For the 2013-2014 academic year, one of three Cattell Fund Fellowship recipients is Stephen G. Lomber, a Professor of Physiology and Psychology at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. He received his PhD in Anatomy and Neurobiology from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1994, and has spent much of his career investigating plastic changes in the visual and auditory cortices that occur throughout the lifespan. His most recent work examines the effects of hearing loss on the cerebrum and how the remaining senses exploit the underutilized auditory cortex. “The Cattell Award will provide me with an opportunity to learn and incorporate new techniques into my research,” says Dr. Lomber, “These new experimental approaches will permit us to examine the consequences of restoring hearing to the deaf auditory cortex as well as expand our work into other animal models of human hearing”.
During his sabbatical, Lomber will continue to study the function of the auditory cortex and how the cortex responds to hearing loss. He will be spending portions of his sabbatical leave in Hannover, Germany at the Medical University of Hannover working with Professor Andrej Kral. Kral and Lomber have been collaborating for many years, but this will be their first opportunity for a period of intense collaboration examining the consequences of hearing restoration through the use of cochlear prosthetics. In the second semester of his sabbatical, Lomber will be in Philadelphia working with Professor Yale Cohen at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, Lomber will study behavioural training and testing procedures and techniques to record neural responses from auditory cortex of the behaving non-human primate. The experience that I gain in Dr. Cohen’s lab will be invaluable for assembling a non-human primate behavioral and electrophysiological recording system in our own laboratory at Western”, says Lomber.
Besides incorporating new approaches into his research, Lomber is looking forward to focusing more of his attention on his lab and his students. “I can spend more time in the laboratory directly working with my students,” he says. “I believe that you learn the most by doing and I have the most fun when I am working with enthusiastic graduate students and postdocs”.
The James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowships, created in 1974, allow researchers to extend their sabbatical leave for one or two semesters to pursue new research. Those researchers awarded the Fellowship are committed to the scientific study of human behavior and the application of psychological science to the improvement of human welfare.
James McKeen Cattell was one of the foremost pioneers of psychological science, striving throughout his career to establish psychology as an experimental science through the use of statistical methods and quantification of data. In 1921, Cattell was instrumental in the establishment of the Psychological Corporation, and, in 1942, he donated 600 of his 1,000 shares in the corporation to establish the James McKeen Cattell Fund to support “scientific research and the dissemination of knowledge with the object of obtaining results beneficial to the development of the science of psychology and to the advancement of the useful application of psychology.”
The Association for Psychological Science partners with the Cattell Fund in promoting the Fellowship program.