Texas Tech University

Autumn's Dawn NICE Laboratory: Projects

Autism Spectrum Disorder

The goal of this project is to accurately diagnose mild forms of ASD using a combination of Electroencephalography (EEG) and function Magnetic Resonant Imaging (fMRI). This can be accomplished thanks to the advanced signal processing techniques in use at the Autumn's Dawn NICE Laboratory. Combining different complementary modalities through data fusion techniques will allow the useful joining of EEG and fMRI data in an effort to separate mildly Autistic children from typically developing children. More Facts on ASD Project.

Learning Styles in Engineers

The national number of US citizens receiving doctoral degrees in STEM fields continues to fall, and engineering schools continue to struggle with retention issues and with establishing and maintaining gender and ethnic diversity. While there are many postulated cultural and academic issues associated with low enrollment and low retention rates in engineering programs, one relatively unexplored area of research is the connection between the two above−mentioned grand challenges, which leads to the following key research questions: what is going on in the brain at a neurobiological level as students with different learning styles perform cognitive tasks, and how can that information be used to optimize learning environments to reach a greater number of students with STEM content. The purpose of this study is to use functional magneticresonance imaging (fMRI) and an MRI compatible electroencephalography (EEG) to evaluate the areas of neural activation in the brain and their functional connectivity while students are performing cognitive tasks that engage visual processing, spatial reasoning, and executive function. The activation and connectivity patterns will be correlated with the students' learning style preferences as measured by standard inventories in the engineering education community.