I've worked with the Johns Hopkins Movement Disorders Center for three years (taking on the role of full-time research assistant this past summer). I mainly work on projects affiliated with the Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine under the leadership of principal investigators Drs. Alexander Pantelyat and Serap Bastepe-Gray, and I've been involved with two of the center's premier projects:
- "PD Strummers" -- a project that taught 24 people with moderate to advanced Parkinson's Disease to play guitar; participants saw improvements in quality of life and upper extremity function
- "Drum-PDHD" -- a similar project to what I mentioned above except it involved eight participants (five with Parkinson's Disease and 3 with Huntington's Disease) and their spouses, and utilized drumming/percussion instead of guitar playing.
My notable work for these projects has included performing cognitive tests, administering questionnaires, assisting with data analysis, and recruiting new participants (more info on my CV).
Currently I'm working on two non-musical studies aimed at mass data collection of Parkinson's patients and healthy controls: University of California San Francisco's 4-Repeat Tauopathy Neuroimaging Initiative (4RTNI-2) and a longitudinal study examining the cognitive and physical consequences of suffering from atypical parkinsonism (Longitudinal Biomarkers of Atypical Parkinsonian Disorders).
I'm also beginning work as the lead study coordinator on a Boston-University-sponsored study aiming to implement the MedRhythms device as a tool that utilizes music and a feedback loop to assist Parkinson's Disease patients in gait/walking speed improvement.
Aside from working with the JHMI CMM, I also spent time as an assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffery Bowen, a social psychologist specializing in the field of romantic relationships.
My work for his lab involved using the Linguistic Category Model (LCM) to characterize passages that our study participants have written about their significant others in an effort to determine correlation between how long-distance relationship partners describe their SOs and how close, in-person partners think of each other.
I also spent time with Dr. Bowen designing a study that aimed to investigate a possible correlation between construal concreteness in romantic partner description and the way the partner was presented to a participant (e.g., via a picture, their name, or the term "my romantic partner").
Beyond the Bowen lab, my primary research interests are in the fields of music and cognition, and I'm currently planning a study whose goal is to examine a causal relationship, if any, between sight reading (a musical phenomenon by which someone can read a piece of music play it without prep time) and executive function.
Click here to read an abbreviated proposal of my project (that I used to unsuccessfully apply for a NSF GRFP). Should you desire the entire proposal, please email me at colinmcgregor [at] jhmi [dot] edu and I'll send you the full 15-page PDF.
Photo courtesy of The Union newspaper (CA)