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Welcome and Overview

The overall goals of the laboratory are to further understand the etiology and cognitive pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental disorders in psychiatry, in particular, schizophrenia, bipolar psychosis, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The lab has a developmental focus, studying the contributions of genetic and environmental factors (such as prenatal and perinatal events) to these disorders and their neurobiological expression. We focus largely on large-scale studies to evaluate structural and functional brain abnormalities in several populations at different developmental epochs (ranging from early teen years to late adult life). These include persons with schizophrenia and spectrum disorders, bipolar disorders, and ADHD. We also study persons who are at increased risk to develop psychoses, including persons who are genetically related to persons with these disorders (offspring, siblings, parents), as well as those who are at clinical high risk because they exhibit some milder symptoms of psychosis.

Measures of brain function and structure are linked to measures of symptomatology, neurocognition, prenatal and perinatal events, and genetic vulnerability. Age (particularly adolescence) and sex effects on brain function and structure are an important focus of study. We utilize morphometric tools from the MGH Center for Morphometric Analysis (in collaboration with Dave Kennedy and Nikos Makris), including general segmentation, cortical parcellation, cerebellar parcellation, and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). We also use automated tools like Free Surfer, FS-FAST, and FSL for data analysis. Functional measures include tasks of working memory (N-back and CPT variants), declarative memory, inhibitory processes, aspects of self reflection, timing, and phonological processing.

Other neuroimaging collaborations are with the Biederman Clinical Research Progam in ADHD (Mass General Hospital), Gabrieli Lab (MIT), Goldstein Lab for Sex Differences (Brigham and Women's and Mass General Hospitals), the Holt Lab (Mass General Hospital), Keshavan Neuroimaging Lab (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), the McCarley Laboratory of Neuroscience (VA Boston Health Care System), and the Shenton Psychiatry Neuroimaging Lab (Brigham and Women's Hospital).

To learn more about participating in studies of early psychosis or risk for psychosis, contact us at:

Corin Pilo, MA, Study Recruiter

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Andrea Gnong, MA, Study Coordinator