Faculty Areas of Expertise

Cyndi DiCarlo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Education
Dr. DiCarlo’s research is centered on interventions to assist early childhood teachers in designing effective instruction for young children and investigating recommended practices in early childhood to add to the body of literature in the field.

Emily Elliott, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Psychology
Dr. Elliott’s research expertise includes working memory and the interaction of attention with memory performance. Working memory is a temporary storage and processing system that is very important in the service of everyday cognitive activities.  Her work focuses on gaining a clearer understanding of how people can avoid distraction from irrelevant sounds in the environment, and how children and adults may differ in this ability.

Paul J. Frick, Ph.D., Roy Crumpler Memorial Chair, Psychology
Dr. Frick’s main area of expertise is in developmental psychopathology. Specifically, this includes integrating research on normal development with the study of mental health problems of children and adolescents in order to improve assessment and treatment.  A particular focus is on understanding the various pathways through which children adolescents develop serious conduct problems, including aggression and delinquency, and using this research to improve diagnosis, treatment, and public policy.

Janna B. Oetting, Ph.D., Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders/Linguistics
Dr. Oetting’s research focuses on language development and disorders in the context of dialect variation and poverty, and language testing across cultures and the lifespan. 

Amanda Staiano, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Research – Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior
Dr. Staiano is a developmental psychologist in pediatric obesity with an interest in technology-mediated physical activity interventions to target children who are most at-risk for obesity and chronic disease. Her research has examined how technological devices like exergames (i.e. activity-promoting video games) affect youths’ adiposity, physical activity, and eating behaviors. She has led multiple scientific investigations of adolescents’ use of exergames, including the “Wii Active” study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which was a 20-week school-based exergame intervention for overweight and obese African American adolescents, and the “Klub Kinect” project to demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of conducting a 12-week exergaming physical activity intervention for weight loss among overweight and obese adolescent girls. In the fall of 2015, Dr. Staiano’s team is launching “GameSquad,” a 6-month gaming intervention for children aged 10 to 12 years, funded by the American Heart Association. As Roadmap Scholar for the NIH-funded Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LA CaTS), Dr. Staiano is also examining the influence of sedentary time, specifically television viewing, on young adults’ eating attitudes, obesity, and cardiometabolic risk factors. Drawing from her public policy training, Dr. Staiano participates in scientific advocacy at the national, state, and local level. Lab website :http://labs.pbrc.edu/pediatric-obesity 

George M. Strain, Ph.D., Professor, Neuroscience
Dr. Strain’s research focuses on Assessment of sensory neurologic function in both neonates and geriatric subjects, with special focus on auditory function. Techniques include auditory evoked potentials (BAER), other tests of auditory function (tympanometry, DPOAEs), EEGs, EMGs, nerve conduction velocity (NCV) measurements, and other sensory evoked potentials.

Georgianna Tuuri, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Dr. Tuuri examines food preferences and develops and tests nutrition and exercise interventions to promote healthy diets and active lifestyles. She conducts community-based, obesity-prevention research with children and caregivers. She is currently partnering with colleagues in Kinesiology and Workforce Readiness to develop and test a comprehensive program for high-school-aged youth that promotes healthful behaviors and preparation for future careers.

Brian A. Irving, Assistant Professor, School of Kinesiology
Dr. Irving’s  laboratory is interested in developing a more thorough understanding of the short- and long-term metabolic and proteomic adaptions to exercise, dietary, medical interventions in young and old adults at risk for or with cardiometabolic diseases. Specifically, he is interested in skeletal muscle adaptations that provide protection against cardiometabolic diseases (e.g., type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and peripheral vascular disease).  His laboratory is also interested in understanding the independent and combined effects of prolonged sitting and physical inactivity have on skeletal muscle and whole-body physiology.  Finally, the laboratory is interested identifying mechanisms of exercise intolerance and functional impairment in overweight/obese older adults.

Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, Associate Professor, School of Education
Dr. Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell is Associate Professor of Literacy and Urban Education at Louisiana State University in the College of Human Sciences and Education’s School of Education. She is the current editor of the Literacy & Social Responsibility eJournal, a journal of the International Reading Association. Sulentic Dowell’s research agenda includes three strands and is focused on literacy in urban settings, specifically: 1) the complexities in literacy leadership, 2) providing access to literature and promoting voluntary free reading, and 3) service-learning as a pathway to prepare pre-service teachers to teach reading authentically in urban environs. 


Priscilla (Lilly) Allen, Ph.D., LMSW, Professor, Social Work – LCAC
Priscilla Allen has been involved in the effort to promote psychosocial care and services in the long term care arena, formerly serving as a Board member of LEADER LA Enhancing Aging with Dignity through Empowerment and Respect. Culture change in nursing home environments. She publishes and presents in the area of meaningful care, reduction of psychotropic medications with persons diagnosed with dementia, and works with a variety of providers and practitioners to provide gero-focused social work to designees and social work staff in the long term care setting.

Katie E. Cherry, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology – LCAC

Dr. Cherry’s research expertise is the psychology of aging.  Her primary research interests include memory processes in healthy aging and interdisciplinary studies of healthy aging in the oldest-old.  Her work also includes studies of adult development and aging in the context of natural and technological disaster, with edited volumes onLifespan Perspectives on Natural Disasters (Springer, 2009) and Traumatic Stress and Long-Term Recovery (Springer, 2015).   In 2002, she was awarded the Emogene Pliner Distinguished Professor of Aging Studies professorship for her contributions to the field of adult development and aging.  She is a co-investigator in the Louisiana Health Aging Study (LHAS), which was funded by the National Institute on Aging to examine the determinants of longevity and healthy aging in the in the oldest-old.

Jan M. Hondzinski, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology
Dr. Hondzinski’s major research involve the study of motor control and sensorimotor integration in adults of all ages and different neurological functioning. She studies the effects of gaze direction, sensory alterations, or neurodegeneration on movement of the whole body or body segments which can be used to better understand the control strategies used and improve rehabilitation strategies for individuals with deficits due to normal aging or pathology, such as vestibular loss, peripheral neuropathy, and Parkinson’s disease.