School of Behavioral, Brain Sciences Adds Interim Dean, New Faculty

Dr. James Bartlett

Dr. James Bartlett

Dr. James Bartlett, professor of cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology, has been named interim dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS). The school also has added three tenure-track faculty members to its ranks, two of whom focus on hearing and a third who is an expert at computational psychiatry. Each is expected to bring expertise that will help bolster the school’s academic and research programs.

Bartlett fills the role that had been held until recently by Dr. Bert Moore, who stepped down as dean after nearly 27 years. An Ashbel Smith Professor, Bartlett serves as program head of the PhD program in cognition and neuroscience. He also is a Fellow at the Center for Vital Longevity.

He knows he has big shoes to fill as he takes on the main leadership role for BBS.

“Bert Moore was brilliant at working with people and leading this school,” Bartlett said. “I hope I can do half as well as he did.”

Bartlett received his bachelor’s degree from UT Austin and his PhD from Yale University. He has been a UT Dallas professor since 1975, the year that the school opened its doors to undergraduates. He has served as dean of graduate studies and research, as well as associate dean at the School of Human Development — the predecessor to BBS.

Bartlett is known for his research on how people perceive and remember nonverbal information, including faces, melodies and visual scenes. He helped create the fields of holistic memory processing and has been at the forefront of research on eyewitness testimony, particularly in older adults.

“I want my research to help people, but at the same time, I’ve always had an instinctive desire to discover things,” he said. “I tell my students it’s like Christmas morning when they come in with new data from a completed experiment. I don’t know where that comes from — it’s just instinctive. It’s the kind of thing that brings me joy.”

Bartlett said his top objective as interim dean is to do everything he can to facilitate the appointment of a new permanent dean. He said his other tasks include continuing smooth school operations, identifying and setting goals, and representing the school in the opening of the new Bioengineering and Sciences Building and the Richardson expansion of the Callier Center for Communication Disorders. A new building for the Brain Performance Institute, which is part of the Center for BrainHealth, will open in 2017. Groundbreaking on the new facility will occur in October.

Bartlett said he is thrilled about the new BBS faculty additions.

“We are so pleased to add such outstanding researchers to the BBS faculty. Drs. Le Prell and Lobarinas bring tremendous knowledge to the audiology program at the Callier Center,” Bartlett said. “Dr. Gu will play an important role at the Center for BrainHealth, and will make substantial contributions to the academic programs in the cognition and neuroscience area within the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

“With all of our dynamic faculty members, our innovative research centers and our strong legacy, I am confident that BBS will continue to be a shining star at UT Dallas,” he said.


New Tenure-Track Faculty

Dr. Xiaosi Gu

Dr. Xiaosi Gu

Dr. Xiaosi Gu, assistant professor, computational psychiatry, Center for BrainHealth

Previously: postdoctoral position, University College London

Research Interests: computational psychiatry

Quote: “Computational psychiatry is a new and highly interdisciplinary area. Our goal is to use model-based approaches to examine the mechanisms of mental health problems and to fix these ‘broken’ processes. Two major classes of models are commonly used in computational psychiatry research: computational models and biophysical models. This requires the cross-talk between various areas such as neuroscience, psychology, medicine, economics, mathematics, biophysics and computer science, and so on. Some of our current projects focus on the neural and computational mechanisms underlying human decision-making and social interaction in both health and disease states such as addiction, through a synthesis of functional magnetic resonance imaging and computational modeling.” 

Dr. Colleen Le Prell

Dr. Colleen Le Prell

Dr. Colleen Le Prell, professor in hearing science; program head, audiology; Emilie and Phil Schepps Professorship in Hearing Science

Previously: associate professor, director of the Hearing Research Center, interim chair of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, University of Florida

Research Interests: hearing loss prevention, development of drugs to prevent hearing loss

Quote: “Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most frequent injuries among workers and soldiers, and there are concerns that the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss may be increasing in teenagers and young adults. Hearing protection devices prevent noise-induced injury to the ear. But these devices may not be available when needed, are often used incorrectly and sometimes those at risk choose not to use them either to preserve situational awareness (soldiers, police), or because of the recreational nature of the sound (concerts, nightclubs). My research program spans the scientific translational spectrum, from basic scientific investigations to identify promising therapeutic agents for prevention of noise-induced hearing loss into the assessment of promising agents into clinical trials.”

Dr. Edward Lobarinas

Dr. Edward Lobarinas

Dr. Edward Lobarinas, associate professor of hearing science

Previously: assistant professor, University of Florida

Research Interests: tinnitus, tinnitus treatment and acquired hearing loss

Quote: “Hearing disorders and tinnitus — ringing in the ears — can significantly degrade a person’s quality of life, and can have an enormous impact on learning, work productivity and relationships. My research is focused on understanding the role of hearing loss on tinnitus and other auditory disorders such as poor speech understanding in noise, and developing better diagnostics and treatment strategies.”


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].