York psychology Professor Shayna Rosenbaum is the 2014 recipient of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS) Early Career Award for her research on learning and memory in patients with memory impairment.
The CSBBCS Early Career Award recognizes the exceptional quality and importance of a new researcher’s contributions to knowledge in brain, behaviour and cognitive science in Canada. It was first awarded in 2011.
“It is truly an honour to receive this recognition from colleagues within my field of study. This award recognizes research that my students and I have conducted with healthy adults and memory-impaired patients to better understand how memory is organized in the brain and how different types of memories change when normal brain function is disrupted,” says Rosenbaum of York’s Faculty of Health.
Rosenbaum and colleagues have studied one of the most severe cases of episodic amnesia on record and found that the individual still understands the concept of time and “can orient himself with respect to his personal past and future.” He is also able to make decisions about his future despite difficulties imagining specific future events. The article "Individuals with episodic amnesia are not stuck in time" was published online in the journal Neuropsychologia on March 26.
Rosenbaum is also lead author on the article "Case studies continue to illuminate the cognitive neuroscience of memory," published in May in the Annals of The New York Academy of Sciences, which looks at the importance of studying single and multiple patient cases. These cases are responsible for much of what is known about brain-behaviour relationships, she says.
Much of her research is focused on memory and learning. “We are continuing to combine fMRI and sensitive cognitive paradigms to help specify the function of the hippocampal memory system, which is known for its role in memory,” says Rosenbaum.
“Recent research in my lab is identifying the extent to which the hippocampus is needed for other abilities, such as semantic learning, decision making and social abilities. We are harnessing this knowledge to develop strategies to help healthy adult and clinical populations manage in the face of memory loss and optimize learning in the workplace.”
Her most recent research – with former York grad student Janet Green, current graduate student Tina Weston and York psychology Professor Melody Wiseheart – on the spacing effect as “an effective and clinically meaningful memory intervention technique” is forthcoming in the American Psychological Association journal Neuropsychology.
Other neuroimaging and patient studies conducted in her lab have shown that, contrary to conventional views, the hippocampus is needed for supporting some aspects of remote spatial memory.
Rosenbaum has published more than 40 papers, including articles in Science, Nature Neuroscience and the Journal of Neuroscience. She previously received the Canadian Association for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award.
More information about Rosenbaum and her research can be found on her Cognitive Neuroscience Lab website.