to a host of developmental and age-related disorders. These include dyslexia, sensory processing disorder, and autism. Multisensory therapeutic regimens may better ameliorate the sensory deficits associated with acute brain trauma (e.g., neglect following stroke), and training programs emphasizing interactions among senses are essential to promote a better understanding of the debilitating effects of disease and the strategies necessary to ameliorate them.

The training program in Multisensory Neuroscience is designed to meet the needs of an emerging discipline exploring the inherent similarities and distinctions among sensory systems. While this is a compelling problem, this rapidly growing discipline of multisensory integration has a paucity of formal training opportunities – we offer a unique environment in which to meet this need at both the pre- and postdoctoral levels. Though its curriculum incorporates traditional topics relating to the development, organization, and perception/behavior derived from sensory processing in the different senses, the training program uniquely emphasizes the way in which sensory systems interact to markedly enhance or degrade the physiological salience of external events. Our faculty members are bound together by a common interest in the senses and expertise in multisensory integration. Students in Neurobiology and Anatomy and the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience are eligible, as are eligible postdoctoral fellows.

The training program offers a singular experience in topics such as neuropharmacology, electrophysiology, modern neuroanatomy and immunohistochemistry, computational neuroscience, development, cognition, psychophysics, behavior, and hands-on experience with a variety of laboratory techniques. We address these in the context of how individual sensory modalities process sensory information and the mechanisms that underlie their synergistic function. Students rotate through laboratories to gain in-depth experience in several sensory systems, but also have mini-courses to give them practical experience in techniques beyond those they may use for a current research project. All students and faculty participate in a seminar series and journal club that is topic-keyed to the core courses in Sensory Neuroscience, ensuring continuing broad intellectual and collegial interactions. Students are exposed to training opportunities and experts that offer advice regarding career paths in addition to traditional tenure-track academic positions.

Recognizing the societal need for a diverse biomedical workforce, a major focus for the training program continues to be the recruitment of underrepresented minorities.

Project Leader

Training Grant Faculty

Recent postdoctoral trainees

  • M. Gabriela Costello, Ph.D.
    Current position Postdoctoral Fellow: Johns Hopkins University
  • Fumi Katsuki, Ph.D.
    Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow: Harvard Medical School
  • Leslie Keniston, Ph.D.
    Current positon:  Assistant Professor: University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Dept. Physical Therapy
  • Jonathan Day-Brown, Ph.D.
    Current position: Assistant Professor: Marshall University

Current predoctoral trainees

  • Adrienne Adler
    Research topic: Mechanisms Supporting Mindfulness-Based Pain Relief
  • Veronica Scerra
    Research topic: Perceptual Decision and Choice Behavior
  • Alexander Dakos
    Research topic: Exploration of the Variability of Multisensory Stimuli Responses
  • Joshua Seideman
    Research topic:  Cortical Mechanisms of Perceptual Judgment and Motor choice of oculomotor choice behavior during urgent decision-making. 

Recent predoctoral trainees

  • Ryan Miller
    Research topic: Cortical versus Midbrain: Development Speed in Incorporating Cross-Modal Experience
  • Christopher Hauser
    Research topic: Project examines the neural mechanisms, cue integration, perceptual judgment, and motor choice
  • Mitchell Riley
    Research topic:  Effects of Training in Visuospatial Working Memory
  • Greg Alberto
    Research topic:  Advanced Neuroimaging combining optogenetics and MEG
  • David Klorig, Ph.D. received his Ph.D. in 2014
    Current positon: Postdoctoral Fellow, Wake Forest School of Medicine