Brain Wiring in Autism: In recent years it has been discovered that abnormal connections between brain regions in autism may be a fundamental abnormality that can explain the symptoms of autism. We are testing theories about which connections are abnormal, how these connection deficiencies can be used for diagnosis and prognosis in autism, how these abnormalities cause dynamical changes in brain networks to cause autistic traits, and what interventions may be possible to help improve the lives of children and adults with autism.

Neuroimaging of Down Syndrome: Down Syndrome is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability, but scientists know almost nothing about how the brain is wired differently in Down Syndrome. In collaboration with Julie Korenberg, we have undertaken a far reaching, longitudinal project to understand brain abnormalities in this condition, how it may unlock new treatments in Alzheimer Disease, and whether we can use brain imaging to test newly emerging therapies in Down Syndrome patients to improve memory.

Transcendent Experience and Focused Attention: Our laboratory has commenced a study of Zen masters, hoping to learn what changes in the brain come from decades of focused attention and compassion training, and where the brain goes during periods of intense contemplation.

The Simulated Brain Project: We seek to understand the core networks underlying cognitive function, control of attention, and introspection in the brain. Our goal is to use this information to develop models of the brain in silico, with computer modeling of brain networks to help us learn how the brain performs its core functions.

Image Guidance for Deep Brain Stimulation: A revolution is taking place in neurosurgery, with minimally invasive techniques of cortical stimulation and deep brain stimulation allowing new therapies for movement disorders, psychiatric illness, and epilepsy. We are developing image guidance techniques for functional neurosurgery of essential tremor, hoping to allow effective treatments to cure patients with debilitating tremors.

The Religious Brain Project: Relgious experience is among the most powerful, transformative forces in the history of civilization, but the neuroscience of religious feeling and the brain is astonishingly primitive. We are undertaking a study of what happens in the brain when religiously devout Mormon (Latter-Day Saint) individuals experience religious enlightenment as a model for how such experiences are shaped by and transform the brain, and how such experiences may promote social behavior.

Focused Ultrasound Mapping of the Brain: High Intensity Focused Ultrasound is an emerging technique that uses powerful bursts of ultrasound that can stimulate small, well-defined regions in the brain or even make targeted lesions for functional neurosurgery. We are testing whether such techniques may be the next revolution in brain mapping, but simultaneously stimulating with ultrasound and imaging the brain with functional MRI.