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Aysenil Belger

University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll

Department of Psychiatry and Psychology
CB# 7160, Med School Wing D Room 250

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7160
United States

Aysenil Belger's Website
Neurocognition and Imaging Research Laboratory
NIH Biosketch
NSF Biosketch

attention, fMRI, executive function, schizophrenia, autism

The studies conducted in my laboratory are concerned with functional anatomy of attention and information selection in the healthy human brain, and how these neural circuits breakdown in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Our studies utilize multimodal neuroimaging techniques, including functional magnetic resonance imaging, scalp-recorded event-related potentials and behavioral neurocognitive testing batteries. One series of studies aim at identifying the neural substrates of stimulus and response selection, using simple visual and auditory stimuli. Our previous findings have revealed that in the healthy brain, selection of task-relevant information depends both on sensory filtering mechanisms as well as response facilitation and inhibition mechanisms. Our current studies are examining the integrity of both sensory filtering and response selection/inhibition processes in schizophrenia, with attention to both visual and auditory processing modalities. In a second line of research, we are investigating the developmental course of the emergence of the neural and cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia. For these longitudinal projects, we are studying a "high-risk" population of individuals identified at the prodromal stage of the illness, to the onset of the first episode of schizophrenia. In a parallel series of studies, we are examining the neural circuits underlying the processing of task-irrelevant information, and changes in the activity in these circuits by modulation of task demands and availability of attentional resources. Although some previous studies suggested “automatic and obligatory” neural activity associated with the presence of task-irrelevant novel information, the degree of attention allocated to the processing of these irrelevant stimuli and their dependence on the availability of attentional resources has not been determined. My laboratory is also involved in the study of attention and information-processing deficits associated with Autism and Turner syndrome. A growing body of evidence suggests involvement of fronto-striate and fronto-parietal neural circuit dysfunction in the neurocognitive deficits associated with these neurodevelopmental disorders. Data collection for all the neuroimaging studies are being conducted at the Duke-UNC BIAC. Electrophysiological studies are being conducted at the UNC Electrophysiology Laboratory, in the Psychiatry Department. In addition to neuroimaging and analysis facilities at BIAC, my laboratory also has a neuroimage analysis laboratory at UNC.

I sincerely apologize that we have a long-standing and unresolved problem that users are unable to modify the database contents using their logins and passwords. I hope that we can fix this problem soon. In the meantime, I will try to do this manually as best I can.

-- Mark Cohen

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