Neurodiversity Laboratory

 

The Neurodiversity Lab is dedicated to studying individual variability in brain and cognitive development during childhood and adolescence. Development is a dynamic process that is continually modified by one's environment and experiences. Our lab uses advanced statistical modeling techniques and cutting-edge neuroimaging to uncover the complex interactions between brain, behavior and environment, with the ultimate goal of producing knowledge that helps families and individuals thrive. Dr. Brittany K. Taylor, Ph.D., is the director of the Neurodiversity Laboratory.

Our Research Team

Brittany K. Taylor, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
brittany.taylor@boystown.org

Brittany Taylor

Dr. Taylor is the director of the Neurodiversity Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Science from Colorado State University in 2017. From 2017 to 2020, she completed two postdoctoral fellowships focused on functional and structural neuroimaging of dimensional psychiatry and cognitive development in childhood and adolescence.

Over the course of her training, Dr. Taylor acquired skills in functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magneto- and electroencephalography (M/EEG), and advanced statistical modeling techniques. Now Dr. Taylor's work explores the complex interplay between environment, brain and behavior. She is currently studying how common environmental toxins impact brain structure and function, and ultimately shape cognition and behavior in youth.

Current Studies:

The impact of home radon on brain and cognitive development

The public at large has grown keenly aware of the effects of environmental pollutants and toxins on the developing brain, though we know very little about the effects of radon exposure. Radon is a naturally-occurring gas that emanates from the soil and accumulates in homes and other buildings. Research has repeatedly linked radon exposure to negative health outcomes, including increased risk of lung cancer. Importantly, homes in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa are notoriously vulnerable to high radon due to the soil in the area, with half of local homes testing high for radon.

This collaborative study between the Neurodiversity Laboratory and the DICoN Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital explores the effects of home radon exposure on the developing brain. The overall goal of the project is to better understand the consequences of radon exposure on developing youth so that we can influence future public health policy decisions on radon control and mitigation.

To complete the study, we provide families with two home radon testing kits (one in summer and one in winter) with prepaid postage and lab processing. The kits are non-toxic tests that passively measure home radon levels over a period of 3-7 days. Families receive the full radon report and $20 for each completed radon test. Children will also be asked to visit the lab for structural and functional neuroimaging, and some cognitive testing. Check out the Dev-MIND study on the DICoN Laboratory website for more information!