Uncategorized

BIRC Trailblazer Awarded

Congratulations to Margaret Briggs-Gowan, PhD, Xiaomei Cong, PhD, Todd Constable, PhD, Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD, Helen Wu, PhD, Damion Grasso, PhD on receiving the BIRC Trailblazer award for their project Preliminary Longitudinal Study of Fetal, Neonatal and Infant MRI!

This proposal will ultimately contribute important foundational knowledge in the following areas: (1) neurodevelopmental outcomes of children exposed to drugs in the prenatal stage that may be dependent on the nature, timing, and dosage of environmental insult in addition to the child’s neurobiological-genetic- genomic factors and resilience/reserve; (2) timing of opportunities and modifiable targets; and (3) assessing underlying mechanisms of substance use disorder and withdrawal symptom across mother-infant/child generations. Ultimately, research such as ours may help to optimize circuit-based precision interventions in these vulnerable children that have rapidly increased in recent years.

Virtual Talk: Lucina Uddin, University of Miami

Lucina Uddin, PhD

University of Miami

Brain dynamics and flexible behaviors

Tuesday, April 14th from 12-1:15pm EST via Zoom

**Register here for Zoom using your institution/university email address**

Bio: After receiving a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the psychology department at UCLA in 2006, Dr. Uddin completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Child Study Center at NYU. For several years she worked as a faculty member in Psychiatry & Behavioral Science at the Stanford School of Medicine. She joined the psychology department at the University of Miami in 2014. Within a cognitive neuroscience framework, Dr. Uddin’s research combines functional connectivity analyses of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data and structural connectivity analyses of diffusion tensor imaging data to examine the organization of large-scale brain networks supporting executive functions. Her current projects focus on understanding dynamic network interactions underlying cognitive inflexibility in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Dr. Uddin’s work has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Cerebral Cortex, JAMA Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, PNAS, and Nature Reviews Neuroscience. She was awarded the Young Investigator award by the Organization for Human Brain Mapping in 2017.

Abstract: Executive control processes and flexible behaviors rely on the integrity of, and dynamic interactions between, several core large-scale brain networks. The right insular cortex is a critical component of a salience network that is thought to mediate interactions between brain networks involved in externally oriented and internally oriented processes. I will describe studies examining how brain network dynamics support flexible behaviors in typical and atypical development, presenting evidence suggesting a unique role for the dorsal anterior insular from studies of meta- analytic connectivity modeling, dynamic functional connectivity, and structural connectivity. These findings from adults, typically developing children, and children with autism suggest that structural and functional maturation of insular pathways is a critical component of the process by which human brain networks mature to support complex, flexible cognitive processes throughout the lifespan.

Click here to see the full BIRC Speaker Series schedule and access recordings of past talks.

Fumiko Hoeft Receives Eye-to-Eye Academic Excellence Award

Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD recently received an award from nonprofit organization Eye-to-Eye for her work with Stephanie Haft: Impact of mentoring on socio‐emotional and mental health outcomes of youth with learning disabilities and attention‐deficit hyperactivity disorder. The paper can be accessed here.

To learn more about Eye-to-Eye and their mission, visit their website.

Tour the Brain: BIRC at the International Dyslexia Association 2018 Annual Conference

 

The BIRC is thrilled to announce its first community outreach event. UConn BIRC is partnering with the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and Neuroscape to host a virtual reality tour of the brain. Join us in making neuroscience fun and accessible to the public!

The VR tours will take place at the IDA Massachusetts and Connecticut booth located in the exhibit hall at Foxwoods Resort and Casino  October 24th through 26th.

For additional information, including registration, please visit IDA’s website.

 

Talk: Functional MRI Studies of Memory and Navigation

Chantal Stern, D.Phil

Boston University, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Wednesday, September 19 2018 3:30-4:30PM in BOUS A106

Biography:

Stern is an expert in human brain imaging and was a member of the research team that pioneered the development of functional magnetic resonance imaging, including early work focusing on the human hippocampus. Her lab’s primary goal is to study how the normal brain encodes, stores, and subsequently recognizes visual, spatial, and verbal information. In addition to studies of normal memory processes, including long-term and short-term memory processes, Stern and her team are studying basic science questions that include understanding spatial navigation, rule-learning, and interactions between memory and attention. Her translational work focuses on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Thanks to a $1.6 million National Science Foundation instrumentation grant that Stern secured in 2016, her center showcases a Siemens 3 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner—a fundamental tool for studying the human brain. (Biography courtesy of www.bu.edu)

Vistors from UCHC are encourage to use the UCHC-Storrs shuttle service. Talks can also be joined remotely. Please contact us if you are interested in meeting with the speaker.

Talk: Neuroimaging Markers of Cognitive Reserve and Brain Aging

Lihong Wang PhD
UCONN Health, Dept of Psychiatry
Wednesday September 5, 2018 1:30-2:30pm in Arjona 307

Abstract

Our brain can reorganize its function and neural resources to counteract neural damages. The ability of reorganization of brain function depends on cognitive reserve capacity. To examine dynamic changes of cognitive reserve over time, we developed a new measure for evaluating neural compensatory capacity, a core factor of cognitive reserve, using independent component analysis and a cognitively very challenging task in older adults. Interestingly, we find higher neural compensatory capacity to be related to working memory function. In another study, we show a one-month physical exercise training to improve working memory as well as neural compensatory capacity through activating addition neural networks, i.e., the cerebellar and motor cortex. We believe the new measure on neural compensatory capacity can be applied to broad lines of research on neuroplasticity. Other imaging markers related to brain aging and cognitive decline will also be discussed.

Speaker

Dr. Wang obtained her Ph.D. degree in neurology from Japan and has six years of experience as a neurologist in China. She has performed neuroimaging-related research in depression at Duke University for over 12 years, primarily focused on geriatric depression and cognitive neuroscience. Her recent research centers on neural signatures of depression vulnerability and neural plasticity in patients with late-life depression and mild cognitive decline.

Vistors from UCHC are encourage to use the UCHC-Storrs shuttle service. Talks can also be joined remotely. Please contact us if you are interested in meeting with the speaker.

Download and post a flyer in your area.

Introducing the new Scientific Director (August 2018)

The BIRC is delighted to welcome our new Scientific Director: Dr. Fumiko Hoeft, M.D./ Ph.D. She is a cognitive neuroscientist, with theoretical interests in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying individual differences in brain maturational processes and the acquisition of skills such as reading (and dyslexia). She will be leading the BIRC, and joining the Department of Psychological Sciences. She brings an impressive track record of externally-funded research and development, and a dynamic vision for the future of BIRC.  Welcome, Dr. Hoeft!

Talk: Stephen Wilson 4/4 3:30

Stephen Wilson, PhD
Vanderbilt

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
3:30-5:00pm
BOUS A106

Imaging the language network: functional neuroanatomy, acquired aphasia, and recovery

What is the functional architecture of the language network? How is it impacted by damage to its various nodes and connections? And when it is damaged, how can it reorganize to support recovery of language function? To address these questions, we have carried out a series of multimodal neuroimaging studies in individuals with acquired language deficits of diverse etiologies–stroke, neurodegenerative disease, and resective surgery–as well as neurologically normal volunteers. Our findings, along with those of others, reveal a complex, variegated language network in which numerous distinct regions and tracts in the temporal, frontal and parietal lobes play distinct functional roles. Yet the network is strikingly resilient to most patterns of damage, indicating that in many cases, functional specialization is graded rather than absolute. Our findings suggest that recovery from aphasia depends primarily on reconfiguration of spared language regions, rather than macroscopic reorganization of the whole system.