Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience

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cognitive neurosience

Research Focus

  • Fetal and Perinatal Brain Development
  • Ontogeny of Memory Processes


Human fetal brain functional connectivity. Moriah Thomason pioneered fetal functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a safe, non-invasive means for examining brain connections as they form in utero. Dr. Thomason is Principle Investigator for a grant from the Kellogg Foundation studying changes in connections that occur with advancing gestational age and to compare typically developing fetuses to those born prematurely or exposed to chronic inflammation in utero.  In collaboration with Ann Stacks, Marjorie Beeghly, (PuRPLE project) and Athina Pappas, the project follows children in infancy to relate fMRI observations in utero to postnatal neurobehavioral development. For more information visit: ScanLab:

Neural and epigenetic bases of PTSD in youth. As recipient of a Young Investigator Award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD), Moriah Thomason is examining ways in which early life stress and trauma reprogram genetic, endocrine (stress hormones), and neural machinery to alter neurogenic (epigenetics, gene expression) and neurobehavioral development in children. For more information visit: ScanLab:

Characterizing Typical Development of Memory Systems in the Brain. Noa Ofen leads this project applying a basic research approach testing developmental aspects of a variety of memory processes such as recall and recognition, associative memory and emotional memory. The research also studies the effects of cognitive control, executive function, and growth in knowledge base on memory development. For more information visit: Ofen Lab: Cognitive and Brain Development Lab

Testing Memory in Atypical Brain Development: In this line of research, Noa Ofen is improving understanding how various mental disorders that affect children are related to memory. In her collaborations with scientists who study various patient populations, Dr. Ofen is assessing memory development in children born prematurely, adolescents at risk for schizophrenia, and young adults who were exposed prenatally to alcohol and other drugs. For more information visit: Ofen Lab: Cognitive and Brain Development Lab

Educational Implications of Declarative or Episodic Memory. Noa Ofen is leading a project attempting to bridge education and the cognitive neuroscience of memory development. One specific goal is seeking to identify functional and/or structural brain "markers" as potential tools for assessment, and evaluation of effective interventions. For more information visit: Ofen Lab: Cognitive and Brain Development Lab