Skip to content Skip to navigation

UC Merced Professor Appointed to NIH Awards Panel

March 24, 2010

March 24, 2010

Researcher to Serve for Six Years on National Institutes of
Health Study Section

UC Merced Professor Teenie Matlock
UC Merced cognitive science
Professor Teenie Matlock has been appointed to a six-year term on a
National Institutes of Health study section on language and

MERCED — University of California, Merced, cognitive
science Professor
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. Her appointment is another
example of the distinguished faculty members at UC Merced who not
only contribute to society through their cutting-edge
research, but also
give back to the scientific community by ensuring only worthwhile
proposals are being funded.

“I’m honored and excited to have been selected as a regular
member of the Language and Communication Study Section because I’ll
have the opportunity to review world-class, cutting-edge research
that will have a positive impact on society,” Matlock said. “It
will be a great learning experience.”

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
key input from these independent volunteers ensures that the
federal funds appropriated to NIH support the best research for
preventing and curing diseases and improving the health of the
nation and the world.”

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. They determine what research proposals address
significant problems and use novel concepts that may challenge
existing paradigms. The panel also looks at the qualifications of
the research team and what sort effect the proposed study could
have on the academic field.

“Professor Matlock’s appointment to NIH’s study section
underscores her status as a leading interdisciplinary scholar whose
work touches on linguistics, communication,
cognitive scienceand
psychology,” said Mark Aldenderfer, dean of UC Merced’s
School of Social Sciences,
Humanities and Arts
. “Her vision and input on the study section
will help guide research into language and communication for years
to come.”

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. For example, language
such as “He was taking bribes” is viewed worse than “He took bribes.”

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

Matlock will spend her 2010-2011 sabbatical at UC Berkeley,
doing research in the Linguistics Department and School of Information.

Scott Jason