“Cortical Organization in Human and Nonhuman Primates: The Evolution of Cognitive Areas and Circuits”
Thesis lab: David Van Essen (WashU Dept. of Neuroscience)
Abstract: Similarities in organization of cerebral cortex in humans and nonhuman primates offer the promise of leveraging data from invasive animal studies to better understand the complexities of the human brain, particularly those related to higher cognitive function (e.g. attention, working memory, language). Such comparisons necessitate the identification of convincing cortical homologues (areas or regions presumed to have derived from a common ancestor), requiring an accurate interspecies mapping of cortical areas and features. To this end, I will describe (i) a survey of connectivity and its measures across primate species, particularly retrograde tracing and diffusion tractography, (ii) a morphometric analysis of cognitive regions, namely prefrontal cortex , and (iii) the development of a cortical surface registration driven by multimodal data types to directly compare cortical connectivity measures across species. This novel interspecies registration reveals expansion of primarily cognitive regions from macaque to human not described by previous efforts and suggests non-uniform expansion across functional networks and their constituent areas.