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Ashley Blackwell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

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The organization of behavior at manipulatory (reach-to-grasp) and ambulatory (spatial navigation) scales is important for everyday life. These naturally occurring behaviors are robust and highly organized by multiple sources of information (motivational, temporal, spatial, motoric). Dr. Ashley Blackwell’s research examines the neural basis of these behaviors, including how their organization changes throughout the lifespan (across development and into old age) and with neuropathology (stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, alcohol use, radiation exposure, sleep disruptions). A combination of behavioral, electrophysiological, histological, and computational techniques are used to answer questions about the brain and behavior in rodent models and humans. By implementing translational assessments that are sensitive to detecting behavioral changes early in disease progression, Dr. Blackwell strives to increase diagnostic and preventative options and to develop and implement more effective treatments. Dr. Blackwell currently has funding from NASA to investigate the effects of space flight stressors (deep space radiation and sleep disruptions) on neural activity, cognition and sensorimotor function in a rodent model.