Dr. Clifton Langdon, assistant professor for the Gallaudet University Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience Program (PEN), has been selected to participate in the BRAINS (Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in Neuroscience) program.

BRAINS is a national program based at the University of Washington which aims to accelerate and improve the career advancement of neuroscience postdoctoral researchers and assistant professors from underrepresented groups. The goal of BRAINS is to encourage diversity within the neuroscience-related fields and to retain highly skilled scientists by strengthening networking, providing tips, tools, and skills development to prepare for tenure track success and increasing career satisfaction.

“Gallaudet University is thrilled that Dr. Langdon has received this prestigious honor,” said Provost Dr. Carol Erting. “Dr. Langdon was the first faculty member hired for our recently established Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience program. BRAINS allows him to engage with his peers and receive mentoring from the top neuroscientists in the country.”

BRAINS includes a multi-day professional development symposium involving discussions with senior scientists on a variety of career topics, peer mentoring circles, and a career development incubator as well as continued bi-weekly peer mentoring conference calls.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to broaden my mentoring network with both peers and senior scientists,” said Dr. Langdon. “From this, I will be able to develop a stronger network for collaboration with other neuroscientists and to further support my students in their training towards becoming educational neuroscientists.”

Langdon started his position in the PEN program in January 2014. PEN is an interdisciplinary doctoral program that offers graduate students access to a state-of-the-art curriculum focused on the biological processes in early childhood development and their principled translation to educational environments and policy. Langdon successfully defended his dissertation in December 2013 and was part of a select group of students spanning multiple universities to receive a four-year pre-doctoral research fellowship in the National Science Foundation and Gallaudet’s Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2). During his fellowship, Langdon studied under Department of Linguistics professors Drs. Paul Dudis and Deborah Chen Pichler as well as with VL2 co-principal investigator and science director Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto in her Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2).

“Acceptance into the BRAINS program is a major honor for Dr. Langdon and an important recognition of him as a cognitive neuroscientist,” said Dr. Petitto. “It is also a great honor to have a scientist with his level of expertise at Gallaudet University, and we are utterly thrilled that Dr. Langdon is a part of our Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience program.”

Langdon’s work in the fields of linguistics and cognitive neuroscience advances understanding of the structure of all human language, language acquisition, bilingualism, and reading. These research strengths powerfully align with the overarching mission and priorities of the PEN program. His research on how an individual’s age when first exposed to language impacts the way the mind processes linguistic structures has already added to scientific discussion regarding the nature of the developing brain for language, sensitive periods in development, and how the brain supports language acquisition when children learn language at a later age versus birth.

Langdon holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Linguistics from Gallaudet University, a B.A. in Linguistics from California State University San Marcos, and an A.A. in Liberal Studies from Palomar Community College.

BRAINS is funded by an R25 grant from the National Institute of Health National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS). The BRAINS symposium will be held September 25-28, 2014.

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.

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