The role of tissue structures
Studying brain function is as equally important as understanding the structures that make these computations possible. Using advanced MRI techniques like diffusion-weighted (DWI) and quantitative imaging (qMRI), we study how developmental and individual differences in the cortex and connections of the brain underlie changes and variability in behavioral skills like reading and recognizing. We also seek to understand the source of these in vivo measures using immunohistochemistry to image fine-scale structures like proteins and lipids, and quantify their change across development.
On the origins of organization
While we have made much progress in mapping out the topographical organization of function across the human brain, the origins of this organization are still a bit of a mystery. We approach this problem from two scales, a broad scale using MRI to measure how unique experience or stimuli can change brain organization, and a finer scale using gene transcription and cytoarchitecture to see how anatomy governs and constrains a region's inputs and computations.
Experience and the brain
To what extent does experience sculpt the function and topography of human cortex? Through magnetic resonance imaging, we seek to create models relating experience across development with the emergence of structural and functional organization in the brain. Importantly, we can being to understand what happens when this development goes awry.