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. Christopher Bolinger

Communication Sciences and Oral Health 

I am interestested 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 cogntion, theoretical implications linked to functional cognition, and patient outcomes and functioal cognition.

Dr. Connie Briggs

Reading Education

Interested in assigning K-1 students identified as exhibiting dyslexia tendencies to an early literacy intervention program for 12-20 weeks to monitor process in literacy processing and retest for dyslexia tendencies. 

Key Words: cognitive assessment, early literacy assessment, and dyslexia identification. 

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’sdisease, 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, andc ultured 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.

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. Matthew Henley


Drawing on my doctoral studies in Educational Psychology: Learning Sciences and my decades long professional career as a dancer and dance educator, my research uncovers and investigates relationships between the moving body and cognitive ability. Translating and applying conceptual frameworks and empirical findings from cognitive psychology, developmental
psychology, and neuroscience to dance education contexts, I seek to advocate for diverse ways of knowing that are associated with and developed by a education in dance and the arts more broadly.

Key Words: dance and cognition, embodied cognition, learning sciences

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. 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. 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 assessent, and neurogenetic communication disorders.

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). 

Key Words: Noninvasive brain stimulation & neuromodulation, electrophysiological assessment, neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr. Diane Myers

Teacher Education (Special Education)

Empirically-supported interventions to increase socially appropriate behavior for students at the school-wide, class-wide, and individual student levels and the connection between behavioral and academic needs for student with emotional and behavioral disorders.

Key Words: behavioral assessment, emotional and behavioral disorders, and positive behavioral interventions.

Dr. Marsha Neville

Occupational Therapy

Understanding the mechanisms between cognitive functioning and its impact on engagement and how engagement impacts cognitive functioning. Factors explored in environmental demand, active problem solving, and saliency.

Key Words: engagement and cognition, cognition and self-efficacy, and mechanisms underlying new learning post stroke.

Heather Roberts


Occupational Therapy

My research focuses on improving upper limb functionfor children with cerebral palsy using a variety of evidenced based interventions specifically constraint induced movement therapy with and without the use of a virtual reality exoskeleton. I have also collaborated with Dr. Wendi Johnson in providing occupation based assessment for children with developmental disabilities.

Key Words: constraint induced movement therapy, evidence-based interventions, and occupation-based assessment. 

Dr. Martin G. Rosario

Physical Therapy - Dallas

Assessing and understanding the impact of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) on the Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System during motor-cognitive (dual tasks) interaction. Our goal is to appraise and improve functional tasks (walking and standing) and the prevention of falls and injury in people living with HIV.

Key Words: motor-cognitive interaction, dynamic and static postural control, and HIV dementia and neuropathy assessment.

Dr. Theresa M. Smith

Occupational Therapy

Best practice for cognitive rehabilitation for mild impairments of cancer survivors and the determination of the percentage of lympedema patients with cognitive impairment status post cancer treatment. 

Key Words: computer-assisted cognitive rehabilitation, eye movement and attention, and multisensory input effects on mild cognitive deficits. 

Dr. Chad Swank

Physical Therapy

Applying neuromodulation interventions (i.e. tDCS) and
assessing the motor-cognitive interplay (i.e. dual task) during functional daily activities. Our goal is to improve functional mobility in people with neurologic disorders and executive function deficits.

Key Words: motor-cognitive interplay, neuromodulation, and executive function.

Dr. Asha Vas

Occupational Therapy

Integrating principles of cognitive neuroscience into functionally relevant cognitive assessments and enhancement programs, both in healthy adults and in adults with brain injuries.

Key Words: cognitive assessment (executive functions), cognitive training/rehabilitation/remediation (top-down approaches), and functional cognition-brain injury.




Page last updated 7:39 AM, October 10, 2018