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Transy students conduct top-level research with new EEG system

EEG demonstration

Transylvania recently installed an electroencephalogram system to record brain data—bringing the school on par with many of the nation’s prestigious research institutes and university neuroscience labs.

“Our research capabilities with this equipment will be as competitive as any other EEG lab,” Professor of Psychology Bethany Jurs said. “In addition to our research abilities, this system will be a major asset to student learning, particularly within our growing neuroscience program.”

An EEG’s electrodes read brain waves through the scalp. Through its neurorecording, Transylvania students can explore their scientific curiosity about how our brains function and result in our conscious experience and behaviors. This complements what they learn in the classroom and makes them more competitive for graduate programs.

“The EEG system should be particularly enticing to prospective students who would like to pursue a major in neuroscience and participate in research, all within a liberal arts environment,” Jurs said.

The equipment supports a variety of cross-campus collaboration. Having an understanding of how the brain works, after all, can give students insight into behaviors and experiences that tie into various disciplines, such as neuroeconomics, music cognition and social neuroscience. “Given the collaborative nature of this campus, extending brain recordings into other fields has the potential to result in some pretty awesome projects,” Jurs said.

Senior neuroscience major Thomas Shellenberg said he is excited about the new system. “This opens up a huge opportunity for current and future students,” he said, pointing out how the close academic relationships students develop with professors at Transy increase the opportunities to use high-tech equipment like the EEG system. Shellenberg said he and his classmates will have greater access to these technologies compared to students at larger universities.

Shellenberg hopes to use the EEG system under the guidance of Jurs this spring to complete a study related to substance use. “Not only will I be able to gain valuable research experience and school credit, but I also hope to conduct research that is relevant and important to issues in society,” he said.

A representative from the neurodiagnostic medical technology company, EGI, gives an instruction on how to use the new device. (Photo by Professor of Physics Jamie Day)