The CAD lab seeks to identify and understand the manner in which brain connections become disturbed in pathological anxiety (e.g., panic, worry) and mood (e.g., depression, bipolar) with the goal of being able to identify at risk individuals and intervene before pathology crystalizes (e.g., adolescence). Our work consists of three overlapping areas:
Characterizing the neuromaturational trajectories of normative and pathological brain networks, with a particular focus on puberty and adolescence
Identifying pathology-related disturbances in brain networks (i.e., pathoconnectomics)
Characterizing normative brain networks involved in goal pursuit, particularly those related to approach/avoidance motivation and executive function
For example, what types of disturbances in brain circuitry predispose toward the development of anxiety or mood disturbances? Are such brain networks organized differently, for instance less robust to disruption or less efficient in integrating information? Can we identify particular network changes during adolescence that explain why this developmental window is the peak onset time for pathological anxiety and mood? How do common treatments impact pathology-related brain networks? To explore these questions, we use both behavioral tasks and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Imaging modalities include (resting and task) functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). To probe networks, we use graph theory tools, including a (publicly available) toolbox developed and maintained in the lab (see the Tools tab for details about lab software).