By Emery Styron, Community Liaison
Friday, February 9, 2024

Greetings from one of the newer Health, Brain, and Cognition Lab team members. I came on board in October 2023 to help build and strengthen the lab’s relationship with the community.

Emery Styron photo

The launch of this blog is just one part of Lab Director Michelle Voss’s vision of “science and intervention research that is bi-directional with the community whose lives we hope to improve through our research.”

A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism with many years of experience working on and managing community newspapers, I’m excited to explore new avenues for using my communications skills. As part of the Baby Boomer generation facing the issues of aging in my own life, it’s gratifying to be able to work with this team of highly educated and motivated younger people researching ways to delay and prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias, which afflict so many of my peers and their loved ones.

The community liaison position is a new one for the HBC Lab, so to some extent we are making up the job description as we go along, but here’s an overview of what we’re working to accomplish.

Students, faculty and community members walk and drive by our offices on the second floor of the Psychological and Brain Sciences Building at the intersection of Iowa Avenue and Gilbert Street every day., but few knowour lab exists, much less what it does. We want both the academic and wider
community to understand the good work we are doing, apply our research findings to their lives, and be comfortable participating in future research projects. To that end, we’re raising the HBC Lab’s profile in various ways. Here are some of them:

  • Our revamped website’s Lab Team section features new photos and bios of all lab team members. They are a diverse, articulate and lively group. Please check them out.

  • Lab team members shares insights on their research on this blog to show you the scope of our interests and efforts.

  • The HBC Lab logo has a new tagline, “Healthy Brains. Active Lives,” to communicate our positive attitude and the focus of our research.

  • Front page of Winter 2024 newsletter

    The second issue of our newsletter goes out in print and digitally this winter. It’s designed to keep past research study participants in touch with us, give tips for healthy brain aging, and keep you informed about lab projects and team members.

  • We are getting out in the community. Lab Director Michelle Voss updated the Coralville-North Corridor Rotary Club on our research in December. She will present research on healthy brain aging to the HillsBank Friends Club in May and is looking for other opportunities to share
    our findings. Michelle’s also teaching a six-session book club class, based Peter Attia’s bestseller, “Outlive,” at the Iowa City Senior Center.

  • We’re working toward the launch this year of the Cycling Without Age community project, in collaboration with the Iowa City Bike Library. (

  • We’re raising our social media presence with more frequent posts about our lab team members and projects.

The lab itself is getting a less institutional, more inviting makeover with more comfortable furniture in our foyer, eye-catching displays and less clutter. Whether you are a study participant, a curious community member or a visiting researcher, we want to make your time with us as pleasant as 

Finally, a key part of my job is to build bridges to all the diverse sectors and groups of people that make up our community. The benefits and burdens of human subject research have not always been equally shared in this country. At the HBC Lab, we’re committed to ensuring that our recruitment of 
research participants is respectful, transparent and free of coercion and undue influence. Recruiting a diverse base of participants that reflects the makeup of our community is key to producing the most valid, widely useful research data possible.

If you belong to a population or part of the community that may have been left out of health research in the past or for whom findings in our area of research don’t seem to apply, please contact us. Help us build trust and improve our outreach.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to arrange a program for your group or a tour of our lab, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to hear from you.

Emery Styron
Lab phone: 319-353-2278
Cell phone: 319-217-0743
264 Psychological & Brain Sciences Building
340 Iowa Ave., Iowa City, IA 52242