One-on-One with Tier One: Drs. Nicolás Kanellos and Carolina Villarroel

For the past two decades, Dr. Nicolás Kanellos, Brown Foundation professor of Hispanic Studies and Director of Arte Público Press at

Dr. Nicolas Kanellos (above) is a Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston.

Dr. Nicolas Kanellos (above) is a Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies at the UH

the University of Houston (UH), has been working in collaboration with researchers around the world to collect and restore thousands of historic documents written by Latinos prior to 1960. Since its inception, the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project has aimed to provide access to rare texts that enrich our national culture and expand our breadth of knowledge on the contributions of the Latino community. Recently, Kanellos and Dr. Carolina Villarroel, Director of Research for the project, sat down with us to discuss the project’s history and its continued success. Continue reading

One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. J. Leigh Leasure

Dr. J. Leigh Leasure

Dr. J. Leigh Leasure

Approximately 18 million people in the U.S. have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol consumption can lead to such symptoms as blurred vision, impaired memory and gait, decreased reaction time and slurred speech, which can become evident after just one or two drinks and diminish after drinking has ceased. However, for those who have an AUD or participate in binge episodes, alcohol consumption may lead to long-term brain deficits that linger long after drinking. As a result, methods to help recover from alcohol-induced cognitive insufficiencies are of importance to clinicians. Dr. J. Leigh Leasure, associate professor of developmental psychology and Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston (UH), received a $407,500 award from the NIAAA to investigate the restorative effects of exercise post binge drinking. Continue reading

One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Ferenc Bunta

Drs. Jennifer Wickesberg and Ferenc Bunta

Drs. Jennifer Wickesberg and Ferenc Bunta

Dr. Ferenc Bunta, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Houston (UH), was awarded a $450,000 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to study phonological acquisition in bilingual children who use cochlear implants. Currently, this population is underserved because little is known about their speech and language development and there are no existing measures that can assess their abilities accurately. Bunta and his research team are working in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Wickesberg, adjunct assistant professor at UH and Director of Audiology at The Center for Hearing and Speech, to investigate how bilingual children with cochlear implants develop speech and language.

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One-on-One with Tier One: Dr. Clayton Neighbors

Dr. Clayton Neighbors

Dr. Clayton Neighbors

In the United States, alcohol consumption is a common occurrence. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states approximately 72 percent of men and 60 percent of women reported consuming at least one adult beverage in the past year. While greater than four or five drinks per day can be considered heavy drinking for adults, it is alarming that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 90 percent of all alcohol consumed by underage drinkers is in the form of a binge episode. According to the CDC, individuals between the ages of 12 to 20 years old consume 11 percent of the total amount of the alcohol consumed in the United States. As underage drinking contributes to 4,300 annual deaths and approximately 189,000 emergency room visits among this age group, methods to understand youth drinking patterns is imperative, particularly on college campuses. Dr. Clayton Neighbors, professor in the Department of Psychology, Director of Social Psychology, and Director of the Social Influences and Health Behaviors Lab at the University of Houston (UH), received a five-year $114,528 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop implicit measures to uncover the mechanisms that can predict hazardous drinking on college campuses. Continue reading

One-on-One with Tier One: Amanda Venta, Carolyn Ha and Dr. Carla Sharp

Dr. Carla Sharp, Carolyn Ha and Amanda Venta

Dr. Carla Sharp, Carolyn Ha and Amanda Venta

Oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone in the brain, has been the subject of multiple recent studies within psychology. Amanda Venta and Carolyn Ha, doctoral candidates in the Child and Family track of the Clinical Psychology Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston, received awards from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study the effects of intranasal oxytocin on attachment and social cognition in adolescents. Though commonly thought of as a love hormone, the researchers hope to uncover oxytocin’s effects on participant’s attachment and social cognition in the context of significant relationships. Dr. Carla Sharp, associate professor of clinical psychology and director of the Developmental Psychopathology Lab at the University of Houston, will serve as their advisor and guide the researchers as they work in collaboration with other students in the UH Developmental Psychopathology Lab and clinicians at a local inpatient treatment facility.

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