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Melissa St. Hilaire, a new professor of computer and data sciences at Merrimack, studies the impact insufficient sleep and circadian disruption has on health, safety and performance.
Associate Professor, Psychology
I research the neurological and behavioral functions of sleep. I particularly examine the role of sleep, and especially napping, in learning, memory and emotion, and how sleep physiology changes throughout development. My current research also examines factors that might influence or affect sleep, such as mTBIs (concussions), nutrition, exercise or brain disorders.
Mason, G.M., Kurdziel, L.B.F., & Spencer, R.M.C. (2021). The memory benefits of two naps per day during infancy: A pilot investigation. Infant Behavior and Development.
Cohen, J. F. W., Sagar, K., Dahlgreen, M. K., Kurdziel, L. B. F., & Griber, S. A. (2020). The impact of micronutrient fortified foods on cognitive functioning among low-income children: A pilot study. Nutrients.
Kurdziel, L. B. F. (2019). The memory function of sleep across the lifespan. In V. Jha & S. Jha (Eds.), Sleep, Memory and Synaptic Plasticity. New York, NY: Springer Publisher. 1-39.
Kurdziel, L.B.F., Kent, J. & Spencer, R. M. C. (2018). Sleep dependent enhancement of emotional memory in early childhood. Scientific Reports, 8.
Press: Boston Globe, Science Daily, BBC, Medical Research.com, Medical News Bulletin, Child Trends (https://www.childtrends.org/videos/the-brain-benefits-of-napping), among others
Cremone, A., de Jong, D., Kurdziel, L. B. F., Desrochers, P., Sayer, A., LeBourgeois, M., Spencer, R. M. C., and McDermott, J. (2017). “Sleep Tight, Act Right: Negative Affect, Sleep and Behavior Problems During Early Childhood.” Child Development.
Alhassan, S., Sirad, J., Kurdziel, L. B. F., Merrigan, S., Greever, C., and Spencer, R. M. C. (2017). “Cross-Validation of Two Accelerometers for Assessment of Physical Activity and Sedentary Time in Preschool Children.” Pediatric Exercise Science.
Spencer, R.M.C., Campanella, C. deJong, D., Desrochers, P., Root, H., Cremone, A., Kurdziel, L.B.F. (2016). “Sleep and Behavior of Preschool Children Under Typical and Nap-Promoted Conditions.” Sleep Health, 2, 1, 35-41.
Cremone, A., Kurdziel, L.B.F., Fraticelli, A., Spencer, R. M. C., McDermott, J. (2016). “Napping Reduces Emotional Attention Bias During Early Childhood.” Developmental Science.
Kurdziel, L.B., Duclos, K., and Spencer, R.M.C. (2013). “Learning Benefits From Classroom Naps in Preschools.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 43, 17267-17272.