New Hires Strengthen BBS’ Expertise in Neuroscience, Psychology

Dr. James Bartlett

Dr. James Bartlett

Two new assistant professors have joined the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) faculty this fall, and one is a familiar face.

Dr. Michael Burton, added as an assistant professor of neuroscience, has been a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Texas at Dallas since 2015. He joins Dr. Jiyoung Park, assistant professor of psychology, as new tenure-track professors in BBS this semester.

Park’s research aims to understand the temporal sequence of emotional processing — ranging from initial, automatic reactions to slower, more consciously accessible feelings — and their downstream consequences for health and well-being. Burton’s work focuses on how the immune system influences the nervous system to regulate pain and other behaviors.

In 2016, while working under Dr. Ted Price, Burton received a prestigious K22 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his research on specific mechanisms involved in exaggerating pain or creating pain hypersensitivity. Burton moved to Dallas in 2012 to begin a postdoctoral fellowship at UT Southwestern Medical Center in the Division of Hypothalamic Research.

“The fusion of these two experiences, at UT Southwestern and UT Dallas, formed the basis for Michael’s recent NIH Transition-to-Faculty Award,” said Dr. James Bartlett, Ashbel Smith Professor and interim BBS dean. “We are fortunate that Michael accepted an assistant professorship in our cognition and neuroscience program, where his NIH award will facilitate his research as he begins his contributions to our teaching mission.”

Park will teach courses related to culture, emotion, neuroscience, health and well-being, including Cultural Psychology, Emotion and Emotion Regulation, Health Psychology and Social/Affective Neuroscience.

“Her two related lines of research concern the exploration of how sociocultural environments shape each step of the sequence of emotions we experience,” Bartlett said, “and the understanding of the psychosocial conditions that allow people to adaptively regulate their emotions in a way that promotes health and well-being.”


New Tenure-Track Faculty

Dr. Michael Burton

Dr. Michael Burton

Dr. Michael Burton, assistant professor of neuroscience

Previously: postdoctoral researcher, UT Dallas 

Research interests: how the immune system interacts with the nervous system to mediate the transition from acute to chronic pain 

Quote: “Just when you think you’re done for the day, your passion pulls you back in. Then, you grind harder because new discoveries are more elusive now more than ever … but this is why we do what we do.”

Dr. Jiyoung Park

Dr. Jiyoung Park

Dr. Jiyoung Park, assistant professor of psychology

Previously: assistant professor, University of Massachusetts 

Research interests: emotional processing and its consequences on health and well-being; cultural modulation of emotional processing; cultural and affective neuroscience

Quote: “Negative experiences are an unavoidable part of life. We sometimes experience social rejection or loss of a loved one. We also often have a conflict with those around us or realize that we fail to live up to our ideals. In response to such negative events, we experience a cascade of emotional responses, ranging from initial, automatic reactions, to slower, more consciously accessible feelings and behavioral expressions.

“With members of the Culture and Affective Neuroscience Lab (CANLab), I use methods from neuroscience, psychophysiology and behavioral sciences to understand this sequence of emotional processing and its downstream consequences on health and well-being. Specifically, my research aims to explore how various forms of sociocultural environments modulate each step of the emotional sequence in an attempt to understand individual differences in emotional processing."


New Faculty Series

News Center is publishing profiles of tenured and tenure-track professors who have recently joined the University. The following school profiles have been published:

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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