A professional setting
All told, the facility holds office space for 16 researchers, as well as assigned space for about 60 students and other faculty investigators, including the University’s revered Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education (INPSYDE) program.
There’s also room for a newly established bio-statistician position. The bio-statistician will concentrate on research data processing and statistical qualitative analysis.
Like many of his fellow UND psychologists, including April Bradley, Tom Petros, Jeff Weatherly, Mike Himle, Doug McDonald, Joelle Ruthig and Jennifer Muehlenkamp, Ferraro will retain his office in Corwin-Larimore, but he’s still looking forward to the brand new research space the NPBRC will provide him.
Before, Ferraro would use several cramped rooms on the fourth floor of Corwin-Larimore — a building that’s approaching 100 years old — for studies on agricultural pesticide exposure on the elderly, as well as other studies on aging, cognition and neuropsychology.
“Every once in a while, a subject would say, ‘Gee, can’t they give you a better space than this?’” Ferraro observed. “And then there’s the fact that it wasn’t air-conditioned and when you’re on the fourth floor of a building, it heats up pretty quickly.”
“The newness of the new facility, alone, will enhance our research ability,” he said.
The new facility also is equipped with dedicated specialty freezers that can go to minus 80 for storage of blood and urine samples.
“It’s the whole atmosphere. (In the NPBRC) there is carpeting and chairs that are comfortable, and the table we use isn’t a wooden picnic table or anything like that — it’s a professional setting.”
April Bradley, UND assistant professor of psychology, has submitted two external grants to the NIH in hopes of securing funds for her studies on child forensic interviewing, childhood trauma, nightmares and parent-child relationships, all of which will be aided by specialty features in the NPBRC.
“The new space is particularly important as it will have observation rooms and recording equipment installed, things which I do not currently have,” she said.
Other features in the facility include one-way mirrors, which allow graduate students or other researchers to look into interview spaces to monitor subject testing, and three sleeping rooms, including one lined in copper to prevent electrical interference during testing. On the second floor, a working slot machine casino lab is set up for gambling addiction research.
NPBRC researchers will investigate questions related to nutritional effects on cognition and flight performance in pilots, diabetes among migrant farm workers, dementia among elderly American Indians, obesity in children, and domestic violence, to name but a few.
Room to grow
The move into the NPBRC by nursing college researchers had an auxiliary benefit for UND’s Recruitment/Retention of American Indians into Nursing (RAIN) program. The nationally renowned program, which recruits and educates American Indian nurses, was confined to a small space within the UND College of Nursing until the NIH grant funded the NPBRC and freed up space for a RAIN expansion and other renovations.
Lindseth quickly credits all who had a hand in the development of the NPBRC, but she saves special recognition for Fawn Behrens-Smith, an architect with UND Facilities Management. Behrens-Smith served as a link between the University, the NIH and other local design firms, such as Grand Forks’ own EAPC, which were contracted for the NPBRC.
“She would work long hours, and that was on top of everything she was doing as part of her regular duties,” Lindseth said of Behrens-Smith. “It was Fawn’s work that put us over the top on this project.”