UC Merced

UC Merced prof named to prestigious national health panel

UC Merced said cognitive science Professor Teenie Matlock has been appointed to a six-year term on the National Institutes of Health's Language and Communication Study Section.

Matlock joins a panel of leading experts in the scientific study of language from some of the world's most renowned universities, including Stanford, Purdue and Columbia, the university said in a news release.

The study section is part of the institute's Center for Scientific Review (CSR), which establishes peer review groups for grant and fellowship applications. The center evaluated 71,000 applications in 2009. Its mission is to make sure applications are reviewed fairly by experts so the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds the most promising, viable research.

"NIH depends on highly regarded scientists, like Dr. Teenie Matlock, to help us identify the most promising grant applications," CSR Communication Director Don Luckett said.

The study section meets several times a year to review the top applications. The panels are made up of well-respected researchers in each discipline. The panel looks at the qualifications of the research team and what sort of effect the proposed study could have on the academic field.

Matlock has published 50 articles on language and communication. Many of her projects investigate how linguistic form influences everyday thought, including political attitudes. In a study on political ads, she recently found that even grammatical details can affect people's attitudes about politicians' past actions and, ultimately, their electability.

Matlock joined UC Merced in 2004 as one of the founding faculty members after serving as a research associate at Stanford University. UC Merced's Academic Senate honored Matlock in 2008-2009 with the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award.