ISU Headlines

Idaho State University’s Michele Brumley lands $164,000 NIH grant to study motor coordination

Posted April 26, 2010

Idaho State University’s Michele Brumley, an assistant professor of Experimental Psychology, has been awarded a $164,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.  The funded project will examine the development of motor coordination during infancy in newborn rats, and has implications for the treatment of human infants born with motor or neurological problems.


Michele Brumley“With this grant we will be looking at how sensorimotor experience shapes motor behavior and skill acquisition during early development,” Brumley said.

Brumley’s lab team will investigate how forms of motor practice, such as stepping on a treadmill, may facilitate motor coordination during infancy. “For example, we want to see if enhanced sensory stimulation will improve or facilitate the development of motor patterns, such as locomotion,” she said. Forms of more naturalistic experience, such as patterns of maternal-infant interaction, also will be explored.

Basic research on neurobehavioral development, such as this, is essential because it fosters improvements in diagnostic tools, therapeutic interventions and cures for developmental motor and neurological disorders. Before coming to Idaho State University in 2007, Brumley was a postdoctoral researcher at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami in Florida.

Brumley’s lab team at Idaho State University consists of two graduate and 10 undergraduate students. “This grant will provide valuable training opportunities for students, which illustrates how research contributes to teaching at ISU,” Brumley said. In March, Brumley was recognized as an Outstanding Master Teacher at Idaho State University.

The title of her grant is “Experiential modulation of action patterns in the developing rat” and was awarded in this month.

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Idaho State University, a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution founded in 1901, educates approximately 15,000 students per year in more than 280 programs. It is Idaho’s lead institution in health professions and medical education. Its seven colleges engage in a broad range of innovative research, teaching, and learning in the natural and physical sciences, humanities, performing and visual arts, education, engineering, business, pharmacy, and technology. Visit ISU today at www.isu.edu.