Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee

Current Research: I’m working in the Perception, Performance, and Physiology Laboratory on a long-term project that collects sensorimotor function data and concussion history from athletes and analyzes that data in conjunction with on-field game statistics. The goal is to find ways in which sensorimotor function, concussion history, and sport performance correlate with one another. We hope to use any relationships we find to develop specific training methods that can improve game performance as well as concussion diagnosis and recovery protocols.

My thoughts on neuroscience education: Studying neuroscience is exciting because it’s helped me understand how people function on the most microscopic and basic level, which can then be applied to so many different fields to predict and explain behaviors in a wide array of contexts. For instance, many of the same neuroscience principles come into play in making risky economic decisions, appreciating music, and training for sports.

What jump-starts my brain: I’m fascinated by sports science, especially the long-term impacts of brain trauma in athletes who sustain concussions throughout their careers. As we learn more about the brain and concussions we can improve concussion diagnosis and treatment protocols, which will hopefully improve the long-term health of athletes.

Kelly Vittetoe is part of Duke’s class of 2017.

Originally posted on the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences website