Amy Poremba, PhD

amy-poremba
Psychology
Associate Professor
Summary statement: 

Neurobiology of learning and memory; auditory system and multisensory interactions

Office phone: 
(319) 335-0372
Office building: 
SSH

The goal of our research is to understand how the central nervous system performs the complex functions underlying learning and memory by mapping metabolic and electrical activity within and between functional groups of cells. Is there one central learning circuit for sensory information or are there several circuits depending on the type of learning and/or the sensory modality? Our laboratory group is identifying the neural functional maps underlying various types of learning including delay nonmatching to sample (DNMS), classical and operant conditioning using auditory and visual stimuli. By using whole brain metabolic mapping techniques such as 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) autoradiography and cytochrome oxidase (C.O.) histochemistry, the neural circuit differences between auditory versus visual stimuli, classical and operant conditioning, and acquisition vs. maintenance, of behavioral patterns using a variety of sensory cues are being delineated. The neural circuits that are identified with metabolic mapping techniques are then verified and refined in rodents and primates through permanent lesion and temporary inactivation studies as well as neuronal recording studies.

“I am from Taiwan, which means in addition to learning neuroscience, I also need to learn the language and culture of the United States. Iowa, especially the neuroscience program, provides me with an extremely friendly environment in which to learn. People in the program are warm, open-minded, and very willing to help me with my language questions, culture shock, homesickness, etc. In Taiwan, we say, “When you are home, you rely on your family; when you are not home, you rely on your friends. ” I made many friends in Iowa. In school, we help each other with classes and research. After school, we go out together, play sports together, and every once in a while, travel together (to nearby big cities and to conferences). Pursuing a Ph.D. degree is a long and difficult process. I am so glad that I came to Iowa for my degree because my friends and advisers here have been the always, most immediate, and most helpful support to me.”