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The development of brain circuits underlying cognition and emotion

Supervisors: Angela Roberts, Ed Bullmore

How the brain develops shapes our cognitive and emotional behavior as adults but our understanding of the development of the circuits that underlie cognition and emotion and how our genes and early life experiences influence development is poorly understood. Using a range of neuroimaging techniques this project will study the development of these circuits in both human and non-human primates. A new 9.4T MRI scanner has been installed recently in the Translational Neuroimaging Centre on West Cambridge site, which will allow a longitudinal approach to the study of brain development in New World monkeys. Measurements will include grey and white matter volumes, white matter pathways, resting state circuits and GABA and glutamate ratios. In addition, the student will learn comparative connectomics, the quantitative study of cross-species commonalities and variations in brain network topology that aims to discover general principles of network architecture and the identification of species-specific features of brain connectivity in the context of development. Where possible, the influence of genetic factors will also be studied and findings will be linked to the development of behavior.

Whitaker KJ, Vértes PE, Romero-Garcia R, Váša F, Moutoussis M, Prabhu G, Weiskopf N, Callaghan MF, Wagstyl K, Rittman T, Tait R, Ooi C, Suckling J, Inkster B, Fonagy P, Dolan RJ, Jones PB, Goodyer IM; NSPN Consortium., Bullmore ET. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Aug 9;113(32):9105-10.

Julia A. Scott, David Grayson, Evan Fletcher, Aaron Lee, Melissa D. Bauman, Cynthia Mills Schumann, Michael H. Buonocore, David G. Amara Longitudinal analysis of the developing rhesus monkey brain using magnetic resonance imaging: birth to adulthood

Brain Struct Funct (2016) 221:2847–2871.

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