Bruce McCandliss: Educational Neuroscience: How Education Shapes Brain Development

Watch video of Bruce McCandliss, the Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair of Psychology and Human Development, speaking at the Commencement 2011 Faculty Seminars.

McCandliss carries out research that seeks to connect our understanding about changes in children’s brain structure and function to specific aspects of education. This work asks questions such as how educational learning experiences reshape the brain networks that support a child’s basic cognitive skills such as paying attention, reading and mathematics. He is well known for his basic laboratory-based research on the brain mechanisms of attention and studies of how specific learning experiences can change brain activity patterns related to reading skills, yet also for carrying out educational research in school-based studies to investigate the impact of these ideas in “real-world” educational interventions. His research with children and adults include several ways of looking at brain function and structure, including fMRI, ERP and DTI studies of the brain mechanisms that help explain individual differences in basic cognitive skills, including those with special needs.

Dr. McCandliss has published over 50 scientific papers across the fields of neuroscience, psychology, education, and developmental disabilities. He has received several awards including induction in Phi Beta Kappa, the John Merck Scholars Award in the Biology of Developmental Disabilities in Children, and a commendation from the President of the United States (PECASE-award) for outstanding contributions to science. He received his PhD from the University of Oregon in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience before going on for advanced post-doctoral training in neuroimaging at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. In 1999 he became a founding faculty member of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Currently, Dr. McCandliss is a full Professor at Vanderbilt University, where he holds the Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair of Psychology and Human Development and serves as the director of the Educational Neuroscience Lab, and serves on the steering committee for the Vanderbilt Educational Neuroscience Initiative.