Current Studies

Social Cognition in Epilepsy Study

This project aims to understand how intractable focal epilepsy impacts both structural and functional brain development in teenagers. We also want to learn if surgical treatments for epilepsy may result in improvements in brain function in addition to controlling seizures.  In this study we are comparing children with epilepsy who undergo surgery to those who do not undergo surgery.  We are also comparing both groups to a healthy control population. MRI scans in all groups will take place at two time points approximately one year apart.  For participants who undergo surgery, the first time point will occur prior to surgery, and the second one-year post surgery.  We will acquire functional MRI data to assess brain activity when participants are decoding emotional expressions in faces and voices.  We will also acquire data to help us understand how structural and functional connectivity of the brain are impacted by epilepsy and recover following surgery.

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LEAF Imaging Study

The LEAF imaging study is a brain imaging companion to the Lifestyle and Early Achievement in Families study being conducted by Dr. Klebanoff and Dr. Keim.

This study uses computer based tasks and MRI to probe a variety of cognitive functions including attention, inhibitory control, and visual working memory (face memory) in 7-8 year old children from diverse backgrounds.

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Gender Dysphoria Study

The Gender Dysphoria study is a brain imaging and questionnaire based study being conducted in conjunction with Drs. Nahata and Leibowitz of the THRIVE Clinic. The goal of this study is to gain a better understanding of the impact of hormone manipulations on brain development and mental health among gender dysphoric teens. This research will result in a better understanding of the impacts that gonadal hormone blockers like gonadotropin agonists and gender affirming hormone treatments like testosterone and estrogen have on brain development and psychological well-being.

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Testosterone Treatment Study

This project is designed to understand the effects testosterone has on a wide variety of physical aspects of the body as well as on emotional responses to social stimuli in teenage boys. We will compare composition of body and brain as well as functional MRI responses of boys who are receiving various doses of testosterone therapy. Longitudinal analysis of effects of testosterone on brain and behavioral responses to social threat and affiliation will be assessed with functional neuroimaging. In addition muscle strength, body fat and hormone profile will be also be measured.

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Social Outcomes of Preterm Adolescents Study

The SOPA study performed in collaboration with Dr. Gerry Taylor is a study of the effects of premature birth on adolescent development. While children who were born very premature tend to have difficulties with emotional and cognitive functions when they are young, little is known about how this population functions during the adolescent years. The SOPA study is designed to assess emotional and social functioning, and the brain mechanisms that support these processes, in adolescents born very premature compared to those born at term. The study involves both a questionnaire and an MRI session.

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