Faculty

Sarah M. Conklin (Associate Professor of Psychology; Chair of Neuroscience Program), B.A., Edinboro University; M.S.,University of New Orleans; Ph.D., Baylor University. Teaching and Research: health psychology.

Rodney Clark (Professor of Psychology), B.A., California State University-Long Beach; M.A., Ph.D., Western Michigan University. Teaching and Research: behavioral pharmacology, operant behavior, drugs and society, biomedical ethics.

E. Lee Coates (Professor of Biology), B.A., University of Montana; Ph.D., University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Teaching and Research: sensory neurophysiology, control of breathing, comparative animal physiology.

Allison Connell Pensky (Assistant Professor of Psychology), B.A., Arizona State University; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.  Teaching and Research: cognitive psychology, visual-spatial attention, human electrophysiology (EEG), haptic perception and blindness.

Jeffrey Cross (Professor of Psychology), B.A., Allegheny College; M.A., Ph.D., West Virginia University. Teaching and Research: physiological psychology, animal models of psychopathology,  CNS tissue transplantation, neural correlates of learning.

Christine Donmoyer (Assistant Professor of Biology), B.A. Elizabethtown College; Ph.D., Vanderbilt University. Teaching and Research: animal physiology, vitamin A metabolism and retina function.

Lauren B. French (Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of Biology), B.A., Oberlin College; Ph.D., Cornell University. Teaching and Research: molecular neuroscience, ion channel development and receptor gene sequences and operation.

Jeffrey Hollerman (Associate Professor of Psychology), B.S., Allegheny College; M.S., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh. Teaching and Research: neurophysiology and anatomy of motivational and cognitive systems.

Ann Kleinschmidt (Professor of Biology), B.S., University of Wisconsin; Ph.D., University of California (Los Angeles). Teaching and Research: eukaryotic gene regulation; molecular biology.

Ronald Mumme (Professor of Biology), B.S., University of South Florida; Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley). Teaching and Research: behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology.

Susan Rankin (Professor of Biology), B.A., Ph.D., University of Texas (Austin). Teaching and Research: regulation of animal reproduction, mechanisms of hormone action, physiology of behavior.

Faculty Research and Grants

Allegheny College is fortunate to have a first-rate Office of Foundation & Corporate Relations that helps faculty identify funding sources for projects, aids in proposal preparation, and provides assistance throughout the duration of a grant. Some previous grants from neuroscience faculty are listed below.

Lee Coates, professor of biology and neuroscience was awarded more than $98,000 by the National Institutes of Health to fund a research project titled “Nasal CO2 Receptors and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).” This project investigates the role of olfactory CO2 chemoreceptors in a ventilatory reflex that inhibits breathing when CO2 is elevated in the nasal passages. Dr. Coates and his students are investigating the changes that occur in this reflex during development, using rats and mice as an animal model.

Lee Coates was also the director of a W.M. Keck Foundation grant ($400,000) titled: “Ways of knowing and habits of mind: Exploring the intersection between neuroscience and the humanities.” The grant funded four new interdisciplinary courses: “Neuroscience and Dance Movement,” “Neuroscience of the Visual Arts,” “Mind and Brain” and “History of Neuroscience.” In addition to funding the development of the new curriculum, the grant provided for technological equipment, supplies for senior research projects, support for faculty and students to attend professional conferences, and an outreach program that allowed the College to more actively pursue presentations at other institutions and regional schools.

Jeff Cross, professor of psychology and neuroscience was the director of a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. HHMI in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, provided $600,000 to support the neuroscience program at Allegheny. Used to create two new faculty positions in biology and psychology, this grant funded a summer research program in neuroscience, laboratory equipment, and a pre-college and career development program for minority students.

Allison Connell Pensky is the project director for the development of an electroencephalography (EEG) research laboratory being funded through an $85,000 grant from the Orris C. Hirtzel and Beatrice Dewey Hirtzel Memorial Foundation. The EEG laboratory will benefit both research and teaching experiences on campus. Pensky had an article published in Perception (volume 43). “Effects of using multiple hands and fingers on haptic performance in individuals who are blind” reports data collected with collaborators from UC Berkeley and the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute. The article discusses how blind individuals benefit from the use of multiple fingers and hands when interacting with tactile maps and that this benefit surpasses those you see in sighted participants.

Susan Rankin, professor of biology and neuroscience, was awarded more than $300,000 from the National Science Foundation to conduct research titled “Regulation of Reproduction in an Insect.” Rankin, collaborating with Allegheny students, is investigating reproduction in earwigs. The research covers a variety of levels of biology and neuroscience and allows students to creatively propose their own hypotheses and test them utilizing appropriate techniques that are of interest to them, such as microsurgery, histology, physiology, biochemistry, development, and immunology.