Cognition, Brain, and Autism Laboratory


Welcome to the Cognition, Brain, and Autism (CBrA) Laboratory
 at the Department of Psychology, homeUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Civitan International Research Center. Our lab is dedicated to investigating the brain mechanisms underlying social, cognitive, and affective processes in typical and atypical development. To pursue this goal, we study people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) as well as healthy control participants. We rely on a wide variety of imaging techniques to understand brain structure, function, and connectivity. Some of the techniques employed in our lab are functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to measure the changes in blood flow in the brain in the context of a cognitive or social task. Techniques such as functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) are used to assess different aspects of connectivity (synchronization, causal connectivity, white matter integrity) among different brain regions. We also look at the morphological properties of cerebral cortex such as cortical volume, cortical thickness, surface area, and gyrification. In addition, we have started using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to estimate the concentration of brain metabolites in order to infer the quality of neurons in a certain area of the brain. Using these multimodal neuroimaging techniques provide an opportunity to examine the brain in typical and ASD individuals at multiple levels.