Dr. Joey Dunsmoor in the Department of Psychiatry has earned a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation.
The CAREER award Program offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. The award provides funds for Dr. Dunsmoor’s research proposal entitled “Implications of a neurobiological model of memory for education: how novelty exposure transforms poor learning into durable memories.” The goal of the research is to understand the conditions by which poor learning can be transformed into a durable memory, with the ultimate goal of improving educational outcomes. The project leverages behavioral neuroscience research in rodents to investigate how weak memories can be enhanced through exposure to novelty around the time of learning. This idea that novelty exposure retroactively strengthens memory for prior experiences has challenged common assumptions about how animals learn and remember information. It also raises a host of intriguing and important questions on how to harness novelty exposure in humans to improve memory for information that is prone to forgetting.