PI: Rebecca Lundwall
My students and I have been very productive during the two funding years of this grant. Together, we have published three peer-reviewed papers (one in an undergraduate research journal) and submitted six papers that are now under review (one in an undergraduate research journal). In addition, I have mentored student submissions of eight poster presentations at local, regional, and national conferences. These papers and presentations have involved 25 students as co-authors.
Evaluation of how well the academic objectives of the proposal were met
The academic goals of my proposal focused on collecting infant attention task data and saliva samples to assay for association with task performance. We were able to collect data from over 250 infants and are in the process of selecting which single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) to have assayed. So far, we have determined to analyze SNPs on APOE, CHRNA4, and SLC6A3 because these have shown association with infant attention task performance in a recent analysis we have completed for a poster presentation at the Intermountain Society for Neuroscience conference at Snowbird. The genes mentioned influence the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and dopamine and have been shown to be associated with attention in adults. The mentoring environment grant has also allowed me to involve undergraduate researchers on other projects. Here is the full list of all the completed projects that my research assistants and I were able to produce during the funding period:
PAPERS INCLUDING STUDENTS AS CO-AUTHORS:
Lundwall, R. A., & *Rasmussen, C. B. G. (2016). Developmental trajectory of reflexive attention from infancy to childhood. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 424. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00424
Lundwall, R. A., & *Watkins, J. K. (2015). Genetic influence on slope variability in a childhood reflexive attention task. PLoS ONE, 10(6), e0130668.
Lundwall, R. A., *Sgro, J., & *Wade, T. (under review). SLC6A3 Predicts relational aggression in children.
Lundwall, R. A., *Woodruff, J., & *Tolboe, S. (under review). Characteristics of a child task to measure reflexive attention.
Lundwall, R. A., *White, T., *Rhodes, J., & Lundwall, R. (revisions submitted). Basic errors on a computer task predict academic scores.
*Sgro, J., *Fanger, J., & Lundwall, R. A. (revisions submitted). Parent ratings of inattention linked to the RT cost following an invalid cue on a reflexive attention task.
Lundwall, R. A., **Stephenson, K. G., Neeley-Tass, E. S., Cox, J. C., South, M., Bigler, E. D., **Anderberg, E., Prigge, M. D., Hansen, B. D., Lainhart, J. E., Kellems, R. O., Petrie, J. A., & Gabrielsen, T. (revisions submitted). Brain volumes associated with high levels of aggression in children with autism spectrum disorders.
*Wade, T., *Mitchell, M., & *Sgro, J. (2016). SLC5A7 as a predictor of relational aggression in children. Chiasm, 8, 4-10.
*Shepherd, E. (under review). Daytime sleepiness is associated with depression but not anxiety in children. Intuition.
PRESENTATIONS INCLUDING STUDENTS AS CO-AUTHORS:
Lundwall, R., *Nuttall, R., *Kotter, A., *Bayles, T., *Christensen, K., & *Iverson, J. (abstract submitted). Infant Siblings of Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder Have Higher Perseveration. P Poster presentation at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX.
*Christensen, K., *Nuttall, R., *Koci, M. *Wade, T., *Kotter, A. G., & Lundwall, R. A. (2016, November). The influence of MAOA across the trajectory development of reflexive attention. Poster presentation at the Annual Psychonomic Society Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts.
*Kamhout, S., *Clason, S., *Bayles, T. & Lundwall, R. A. (October, 2016). Genetic Influences on Reflexive Attention in Infants. Poster presentation at the Intermountain Society for Neuroscience competition at the Neuroscience Program Snowbird Symposium, Snowbird, UT.
*Kaseda, E., *White, T., *Sgro, J., *Mitchell, M., *Wade, T. & Lundwall, R. A. (2015, October). Reduced Acetylcholine Availability via SLC5A7 is associated with increased Relational Aggression in Children. Poster presentation at the Intermountain Society for Neuroscience competition at the Neuroscience Program Snowbird Symposium, Snowbird, UT.
Tass, S. N., **Stephenson, K., Prigge, M. D., South, M., **Maisel, M. E., Kellems, R., Hansen, B. D., Lundwall, R. A., Bigler E., and Gabrielsen, T. P. (2015, May). Brain Volumes Associated with High Levels of Aggression in ASD. Poster presentation at the International Meeting for Autism Research, Salt Lake City, UT.
*Garner, A., *Christensen, K., *Chatterley. G., & *Nuttall, R. (2016, April). MAOA Influences the Trajectory of Attentional Development. Poster presented at the Mary Lou Fulton Conference, Provo, UT.
*Mitchell, M., *Wade, T., & *Shawkey, E. (2016, April) Reduced Acetylcholine Availability via SLC5A7 is Associated with Increased Relational Aggression in Children. Poster presented at the Mary Lou Fulton Conference, Provo, UT.
*Woodruff, J., & *White, T. (2015). Self-reported reasons for motivation to exercise and association with mental health. Planned submission to the Utah Conference for Undergraduate Research (UCUR) 2015, St. George, UT.
Evaluation of the Mentoring Enviroment
I can honestly say that mentoring is my favorite aspect of my responsibilities at BYU. My MEG proposal focused on recruiting female undergraduates to work in the lab in order to help them prepare for graduate school by developing skills, building their CVs, and participating in neuroscience projects. Prior to receiving the MEG, I had two male and no female paid undergraduate research assistants. Several students informed me that they could not afford to volunteer in my lab as they were
partly responsible for their college expenses. I was concerned about the students needing both income and research experience. I was also concerned that I was having trouble recruiting women to work in my lab. The psychology department has more female undergraduate students, but fewer of them are participating in research with professors than the male undergraduate students. Because of this Mentoring Environment Grant, I was able to recruit eight female students to work in my lab. I met with these and other interested students in small groups to work on posters, papers, and other CV building projects. By working in small groups (two or three students at a time), I am able to get to know the students’ skills and talents personally and am much better able to write them strong letters of recommendation. I have written letters for sixteen BYU students to date.
List of students who participated
During the funding period, I mentored 39 undergraduate researchers, 19 of whom were female, and eight of whom had their salaries paid by this Mentoring Environment Grant. The eight female students whose salaries were paid by this grant are:
Katherine Christensen (3 posters, conference attendance)
Julia Fanger (1 paper)
Allison Garner Kotter (3 posters, conference attendance)
Erin Kaseda (1 poster)
Amanda Koci (no papers or posters to date)
Laura Allred Nielson (no papers or posters to date)
Rachel Nuttall (3 posters)
Jordan Sgro (3 papers, 1 poster)
Description of how the budget was spent
Over $10,000 went to supporting the salaries of female undergraduates to encourage and prepare them for graduate school. Male undergraduate research assistants had their salaries paid from another fund. Both male and female undergraduates participated in a variety of projects. Two undergraduates have elected to attend a Psychonomic Society conference in Boston, MA in November to present the findings from one project. Travel expenses for this conference are being paid from this grant (approximately $3,000). Additional funds were used for supplies (approximately $4,000).