MRRI Welcomes Two New Postdoctoral Fellows

This month, the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI) welcomed two new postdoctoral fellows to its team of scientists. Over the course of their careers, these two scientists have developed expertise in scientific domains spanning human cognition, metacognition, motor planning, cognitive neuroscience, neurolinguistics, and neuroimaging.

Cory Potts, PhD, (featured above on the left) began his fellowship at MRRI on August 3rd. Prior to accepting his new position, Dr. Potts was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bucknell University, both teaching and conducting research.  He completed his undergraduate and graduate training in Psychology at The Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Potts’s research examines interactions between cognition and action, focusing on the planning, performance, and metacognition of physical action.

In his prior work, Dr. Potts has investigated topics including the coordination of walking and reaching, comparisons of cognitive and physical effort, and the control of manual postures at various wrist angles.

His most recent research has examined the subjective experiences that accompany physical actions, such as feelings of control or agency, and the level at which actions are identified. Actions can be identified at levels ranging from higher-level, outcome-related descriptions to lower-level, movement-related descriptions.

Through his work, Dr. Potts aims to identify the factors that determine the level of action identification, how these levels of action correspond to perceived control, and how the metacognition of action can be used to improve outcomes for people who have impaired movement.

During his time at MRRI, Dr. Potts will be mentored by Associate Director Laurel Buxbaum, PsyD, and Institute Scientist Shailesh Kantak, PhD, PT.

Haley Dresang, PhD, (featured above on the right) started her fellowship on August 17th. Dr. Dresang completed her undergraduate training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in Communication Sciences and Disorders as well as Spanish Language and Hispanic Studies. She was recently awarded her PhD in Communication Science & Disorders from the University of Pittsburgh and served as a Visiting Professor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Dr. Dresang’s research aims to elucidate how healthy and disordered brains process language and recruit semantic memory to support language processing. Her goal is to improve our understanding of cognitive and communication impairments caused by brain injury.

In her dissertation research, Dr. Dresang examined the cortical systems responsible for core language and memory processes, particularly semantic memory for actions and events. Her recent research has used cutting-edge neuroimaging methods and behavioral measures to identify how conceptual and linguistic processes are related and may be dissociated.

Through her research program, Dr. Dresang aims to characterize the cognitive and neural networks underpinning action and event semantic knowledge in language processing, and also to investigate the neuroplasticity and reorganization of these networks post-stroke.

Her long-term goal is to advance our knowledge of how semantic memory for actions and events can facilitate language recovery and successful communication strategies in adults with neurogenic communication disorders.

Dr. Dresang will be mentored by MRRI Associate Director, Laurel Buxbaum, PsyD, and Roy H. Hamilton MD, MS, Associate Professor at The University of Pennsylvania.

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