Lori Ann Vallis | Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

Lori Ann Vallis

Portrait of Professor Lori Ann Vallis


Collaborative Specialization in Neuroscience

About my research…

I am interested in understanding how humans seamlessly integrate concurrent motor and cognitive tasks, termed dual-task performance. Using experimental methods that bridge biomechanics, engineering, anatomy and neuroscience my NSERC research program has explored various competing theories for optimizing dual-task performance, e.g. resource and capacity theories of attention with the goal of increasing our understanding of the underlying control mechanisms for optimal dual-task performance training paradigms.

How my research improves life…

At one time walking was largely considered an automatic task with little cognitive input. It is only in the last few decades that we have come to realize the impact of cognitive function on the control of locomotion. Given the fact that dual-tasking is quite common in our daily activities at all ages, and can pose serious threats to our safety (e.g. crossing a street while observing traffic flow), it is logical to ask if dual-task performance can be improved with practice. My NSERC research program is exploring optimal practice strategies for dual-task performance across the lifespan.

Why choose graduate studies in your program?

My lab has an excellent track record of providing strong training and multidisciplinary collaborations that parlay into important transferable skills. I encourage a positive, hard working team environment. Students regularly work together to collect data, trouble-shoot and de-bug custom software code. Individual successes are celebrated among members (e.g. attainment of scholarships, awards). Students learn hands on technical skills using state of the art equipment (e.g. 3D motion capture with high speed Optitrack cameras, OPAL Inertial Measurement Unit sensors, accelerometers, portable force plates). I work hard to create a respectful and positive working environment for all trainees and encourage my students to develop solid leadership, critical thinking and interpersonal skills.