TWU Affiliate Faculty

Affiliate faculty status is open to all full-time TWU faculty members who are currently conducting or are interested in conducting research which is consistent with the mission of the Woodcock Institute.

The benefits of affiliate faculty status are:

  1. being invited to a Fall and Spring luncheon to network with other TWU faculty members and share research ideas.
  2. establishing a research identity with the Woodcock Institute which may help faculty secure external funding.
  3. listing "Woodcock Institute Affiliate Faculty" on your CV. 

To apply, download the Woodcock Affiliate Faculty Status Application [.pdf] and email it to


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FacultyDepartmentResearch Interests

Dr. Dayna Loyd Averitt, Ph.D.


Dr. Averitt is a neuroscientist interested in neural mechanisms of pain and analgesia. I use animal models of pain conditions, sensory neuron cultures, and human nerve endings to study molecular mechanisms in the peripheral nerves that may underlie why some pain disorders are more common in females than males. Dr. Averitt is also interested in studying brain circuitry involved in sex differences in pain and opioid analgesia and discovery of novel non-opioid pain therapeutics.

Key Words: neurosensory research, pain management, and sex differences in pain.

Dr. Sneha V. Bharadwaj

Communication Sciences and Oral Health

Her research interests include: (a) examining speech, language, and literacy outcomes in children with hearing loss who use hearing aids, cochlear implants, and auditory brainstem implants; (b) assessing the effects of auditory deprivation on sensory and cognitive functions; (c) exploring predictors of literacy outcomes in children with hearing loss; and (d) investigating the efficacy of interventions to improve literacy outcomes in children with hearing loss.

Key Words: hearing ioss in children and adults, cognitive and linguistic predictors of literacy outcomes, and cognitive assessments. 

Dr. Christopher Bolinger

Communication Sciences and Oral Health

I am interested in identifying associations between patient outcome measures in hospitalized patients with pneumonia, differentiating linguistic from motoric deficits in children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,and identifying dysphagia in underserved populations (e.g.,persons with HIV).

Key Words: outcome measures, underserved minorities, and healthcare management


Dr. Patricia Bowyer


Occupational Therapy - Houston

I am interested in examining the implications/outcomes of using a specific occupational therapy theoretical approach on the functional cognition of individuals receiving occupational therapy services. Humans are dynamic in that one aspect of living, being and doing cannot be viewed as a singular experience. Rather, the interaction between occupational therapists and the person, or population, receiving services has to account for the biological, psychological and emotional realm. The theory that I use to guide my research aims to aid in understanding the complexities of the interplay amongst these multiple aspects of being a human and implications once a disability or disease process has occurred. My research interests focus on assessment, intervention and program development using the theory as a guide to aid in practical application with individuals in a variety of contexts and with various diagnoses amongst which are individuals with cognitive impairments.

Key Words: functional cognition, theoretical implications linked to functional cognition, and patient outcomes and functional cognition.

Dr. Christopher Brower


Despite uncertainty surrounding the exact molecular cause of neurodegeneration, a common feature is the accumulation and aggregation of neuronal protein fragments resulting from an increase in their production, or a decrease in their removal. Previously we found that the N-end rule pathway of the ubi quitin-proteasome system is able to remove specific protein fragments associated Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. This exciting discovery suggests that defects in the N-end rule pathway may contribute to neurodegeneration. Our research uses genetically modified mice, yeast, and cultured cells to understand how aggregation-prone protein fragments cause toxicity to neurons and to identify cellular pathways that prevent neurodegeneration. 

Key Words: neurodegeneration, protein aggregation, and protein degradation.

Suzanne Burns

Occupational Therapy

I am interested in interplay between post-stroke executive dysfunction and the lived environment. Specifically, I am interested in further development and testing of the Multiple Errands Test Home Version (MET-Home) for examining the impact of executive dysfunction on everyday life in the community. I am also interested in developing mobile health (mHealth) interventions to support health and functional outcomes of persons with post-stroke executive dysfunction.

Key Words: executive function, ecological validity, and mHealth. 

Jayne Jennings Dunlap


College of Nursing

My research interests surround Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) evidence-based screening and assessment strategies in primary care settings. I am a new faculty member with multiple publications related to ASD screening, detection and early intervention but I have not applied for external project funding yet. My doctoral mentor is Dr. Temple Grandin, one of the world’s most well-known individuals with ASD. I look forward to future interdisciplinary collaborations with Dr. Grandin and other TWU faculty whose research focus aligns with the Woodcock Institute’s mission.  

Key Words: Autism Spectrum Disorders. 

Jorge F. Figueroa

Teacher Educaton


I study how affective factors affect the cognitive development of emerging bilinguals and the acquisition of a second language with special interest to the Neurobiology of affect. In addition I study how the use of immersive technologies and culture play a crucial part in the cognitive development of emerging bilinguals. 

Key Words: bilingual assessment, culturally relevant education, and immersive technologies for emering bilinguals.

Dr. Wyona M. Freysteinson

Nursing - Houston

My area of research is body image, and in particular mirror viewing after physical trauma (i.e. amputation). Qualitative studies with individuals who have had body disfigurement suffer from “mirror trauma. I theorize that viewing self in the mirror has a significant neurological component (frontal cortex). Briefly, there is a neurological "mirror memory". When the mirror image is altered, there is a disruption of the neural network. This disruption can be so severe that is leads to a sympathetic nervous system reaction and psychological trauma.

