Early Brain Development
One of the key topics of our research is to better understand early brain development. Through an integrated approach combining both structural (e.g., DTI) and functional (e.g., fMRI and resting state fMRI) brain imaging, we aim to peek into brain’s most complicated wiring process during the first years of life. The intricate relationship between brain’s structural development, functional growth, and behavioral improvements will be systematically studied. Moreover, the intricate interplay between genes and environment during this process will also be explored based on a twin study design. Finally, leveraging the understanding gained from normal brain development, the neurophysiological mechanism underlying various brain disorders with a developmental origin will be tackled, potentially helping early diagnosis and intervention.
Normal/Diseased Brain Functioning
The recently emerged functional connectivity technique proves to be a powerful tool to delineate the interaction pattern within and between the brain’s various functional networks. Based on this exciting new tool, we are interested in delineating the brain’s network organization during resting state as well as its dynamic reorganization under different cognitive manipulations. Through combined imaging-behavior studies, we aim to unveil the complex network-level functioning mechanism of the normal human brain. More importantly, the potential disruptions of the such network-level interaction mechanism under different pathological states will also be investigated.
Wei Gao, Assistant Professor. Radiology and BRIC.
UNC School of Medicine
Functional Brain Imaging Lab
Department of Radiology
& Biomedical Research Imaging Center