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Frontiers of BrainHealth

Where are the frontiers of brain science? Take a deep dive with leading experts. The Spring series in 2022 will be completely free of charge! Register for the full series, and attend as many talks as you like.

Join us for the latest insights on brain science innovations.

Please contact brainhealthevents@utdallas.edu with any questions. For more information, visit our events FAQ page.

2022 Speaker Lineup

Asheley Landrum

Knowledge x Identity: The Interaction of Two Important Factors on Science Acceptance

Asheley Landrum, PhD


What influences public understanding and acceptance of science? Even when information is credible, empirically-derived, and presented by expert sources, people are not always ready and willing to trust it.  A common assumption of scientific experts and public health officials is that more effective explanations will help increase public acceptance of science-backed information. This “deficit model of communication”—that people would agree with scientific consensus if they simply understood the facts—has been debunked by both research and practice. While facts matter, they do not exist in a vacuum. People engage in motivated reasoning, sometimes rejecting evidence and arguments that conflict with their existing worldviews. Thus, certain audiences may understand but still reject scientific consensus when it clashes with their own views.

Dr. Landrum ​is a social-cognitive psychologist and assistant professor of science communication in the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University. Her research investigates how values and world-views influence public perceptions of science across development, bridging work from psychology, political science, communication, and public policy.

Chris Simmons headshot

Meta-Research Computing, Brain Health and Neuroimaging

Christopher Simmons, PhD


Reproducibility is a core tenant of science, however, the vast majority of research products that use computation are unable to be replicated. In this talk, Dr. Simmons will discuss his research and the infrastructure that he is developing to help address these and other common issues in research computing. The market demand for advanced cyber-infrastructure strongly outpaces the number of facilitators qualified to help researchers to leverage resources, and to manage computing super centers. Come and learn how to get started using the tools of the public cloud and the automation industry for science as well as how to get involved in future proposal efforts.

Dr. Simmons is the Director of Cyberinfrastructure Researcher Support at the University of Texas at Dallas. Simmons earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Chemical Physics and has over 20 years of experience in computational science. He is creating and leading the TRECIS: the Texas Research and Education Cyber-Infrastructure Services, (pronounced ’Trekkies’) center and managing a $20 million “grand challenge” Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program (PSAAP) I center funded by the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration.

Yune S. Lee is wearing a dark blue blazer with lights, horizontal. Close-up.

The BMW Story: The Brain, Music and Well-being

Yune Lee, PhD


Dr. Yune Lee’s research is focused on neural and behavioral connections between speech, language and music (SLAM), with the goal of developing non-invasive sound therapy to promote the brain plasticity pertaining to improved language and cognitive skills.

His hope is to disseminate his research findings to not only the neuroscience community but also to the international patient communities so they can use music for treatment and therapy.

He is Assistant Professor of the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing; School of Behavioral and Brain Science and the Director of Speech, Language, and Music (SLAM) Laboratory.

Songyao Ren headshot

Emotion, Culture and Well-Being

Songyao Ren, PhD


Many common measures of well-being, such as those used in the World Happiness Report, rely on measurements of the frequency of positive emotions compared to negative emotions. Dr. Ren will present some significant issues with these metrics, arguing that they overlook other important dimensions of emotions, such as intensity (strong/weak), quality (high/low), and content (what an individual is happy, angry, or sad about). Also, these metrics overlook the fact that the ways in which these dimensions of emotions relate to each other in determining well-being are mediated by culture. She will make suggestions to fix these metrics.

She is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas and was previously a doctoral student at Duke University. Her research interests include Chinese Philosophy, Ethics and Moral Psychology.

Matthew Robinson headshot

Understanding Controlled Attention Through Pupillometry

Matthew Robison, PhD


Dr. Robison's research examines cognitive abilities like working memory, attention control, long-term memory, and reasoning. Much of the research leverages individual differences to test theories about human cognition. He utilizes experimental techniques, eye tracking and pupillometry, and combined experimental/individual differences designs.

He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he directs the Controlled Attention and Memory Lab.