Past Projects

Immediately below is a brief overview of my research. A list of publications and presentations can be obtained by scrolling down this page. 

I have conducted research at a variety of institutions. Initially, my research focused on parents with disabilities and how they felt about their parenting considering the challenges they faced with mental health. This research was conducted at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Later, while at Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies (HCQCUS), which is affiliated with the Houston (Michael E. DeBakey) Veteran Affairs Medical Center, I participated in a large team project studying a variety of aspects of the function of those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our main focus was the co-occurence of depression and PTSD.

Beginning in 2008, my focus changed to consider genetic influences on cognition, with a particular focus on the ability to pay attention. Most of these studies were conducted at Rice University, with some subjects being seen at the Waisman Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In essence, I analyzed individual differences in response times (RTs) to a target when it is preceded by either invalid (distracting) or valid (non-distracting) stimuli. Several RT-based outcomes have shown significant differences by genotype even after we accounted for other effects.  That is, I have found genetic differences using mean RT adjusted for baseline RT and for the slope of RT change over the task. For slope of RT change, we found that some subjects (with a certain genotype) got faster over the course of the task while others did not. These individual differences depended on which version of at least one gene (e.g., DAT1, a dopamine-related gene) that the individual possessed. 

Because I am particularly interested in development, my most recent studies include children as subjects. Some studies have a longitudinal component in that the children who participate as infants are followed to track later performance on similar tasks and related outcomes such as school performance. Studying children as well as in older adults is important because, while a child’s genotype does not change over the course of his or her life, gene expression can change and the association of a marker with reflexive attention could differ at different points in the lifespan. The time period from infancy to early childhood is of particular interest because this is when attentional disorders often first become apparent. We found not only that typically developing children show differences on the reflexive attention tasks dependent on their genotypes, but also that the trajectory of their development from infancy to childhood could be partly predicted by knowing their genotypes on certain genes.

 

 Publications 

Lundwall, R.A., & Dannemiller, J.L. (2015). Genetic contributions to attentional response time slopes across repeated trials. BMC Neuroscience, 16, 66.  

 

Lundwall, R.A., Goldsmith, H.H. & Dannemiller, J.L. (2015). Genetic associations with reflexive visual attention in infancy and childhood. Developmental Science. doi: 10.1111/desc.12371

 

Lundwall, R.A., & *Watkins, J.K. (2015). Genetic influnce on slope variability in a childhood reflexive attention task. PLoS ONE, 10(6), e0130668.

 

Lundwall, R.A., Guo, D.C., & Dannemiller, J.L. (2012). Exogenous visual orienting is associated with specific neurotransmitter genetic markers: A population based genetic association study. PLoS ONE, 7:e30731.

 

Lundwall, R.A. (2002). Parents’ perceptions of the impact of their chronic illness or disability on their functioning as parents and on their relationships with their children. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 10, 300-307.

 


Lundwall, R.A. (1996). How psychoeducational support groups can provide multidiscipline services to families of people with mental illness. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 20, 64-71. 

 

Presentations​

 *Kaseda, E., *White, T., *Sgro, J., *Mitchell, M., *Wade, T. & Lundwall, R.A. (2015, October). Reduced Acetylcholine Availability via SLC5A7 is associated with increased Relational Aggression in Children. Poster presentation at the Intermountain Society for Neuroscience competition at the Neuroscience Program Snowbird Symposium, Snowbird, Utah.

 

Lundwall, R.A. (2015, September). Foundations of Genetic Research: A Primer. Methods Workshops. Oral presentation at the Methods Workshop, School of Family Life, Provo, Utah. 

 

Tass, S.N., Stephenson, K., Prigge, M.D., South, M., Maisel, M.E., Kellems, R., Hansen, B.D., Lundwall, R.A., Bigler, E., & Gabrielsen, T.P. (2015, May). Brain Volumes Associated with High Levels of Aggression is ASD. Poster presentation at the International Meeting for Autism Research, Salt Lake, City, Utah. 


Lundwall, R.A., Van Hulle, C., Schmidt, N., Dannemiller, J., & Goldsmith, H.H. (2015, March). MAOA, HTR4, SLC5A7 and Aggression. Poster presentation at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, PA. 

 

Lundwall, R.A., & Dannemiller, J.L. (2013, June). Visual Attention: Longitudinal Associations in Infancy and Childhood. Oral presentationat the annual meeting of the Child Vision Research Society, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. 

 

Lundwall, R. A. (2013, January). Molecular Genetics and Reflexive Visual Attention in Children: Interim Findings. Oral presentation at Rice University Cognitive Tea, Houston, TX.

 

Lundwall, R. A. (2011, December). Genetic Associations with Cued Visual Orienting in Normal Adults. Poster presentation at the Neuroscience Research Center Competition, Houston, TX.

 

Lundwall, R. A. (2011, September). Molecular Genetics and Reflexive Visual Attention in Children. Oral presentation at Rice University Cognitive Tea, Houston, TX.

 

Lundwall, R.A. (2011, April). Visual Orienting is Associated with Specific Neurotransmitter Genetic Markers. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, San Francisco, CA. 

 

Lundwall, R. A. (2011, March). Is Response Time Variability Associated with Specific Genetic Markers? Oral presentation at Rice University Cognitive Tea, Houston,TX.

  

Lundwall, R. A. & Dannemiller, J. L. (2010, May). Bilateral Visual Orienting with Adults Using a Modified Posner Paradigm and a Candidate Gene Study. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Vision Science Society, Naples, FL.

 

Lundwall, R. A. (2009, November). Bilateral Visual Orienting with Adults Using a Modified Posner Paradigm and a Candidate Gene Study: Findings. Oral presentation at Rice University Cognitive Tea, Houston, TX.


Lundwall, R. A. & Dannemiller, J. L. (2009, October). Bilateral Visual Orienting with Adults Using a Modified Posner Paradigm and a Candidate Gene Study. Poster presentation at the Southwest Cognition Conference, Houston, TX.

 

Lundwall, R. A. (2009, April). Bilateral Visual Orienting with Adults Using a Modified Posner Paradigm and a Candidate Gene Study: Proposal. Oral presentation at Rice University Cognitive Tea, Houston, TX.

 

Lundwall, R. A. (2007, August). Linking Student Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Pedagogical Methods. Invited oral presentation at the Tomball College Adjunct Faculty Meeting, Tomball, TX.

 

Lundwall, R. A. (2001, April). Parents Perceptions of the Impact of Their Chronic Illness or Disability on Their Functioning as Parents and on Their Relationships with Their Children. Poster presentation at the student research conference of the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston, TX.


 

*=undergraduate student, **= graduate student