New faculty Kristen Pickett and Brittany Travers

OT student doing research with child
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Occupational Therapy
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New Faculty

Kristen Pickett

Kristen Pickett joined the Occupational Therapy program as an assistant professor in August after spending the past four years completing her post-doc­toral work at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo.

Kristen Pickett
Pickett
Her research is centered on how the brain and body inter­phase during movement, particularly as this relates to Parkin­son’s disease (PD).

Pickett grew up in Darlington, Wis., and earned her under­graduate degree from UW–Platteville before earning a master’s and Ph.D. in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota.

Moving forward, Pickett will conduct research looking for PD biomarkers in an effort to better treat and possibly diagnose the disease before symptoms set in.

She also is looking to start a research project with people who live in rural parts of Wisconsin to examine the potential psycho­logical and social benefits of exercise for those with PD. In this regard, Pickett is seeking individuals with PD to take part in the study. For details, email Kristen Pickett at: kpickett2@wisc.edu

Brittany Travers

Brittany Travers is one of the Occupational Therapy program’s new­est members, joining the faculty roster in August. But she is no stranger to the UW–Madison campus.

Brittany Travers
Travers
Travers, who earned a master’s and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Alabama, has been conducting post-doc work at UW–Madison’s Waisman Center over the past three years.

Her work at the Waisman Center utilizes imaging technolo­gies to examine how the brain of those with autism changes with age. Moving forward, Travers is interested in further research­ing motor abilities of those with developmental disorders.

One of the more interesting findings in her work to date is that motor impairments in those with autism appear to be related to the core symptoms and overall severity of autism, which may mean motor difficulties are not peripheral to the disorder, but centrally connected to it.

Travers is working to translate her research into interven­tions to improve the daily lives of those with autism.
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