Neely, Murrah receive $50K as part of Auburn University’s new pilot internal award program

August 26, 2021

Murrah HeadshotSchool of Kinesiology Assistant Professor Kristina Neely and co-investigator William Murrah, associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology, were awarded $50,000 for a study called “Inhibitory Motor Control in Adults with ADHD.” The first $25,000 is part of a new pilot internal awards program – The Research Support Program – at Auburn University. The other half of the money comes from College of Education Dean Jeffrey Fairbrother.

“Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, persists into adulthood in up to 65 percent of cases and is associated with adverse functional outcomes,” Neely said. “ADHD is one of the most frequently studied psychiatric disorders, yet the biological mechanisms remain unknown.”

Neely Headshot

With the grant, Neely will study adults ages 30-55 with and without ADHD.

“This is an important demographic because it represents the majority of adults in the workforce, and ADHD affects the ability to gain and maintain employment, and is associated with an increased risk for substance abuse, obesity, workplace injuries, and traffic accidents,” she said. “This investigation will lead to a better understanding of the brain-basis of ADHD and may lead to the development of innovative strategies to improve outcomes in adults.”

“Since the male-to-female ratio for ADHD is 2.15-to-1 in adults, we will study an equal number of males and females to determine whether the motor output is the same for both sexes,” Neely explained.

“The study of midlife, middle-aged adults, is often omitted from research altogether,” she said. “However, this group represents an important segment of our population as they manage multiple roles (e.g., parent, child, employee, supervisor). Research to better understand the physical and mental health challenges associated with midlife can better inform our efforts to promote their well-being.”

Auburn’s Research Support Program was established by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. It provides a competitive internal funding source to support faculty and to provide an opportunity for them to experience a small-scale pilot and refine their projects before competing for larger awards.

“This is a pilot version of a larger intramural award program,” said Bob Holm, associate director of Proposal Services and Faculty Support, the unit that administers the programs. “It enables faculty to participate in a competitive funding program and make improvements to their projects before a commitment to a long-term award program is made. The pilot provides a platform to test what works and what does not.”
The RSP is intended to be an annual cycle funding program to foster the development and growth of innovative and transformational research activities. It builds on faculty expertise, stimulates interdisciplinary collaborations and strengthens seed research activities. It is a strategically focused Auburn investment that promotes promising and impactful new lines of research as well as the growth of collaborative and interdisciplinary teams to build the foundations of science, to overcome scientific and societal challenges and to promote and enhance the quality of life and wellbeing of individuals, groups and communities.