Key Words: neurocognitive, body image, and mirror viewing. 

Dr. Hui-Goh

Physical Therapy

Understanding brain plasticity with learning and injury. Our long-term goal is to promote motor recovery after stroke by harnessing neuroplasticity associated with training.
Our training approaches include movement therapies, non-invasive brain stimulation and cognitive-motor interactive therapies.

Key Words: post-stroke recovery, non-invasive brain stimulation, cognitive-motor interaction

Catherine Cooper Hay

Occupational Therapy - Houston

I utilize a mixed methods approach to contribute to our understanding of motor and cognitive recovery following acquired brain injury. My research has included qualitative investigations, neurological interventions for upper extremity recovery, and observational studies with large datasets. I am especially interested in the outcomes of mild stroke and brain injury survivors and the development of effective, accessible, interventions to address cognitive impairment, depression and anxiety after stroke.

Key Words: utilizing large administrative datasets to assess stroke and brain injury outcomes, upper extremity motor recovery after neurological injury, and identifying and addressing cognitive impairment in mild stroke.

Dr. DiAnna Hynds


The research in our laboratory is focused on molecular mechanisms of axon growth and guidance, fundamental processes for neurodevelopment or recovery after damage to the nervous system. This work interfaces with the mission of the Woodcock Institute as it addresses the mechanisms responsible for basic neuroplasticity, the basis behind cognition. In particular, we are interested in distribution of particular proteins (e.g. neurexin) that are involved in determining synapse identity. These proteins are dysregulated in developmental conditions, including autism spectrum disorders. Thus, we have a mechanistic connection to understanding neurocognition, its testing, and the neuroanatomical correlates of variation in cognition.

Key Words: neurodevelopment, neuroregeneration, autism spectrum disorders

Dr. Elif Isik

Nursing - Houston

Self-management is a complex process, especially for children, that necessitates professional instruction and guidance. Pediatric and community health nurses can provide essential learning steps and continuity of care for children with chronic conditions such as asthma. I am planning a study for school-age children ages seven to 18 by developing and implementing web-based intervention sessions for asthma self-management. School-aged children are capable of learning how to manage their asthma through proper age-appropriate education and support.

Key Words: symptom science/symptom management, health promotion, community health assessment

Dr. Wendi Johnson

Psychology & Philosophy

Applying evidence-based interventions across a variety of disabilities. Utilizing assessment data to inform interventions and monitor intervention outcomes.

Key Words: evidence-based interventions, video self-monitoring, executive functioning/cognitive assessment.

Dr. Pamela Joplin-Gonzales


My research interest is on the concept of clinical reasoning in nursing students. Clinical reasoning is the process of assessing, collecting, and evaluating patient data in a way to form a conclusion about a real or potential patient problem. Clinical reasoning is the ability to put the pieces of a puzzle together to identify the problems. 

Key Words: thinking like a nurse, critical thinking skills, and clinical reasoning. 

Dr. Randa Keeley

Teacher Education

My research concentration is in research-based classroom interventions that promote inclusive learning environments for students with special educational needs and disabilities. Dr. Keeley's research includes both quantitative and qualitative measures to analyze the effects of inclusive practices, culturally responsive teaching, and co-teaching as related to teacher and student outcomes.

Key Words: research-based inclusive practices for students with disabilities, teacher preparation related to special education, and co-teaching as a special education service delivery model. 

Dr. June Levitt

Communication Sciences & Disorders

My research interests reside in the areas of motor speech disorders and cognitive problems. My current study is focused on the remediation of communication disorders and its impact on the quality of life, and it is unfolding to the relationship between cognitive functions and communication.

Key Words: motor speech disorder, cognitive assessment, and neurogenetic communication disorders.

Dr. Chin-Nu Lin

Nursing- Dallas

My research and teaching focus have been on mental health. I focus on the cognitive development and assessment when encountering patients and students to provide appropriate interventions and learning strategies. I apply and integrate the concepts and skills of "self-efficacy" to motivate patients to achieve treatment goals and learning objectives. 

Key Words: cognitive development/assessment, mechanism of adaptation, and self-efficacy.

Dr. Catherine Lynch

Communication Sciences & Disorders

There is extensive research on the benefits of developing phonemic awareness and reading readiness in English. Our current research interest asks what are the benefits of increased exposure to rhyming and other phonological awareness strategies in Spanish speaking and bilingual students. Would the cognitive flexibility identified in the bilingual brain transfer those skills over to English as they transition in schools.

Key Words: cognitive Flexibility and bilingual populations, effective bilingual assessment procedures addressing over & under identification of children with language disorders, and phonemic awareness in the developing bilingual brain.

Dr. Denise Maricle

Psychology & Philosophy

Evaluating the reliability and validity of assessment instruments for measuring neuropsychological constructs and processes in children.

Key Words: neuropsychological assessment, cognitive assessment, neurocognitive constructs and disorders.

Dr. Jyutika Mehta

Communication Sciences & Disorders

Investigating the neural correlates of speech and language disorders using electrophysiological techniques in adults and children. Current research involves investigating the efficacy of neuromodulation procedures such as Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) with behavioral (cognitive neuropsychological measures) and electrophysiological measures, specifically, event-related potentials (ERPs

Page last updated 12:14 PM, October 7, 2020