Skip to main content.

Laura E. Martin, Ph.D.

Laura Martin portrait
Associate Professor, Population Health

Associate Director, SOM-Kansas City

Professional Background

I completed my undergraduate training in psychology and dance at the University of Kansas. I completed my graduate training at Rice University with a Ph.D. in psychology and emphasis in cognitive neuroscience. Following, graduate school I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Kansas Medical Center. As a cognitive neuroscientist, my training and research has focused on applying neuroimaging methods to understand a variety of health behaviors, specifically focusing on addictive behaviors. This includes studies of self-regulation, impulsivity, reward processing and decision making. Specifically, I have used functional neuroimaging to understand how the brain influences health behaviors, such as smoking and eating, and how the brain can be changed through health behavior interventions. My research is funded by the American Cancer Society and National Institutes of Health. As Director of the Structure and Function Unit at Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center, I facilitate neuroimaging research by providing technical expertise to investigators and trainees interested in adding neuroimaging to their research programs. This includes numerous ongoing and completed collaborations in areas of aging, depression, smoking, obesity, gambling, social neuroscience, decision-making, resting state fMRI, and neuroeconomics.

As a researcher I am passionate about sharing my enthusiasm for research with students and discussing all aspects of the research process including but not limited to critically evaluating others’ research, developing research questions, and deciding what methods are most appropriate to answer a research question. I strive to motivate students to gain an understanding of how neuroimaging research can inform and enhance their research and training. I have had the opportunity to work with trainees at all levels from high school to faculty.

Education and Training
  • BA, Dance, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
  • BA, Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
  • MS, Psychology, Rice University, Houston, TX
  • PhD, Psychology, Rice University, Houston, TX
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Kasnas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS



My research activities are twofold. First, my independent research examines the relationship between the brain and addictive behaviors. The overarching theme of my research is to examine the interactions between brain and behavior in addiction. Specifically, my research uses neuroimaging methods to examine: 1) reward processing, 2) addictive behaviors, 3) decision-making, and 4) behavioral interventions.

Second, as Director of the Structure and Function Unit at Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center, I have collaborated with numerous investigators in a team science setting to apply cognitive neuroscience expertise to cross-disciplinary translational research including but not limited to food decision-making, aging, nutritional supplementation (DHA), sleep disorders, binge eating disorders, exercise, low-back pain, depression, and gambling.

  • Martin, L., E, Potts, G., F, Burton, P., C, Montague, P., R. 2009. Electrophysiological and hemodynamic responses to reward prediction violation.. Neuroreport, 20 (13), 1140-3
  • Martin, L., E, Holsen, L., M, Chambers, R., J, Bruce, A., S, Brooks, W., M, Zarcone, J., R, Butler, M., G, Savage, C., R. 2010. Neural mechanisms associated with food motivation in obese and healthy weight adults.. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 18 (2), 254-60
  • Martin, L., E, Cox, L., S, Brooks, W., M, Savage, C., R. 2014. Winning and losing: differences in reward and punishment sensitivity between smokers and nonsmokers.. Brain and behavior, 4 (6), 915-24
  • Fox, A., T, Catley, D, Richter, K., P, Ellerbeck, E., F, Brucks, M., G, Papa, V., B, Martin, L., E. 2018. Functional brain activation changes associated with practice in delaying smoking among moderate to heavy smokers: study protocol and rationale of a randomized trial (COPE).. Trials, 19 (1), 623
  • Chen, Y, Fowler, C., H, Papa, V., B, Lepping, R., J, Brucks, M., G, Fox, A., T, Martin, L., E. 2018. Adolescents' behavioral and neural responses to e-cigarette advertising.. Addiction biology, 23 (2), 761-771
  • Fox, A., T, Martin, L., E, Bruce, J, Moreno, J., L, Staggs, V., S, Lee, H., S, Goggin, K, Harris, K., J, Richter, K, Patten, C, Catley, D. 2017. Executive function fails to predict smoking outcomes in a clinical trial to motivate smokers to quit.. Drug and alcohol dependence, 175, 227-231
  • Martin, L.. 2014. Effects of plain packaging on decision-making and reward for nicotine cigarettes. Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics, 3, 63-73