Research and Learning Center

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Dr. Haylie Miller

University of North Texas Health Science Center

Dr. Haylie Miller is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Health Professions at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. She specializes in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and atypical neural development. Her research centers on how people of all ages use visual information and cognition to guide motor planning, modification, and execution. Dr. Miller conducts studies using mobile eye tracking, full-body motion capture, and virtual reality systems to test how atypical visuomotor integration impacts functional performance in semi-naturalistic virtual environments. Dr. Miller's commitment to the ASD community extends beyond the lab. She serves on the Texas Board of Directors for Autism Speaks and the Advisory Board for Sensory Friendly Programming at the Dallas Children's Theater, as well as a number of other local ASD-focused committees.

Dr. Nicoleta Bugnariu

University of North Texas Health Science Center

Dr. Nicoleta Bugnariu is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Research in the School of Health Professions at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. She also serves as Associate Professor in the physical therapy program, where she specializes in postural control and motor function mechanisms. Her research focuses on the underlying mechanisms controlling sensorimotor function in patients of all ages. In the Human Movement Performance laboratory at UNTHSC, she conducts studies using human robot interactions and virtual reality technology. Using the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment Network (CAREN) system, Dr. Bugnariu investigates hypotheses related to the control of balance and gait and functional movements. She also utilizes the system to develop new rehabilitation protocols.



Dr. Laura Mattingly

University of North Texas Health Science Center

Dr. Laura Mattingly developed a strong interest in science at an early age, which ultimately led her to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant (PA).  She has been a PA for the past 12 years, working in the areas of Family Medicine, Pediatrics, and Long-Term Care, and fulfilling her passion for empowering people to take control of their lives and health.  For the past 6 years, she has taught at the UNT Health Science Center Department of Physician Assistant Studies, sharing the knowledge and experience she has gained from clinical practice with future healthcare professionals. 


Dr. Lin Lin

Dr. Lin Lin
University of North Texas

Can multitasking improve your task performance?  Visitors at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History have been exploring this topic with Dr. Lin Lin, Associate Professor of Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas, as she conducts her research in the museum’s Research and Learning Center.

Lin, who received her EdD from Columbia University, became interested in multitasking as she observed students using technology.  “As soon as people started to work with technologies, they started to try to do several things at the same time…open their Internet browser, Word documents, e-mail, etc.  Most students report that they watch TV or listen to music while doing homework. People cannot resist the temptation to call or text while driving.” Lin points out that some of these dual task or task switching activities may be benign or helpful, while others can be counter-productive or life-threatening.  She hopes not only to better understand the phenomenon in different contexts, but also to find solutions to help people learn better and be more productive with technologies.

Lin’s earlier studies, published in PNAS and other journals, have highlighted the need to define the specific multitasking context.  Task switching is different from dual tasking; background multitasking is different from dual multitasking.  “Different activities require different levels of attention, cognitive load, and expertise,” says Lin. “It may be more important to tell people when and how, rather than if, they can multitask.”  Incorporating multiple research methodologies is necessary to enhance ecological validity and help solve real life problems.

Lin has found many benefits to conducting research in the RLC.  The museum environment helps her think of different studies and rethink ways to conduct studies. She is learning to communicate with people of different backgrounds and ages, and she better understands the importance of sharing her findings. After several months of working in the museum, she sees many ways to increase the potentials and overcome the challenges.  “I see active research as a core part of a museum and an important link between the museum, the researchers, and the public,” she says.

What advice does Lin have for researchers who hope to conduct a study in the RLC?  “Start with a sincere interest in helping and communicating with the public, rather than just thinking of the experience as a chance to collect data,” she says. “And be sure the study you conduct is communicative, informative and interactive.” 


Fun Fact
The Museum School was one of the first museum preschools accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

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