Current advisor: Cynthia Rogers, MD
Undergraduate university: Washington University
For my EXPLORE rotation, I worked in the WUNDER lab (Dr. Cynthia Rogers and Dr. Christopher Smyser). During this rotation, I worked on a project examining neonatal brain growth trajectories between birth and age two using data from the eLABE (Early Life Adversity and Biological Embedding) study. The first few years of life are a period of rapid brain development, and work done by the WUNDER lab hopes to illuminate how prenatal factors influence developmental trajectories of the brain. By using a combination of structural neuroimaging scans and anatomically constrained multimodal surface matching (aMSM), I was able to examine the relationships between different growth trajectories (changes in surface area, volumes, cortical expansion, and gyrification) in the infant brain and social disadvantage/poverty experienced by the mother while pregnant. This work leads to further questions about normative developmental trajectories of the brain in the first few years of life, and also highlights the critical need for economic/social support during pregnancy, as prenatal/perinatal disadvantage is highly related to brain outcomes at both birth and at age two.