Robin W. Wilkins, Ph.D.
Director of Human Neuroimaging
Gateway MRI Center
University of North Carolina-Greensboro USA
As a network neuroscientist, Dr. Wilkins's theoretical focus is applying her knowledge of music as a tool to advance our understanding of mental phenomena. Her goals include providing supportive evidence for explaining how experiences with music affect the brain. An expert musician (violinist) she examines how the brain performs complex mental operations and how to optimize restorative brain function. Her research was the first study to apply network-based (graph theory) methods to real-time music listening in the brain
Wilkins, R.W., Hodges, D.A., Laurienti, M., Steen, M., & Burdette, J.H. (2012). Network Science: A New Method for Investigating The Complexity of Musical Experiences In The Brain Leonardo 45(3). She holds two U.S.-registered patents and trademarks Wired for Music Reg. No. 6,411,735 and Rogue Planet Reg. No. 6,980,524
In 2013, she was awarded Best Student Research Paper from the International Society of Network Science "NetSci" by Dr. Albert-Laszlow Barabasi and in 2014 received a Nature Publication Group (NPG) international media announcement for her publication "Wilkins, R.W., Hodges, D.A., Laurienti, M., Steen, M., & Burdette, J.H. (2014). Network Science and the Effects of Music Preference on Functional Brain Connectivity: From Beethoven to Eminem. Scientific Reports. 1-7. The paper remains at 99% of all papers published for the year and is listed as 1st in Nature publications for papers of its kind. Her awards also include Governor's Teacher of Excellence (Virginia) and National Symphony Orchestra, Director of Excellence, and three full-tuition merit scholarships in music (undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral).
Dr. Wilkins is particularly interested in providing the research evidence for understanding brain network responses to music related to revealing and remediating levels of mental awareness in injured or compromised brain states that may ultimately be applied for brain-inspired convergence that will enhance Artificial Systems of Intelligence and idea origination. Experimentally, she explores how emotional responses to different types of music and sustained instrumental skills training--such as during chess or music-- influence structural and functional brain networks; particularly those useful in other cognitive domains and social & emotional domains (such as empathy and interoceptive awareness). She is also committed to providing a deeper understanding of the effects of extensive and intensive skills in musicians training across the lifespan. This includes evidence that can help provide a fuller understanding of how the brain learns complex operations (mind-machine motor control) and use-dependent skills training developed for understanding the diligence required for mastery and expertise. Dr. Wilkins works to develop a network-based understanding of nano-level brain systems to generate new nanoengineered biologically compatible tools for improving brain systems.
Dr. Wilkins received her Ph.D. in 2015 while at Wake Forest University Baptist School of Medicine under Drs. Paul J. Laurienti and Jonathan Burdette at the Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks partnered under her advisor Dr. Donald A. Hodges at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Her neuropsychology training includes Mind/Brain/Education from Havard University Graduate School of Education under Dr. Kurt Fischer, Professor of Education and Human Development and Chair Department of Psychology. She followed as a research fellow at the A. Martinos Center for Biomolecular Imaging in Boston, MA. In addition, she holds two degrees in music: a concert violinist of over 12 years holds degrees in both violin & clarinet in music education, a master's degree in violin performance (University of Miami, under John Celentano,) and performer diploma continuing studies under Henryk Kowalski at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, along with over 12 years of successful award-winning teaching experience.
Musical Performance and Teaching
As a concert violinist, Dr. Wilkins has performed at Carnegie Hall (Annapolis Chamber Orchestra), John F. Kennedy Center Concert Hall (National Chamber Orchestra), and numerous national and international orchestras including Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, National Gallery Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera and Symphony (under award-winning Maestro Anton Guadagno), to name a few.
She has also performed and nationally toured with, among others, notable Grammy award-winning artists such as Vince Gill, Natalie Cole and Perry Como, as well as Al Jarreau, Burt Bacharach and Emmanuel Axe, Nadia Solerno-Sonnenberg, Pinchas Zuckerman, Itzhak Perlman, among others. Her symphony performances include Maestros Riccardo Muti, Samuel Adler, Nick Perrito, and Isaiah Jackson. Her years as a concert violinist also include summer workshops and as an award-winning Director of Symphony Orchestras for Langley HS in McLean Va and Fairfax County Schools.
