New & Noteworthy
Dr. Holli Seitz assists with NSF award to research brain development

Holli Seitz, an assistant professor within Mississippi State University’s Department of Communication, and Principal Investigator Andrew Lawton, an assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Biological Sciences, recently received over $870,000 to fund research on brain development.

This prestigious award is from the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, which is a part of the National Science Foundation. Seitz and Lawton plan to use these funds to begin researching how the brain folds during its development, as little research exists on this topic. 

Currently, Seitz serves as the science communication specialist for the project. In this role, she said that she is excited to continue researching this subject.

“It is an honor to play a supporting role in Dr. Lawton’s CAREER award,” Seitz said. “I am thrilled about the opportunity to team-teach a new course with him. His project will prepare a new generation of scientists to become excellent science communicators, and it will also allow me to advance my research on innovative communication pedagogy and experiential learning.”

Beginning in the spring of 2022, Seitz and Lawton will collaborate in teaching a course based on the research that they are completing. In the course, titled Fundamentals of Science Design and Communication, Seitz will focus on teaching how to communicate scientific data, information and publications to individuals without a scientific background.

Terry Likes, Professor and Head of the Department of Communication, said that he is pleased with the contributions that Seitz is offering to the university and society.

“We are so proud of Dr. Seitz for her part in the collaborative work in earning the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development award from the NSF. Dr. Seitz has made significant contributions early in her research career in science communication. She is quickly building a national reputation as a leader in this discipline.”

Seitz currently serves as director of The Message Laboratory in MSU’s Social Science Research Center, where her primary focus is science and health communication. Some of her other research interests include media effects and message effects.

Seitz earned an MSU bachelor’s degree in communication in 2005 and a Master of Public Health in health behavior from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007. She also holds a master’s and Ph.D. in communication from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Mississippi State University’s Department of Communication offers opportunities to major or minor in multiple fields of communication including broadcast journalism, communication studies, print and digital journalism, public relations and theatre. To learn more about the Department of Communication, visit 

For more information about Seitz or her research, contact Seitz at or (662) 325-7840.