Course Title: CE 3. Neurocognitive Networking: Modern Neuroimaging Methods for Understanding Neurocognition


Credit Hours: 3.0


Instructor(s) Angela R. Laird, PhD Jennifer Robinson, PhD


Neurocognitive Networking: Modern Neuroimaging Methods for Understanding Neurocognition

Abstract & Learning Objectives

Recent advances in functional neuroimaging have emphasized the benefits of a network approach to better elucidate cognitive operations in the brain. This course will provide a foundation for understanding functional brain connectivity methodologies. First, standard and advanced techniques for investigating neurocognitive networks in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) time series data (e.g., seed-based correlation, independent component analysis, graph theory) will be reviewed. Second, new developments and applications will be discussed and demonstrated for employing neuroimaging meta-analysis methods to (a) interrogate task-based and task-free functional networks, (b) examine clinically-relevant disease states, and (c) identify regions of interest as a basis for model building. Third, in the rising era of “big data”, many databases and neuroinformatics resources have evolved to meet the needs of cognitive neuroscientists; these sources of data and their availability to researchers will be reviewed.

Angela R. Laird, PhD

Angela R. Laird, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Physics
Florida International University
Miami, Florida, USA

Jennifer Robinson, PhD

Jennifer Robinson, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama, USA

As a result of participation in this course, the learner will achieve the following objectives:

(1)    Compare and contrast different approaches for evaluating functional brain connectivity across neurocognitive networks,
(2)    Describe and apply novel neuroimaging meta-analysis techniques that identify neurocognitive networks using data reported in the literature, and
(3)    Identify and access different neuroimaging data resources for meta- and mega-analysis.

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Speaker Biographies

Angela R. Laird, PhD

Dr. Angela Laird is a cognitive neuroscientist whose research program aims to understand the functional organization of large-scale brain networks. Her work focuses on developing novel data analysis algorithms, neuroscience informatics tools, and neuroimaging ontologies to yield analytic strategies for improving investigations into functional brain networks of healthy individuals, as well as in populations with psychiatric and neurologic diseases and disorders. Dr. Laird received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002. She was previously appointed at the Research Imaging Institute of the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio from 2003-2012. She is currently an Associate Professor in Physics at Florida International University in Miami. In 2010, Dr. Laird was recognized as a “Rising STAR” by the University of Texas System, and in 2012 she was recognized as a “Top Scholar” at FIU. Her research is currently funded by awards from the National Institutes of Health.

Jennifer Robinson, PhD

Dr. Robinson received her Ph.D. In Experimental Psychology from Case Western Reserve University, after which she completed a 2 year postdoctoral fellowship in Psychiatric Neuroimaging. Following her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Robinson joined Scott & White Healthcare and Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine where she established and directed the functional neuroimaging program, bridging research efforts among 5 academic departments, and managing the neuroimaging component of over 15 studies. Dr. Robinson joined Auburn University in August of 2012 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology to focus her research efforts on the interplay of emotions and cognition, and how stress hormones may contribute to these mechanisms using a novel methodological combination of psychophysiology and ultra high field, high resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). She continues to develop and test models using meta-analytic connectivity modeling as a strong foundation to her research. Her work has resulted in over 40 publications in high-end peer reviewed journals, in addition to landing on the cover of one of the field’s top journals, Human Brain Mapping.