Professor Angus MacDonald III

CLA Psychology
College of Liberal Arts
Twin Cities
Project Title: 
Functional Connectivity and Plasticity in Psychiatric Illnesses and Individual Differences

The overarching goal of this research is to investigate how psychological constructs and constellations of symptoms may be represented in the brain and reproducible across groups of individuals, which is a keystone element for furthering understanding on the mechanisms underlying mental illness. To serve this goal the researchers make use of publicly available large-scale fMRI datasets as well as neuroimaging datasets collected by their own group. There are two specific projects underway in this group:

  • In a close collaboration with Dr. Scott Sponheim, the researchers are working to identify abnormal brain connectivity in probands with psychosis and their first-degree relatives. They are preprocessing this data with the advance Human Connectome Project preprocessing pipelines. These data continue to be analyzed. Ultimately, this work could lead to the derivation of biomarkers that could be further examined for their utility in providing earlier detection rates of psychiatric illness, and thus earlier treatment, for these disability conditions.
  • In a collaboration with Professor Kelvin Lim, the researchers are seeking to identify changes in the neural circuitry on healthy people and patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. This study uses MSI resources for preprocessing and analysis. In 2022, the researchers will continue to expand this dataset, althought more slowly at this time. This work aims to understand how best to use the brain's own plasticity to maximize cognitive gains from intervention.


Project Investigators

Timothy Hendrickson
Rebecca Kazinka
Yizhou Ma
Professor Angus MacDonald III
Dr. Steve Malone
Dr. Bryon Mueller
Donovan Roediger
Amanda Shen
Lei Xuan
Lingyan Yu
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