Corey McMillan Reflects on His Time at Temple
Dr. Corey McMillan is a Research Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Group and Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience from Temple University, a Master’s of Science in Psycholinguistics from the University of Edinburgh, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh.
During his time at Temple, Dr. McMillan worked on two independent study research projects that were very different in nature. One project involved data collection, transcription, and analysis of developmental data as part of Nora Newcombe’s research program investigating the relation between the use of spatial language in educational contexts and spatial abilities in children. The other project, carried out with Mark Wheeler, involved carrying out a comprehensive literature review of published case studies for a rare form of amnesia.
“As an undergraduate student the understanding of what it means to have a research or academic career can be quite abstract and both of these first-hand research opportunities provided me exposure to this career track and confirmed my desire to pursue an academic research career,” Dr. McMillan said. “My class was, I believe, the first Cognitive Neuroscience minor class to graduate which was an opportunity at the forefront of the field (not many cognitive neuroscience programs existed at that time).”
Dr. McMillan’s research at Penn focuses on identifying cognitive and biological markers of neurodegenerative diseases such as frontotemporal degeneration, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. On the cognitive side, his research involves the social and decision-making mechanisms that contribute to language processing deficits associated with neurodegenerative diseases. The biological aspect of his research uses neuroimaging, genetics, and biomarkers in an effort to improve early diagnosis and understand disease onset and progression. Dr. McMillan’s biomarker research uses cutting edge bioinformatics approaches to integrate multiple data sources, with a view to developing precise, individualized treatment regimens for patients.
“In addition to the research opportunities at Temple Psychology, I also greatly benefited from the coursework. My research career now largely relies on quantitative methods and the requirement of two statistical courses was essential for me to establish an early understanding of statistical methods,” he said. “Not to mention that we had to compute everything ‘by hand’ (pre-software) which, while painful at the time, instilled a fundamental understanding of the underpinnings for more complex and abstract applications.”