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The picture was taken during Dr. Wilkins scientific presentation on music and brain networks at the of Arts, Complex Networks and Humanities Satellite in June of 2012 at the Leonardo Museum in Budapest, Hungary for NetSci 2012. Click here to read more about Arts Complex Networks and Humanities at NetSci 2012
Here is a picture of Dr. Wilkins in Copenhagen Denmark giving at talk at the NetSci Ed Satellite Symposim 2014 about brain networks community structure implications about the effects of music on brain networks used in learning and memory. Click here to learn more about NetSci Education and Network Science Literacy.
Positions and Experience
Director of Human Neuroimaging and Senior Resesarch Scientist, Gateway MRI Center, Office of Research and Economic Development
Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering Gateway University Research Park University of North Carolina -Greensboro NC USA; Director, Network Neuorimaging Laboratory for Complex Systems JSNN University of North Carolina at Greensboro NC USA
Network Neuroscientist- Neuroimaging Laboratory for Complex Systems Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, Gateway MRI Center Gateway University Research Park University of North Carolina -Greensboro NC USA
Interdisciplinary PhD - Music Ed, Network Science and Neuroimaging; defense completed November 5, 2014 D May 2015 Committee Chair, Donald A. Hodges
External Professional Advisor H. Eugene Stanley
Network Neuroimaging Scientist and MRI Operator, Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, Neuroimaging Laboratory for Complex Systems Gateway MRI Center Gatway University Research Park University of North Carolina- Greensboro NC USA
Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Lab Member and Network Neuroscience and Neuroimaging Apprentice Winston-Salem NC USA
Drs. Paul Laurienti and Jonthan H. Burdette, Mentors
Ph.D. student – Cognitive Neurosciences of Music (CNM) Teaching and Neuroimaging Research Assistant, University of North Carolina -Greensboro School of Music
Professional Certificate; Mind, Brain and Education Institute, Harvard University
International Baccalaureate Music Researcher and Curriculum Design Specialist, Atlanta International School, Dr Robert Brindley, Headmaster
2007 International School of Brussels BE, IB Curriculum Examiner IB Diploma: Music
International School of Prague, CZ Republic, IB Curriculum Researcher
1992-2003 Director of Orchestras and Conductor, Langley High School Fairfax County Schools &
University Instructor of Violin, Northern Virginia Community College
Concert Violinist: National Chamber Orchestra, National Gallery Orchestra, Annapolis
Chamber Orchestra, various international and national performances.
Concert Violinist, LA. And NYC Musician Artists, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra,
Professional Studio Recording, Palm Beach Opera-M. Anton Guadagno (for a complete listing of my performances click here)
1988- 1991 Violin Instructor, Appalachian State University Summer Program Cannon Music Camp
University of North Carolina at Greensboro Cognitive Neurosciences of Music and Music Educaiton Ph.D.
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Continuing Studies towards Performer Diploma under Henryk Kowalski
University of Miami - Coral Gables, M.M. Music Performance Violin
Appalachian State University, B.M, Music, Cum Laude
Here is a picture of Mikayla Slomski getting ready to have her brain scan as part of our NetSci Ed program. She's now an undergraduate in biomedical engineering at NC State University.
This is a snapshot of part of my Langley Orchestra in front of Schonbrun Palace in Vienna, Austria (from my teaching days; yes, that's me holding the baton). We peformed a 10-day tour in Salzburg & Vienna, Austria and in Munch Germany. For more information on my time at Langley, please click here
Our 2015-16 NetSci cohort at the Gateway MRI Center scanner computer.
At NetSci 2016 in Seoul, South Korea after the Brain Networks Satellite session. Jermain Kraminski and originators and colleges from Complex Networks Arts and Humanties Max Schiff and X join Qawi Telesford, Sean Simpson and the rest of us for genuine Korean BBQ. Our local meal was coordinated by fomer lab member Joon Lee's family friend's local resturant based on Seoul.