Behavioral Neuroscience Faculty
Melissa Burns-Cusato joined Centre’s faculty in 2006, and is Elizabeth Molloy Dowling Associate Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience. In 2010, she was named a Centre Scholar. Before coming to Centre, Dr. Burns-Cusato taught in the psychology department at Texas Christian University, and then conducted post-doctoral research in the Neuroscience program at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Burns-Cusato’s research interests include the formation and maintenance of monogamous relationships in birds and the mechanisms involved in maintaining nesting behavior throughout a breeding season. Additionally, Dr. Burns-Cusato investigates anti-predator behavior of free-ranging Caribbean green monkeys while teaching Centre students field research techniques in Barbados.
She has published her research in a variety of peer-reviewed journals including Behavior, Physiology & Behavior, Journal of Comparative Psychology, Psychobiology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, and Genes, Brain, & Behavior.
She holds a B.A. degree in animal behavior from Southwestern University and a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin.
To read about her CentreTerm course in Barbados, “Research in Primate Behavior,” click here.
To read about a recent grant that Dr. Burns-Cusato received, click here.
File last updated: 5/2/13
Brian Cusato joined Centre’s faculty in 2006 as assistant professor of psychology, and became an associate professor and Centre Scholar in 2009. In 2016, Cusato was named associate academic dean of the College.
Dr. Cusato’s research interests concern the behavioral mechanisms of learning in animals. He is most interested in adaptive specializations in learning, and the integration of biological, comparative, and evolutionary approaches to the study of learned behavior. Most of his experiments investigate how learning occurs in the sexual behavior system, and how animals learn about the species typical cues they experience during naturally occurring social interactions. This is a novel approach to the study of learning—general enough to apply across species, yet specific enough to reflect the evolutionary history and genetics of particular species and individuals. The work is revealing sex differences in learned behavior and the importance of learning in ecologically relevant social situations. Cusato’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, and findings from his experiments have been published in numerous journals including Animal Learning and Behavior, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Behavioural Processes, The International Journal of Comparative Psychology, and Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.
Cusato received a B.A. in psychology from Muhlenberg College, a master’s degree from Bucknell University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
File last updated: 8/2/13
Karin Gill joined Centre’s faculty in 2015 as visiting assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience, becoming assistant professor in 2016.
Her research interests include the investigation of sex hormones and their role in drug abuse and dependence, particularly how sex hormones affect brain mechanisms when exposed to psychostimulants in female Japanese quail.
Gill received a B.S. in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, an M.S. and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology: behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology from the University of Kentucky.
Aaron Godlaski joined Centre’s faculty in 2012 as an assistant professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Kentucky, where he studied alcohol and human behavior. Following the completion of his dissertation, he interned at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., specializing in clinical health psychology and outpatient psychotherapy.
Godlaski’s research interests include the effects of mindfulness meditation on cognitive and physiological processes, and the effects of alcohol on human behavior. He is also interested in pedagogical innovations associated with meditation and other contemplative practices, and how such practices can enrich the lives of students.
File last updated: 2/19/16
KatieAnn Skogsberg joined Centre’s faculty in 2008. She is an associate professor of psychobiology, and was named a Centre Scholar in 2013.
Before coming to Centre, Skogsberg taught courses in psychology at Northwestern University, where she earned both her M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology: brain, behavior, and cognition.
Her research interests include individual and group differences in visual attention abilities, and the efficacy of behavioral and biofeedback training for enhancing attentional abilities and the remediation of attentional deficits.Her collaborative research focuses on the use of electroencephalography (EEG) to study patterns of brain activity related to attention, and performance on visual attention tasks, specifically the effects of energy drinks on VATs, and also the effects of concussions on VATs. Her work also includes survey research on concussion knowledge and what motivates athletes to return to play after sustaining a concussion. To read more about Skogsberg’s research go to Centre College research on energy drinks creates buzz and Athletes not willing to report concussions, say RICE presentation researchers.
She graduated from Boise State University with a B.A. in theatre arts and a B.S. in psychology, with a biology minor.
File last updated: 8/27/15