Kristina Rewin Ciesielski Lab

Director: Kristina Rewin Ciesielski

Kristina Rewin Ciesielski, PhD in Biological Brain Sciences
Specialization: Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology
Contact: Email: Tel: 505-277-3442

Our studies are devoted to identification of the early brain/behavioral markers of vulnerability to developmental neuropsychiatric disorders rooted in anxiety such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and trauma inflicted by peer bullying-victimization. The central brain mechanism targeted in typically developing children and clinical populations is brain top-down selective inhibitory control with a particular focus on long-range visual networks and cortical-cerebellar networks. Among the early traits of vulnerability, we investigate prodromal heritability in the parents and siblings of patients with OCD and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The ultimate goal is to develop early, effective preventative strategies for children at high-risk.

Multimodal rigorous brain/behavior functional and structural measurements are collected from participating children and parents: neuropsychological test batteries for assessment of cognitive/motor skills (Neuropsychology Unit), evoked potentials and oscillatory brain activity in resting state and task-induced (EEG Unit), and measurement of cortical and subcortical morphology using the FReeSurfer Algorithm (MRI Brain Morphometry Unit). In close collaboration with the Radiology Department of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School we also acquire brain functional data using MEG and fMRI. Our translational collaborative efforts include a pilot study, just completed, using real-time MEG neurofeedback in children aged 6-12, with a highly encouraging outcome.

Currently PNL is housing two master-level doctoral students, a senior undergraduate laboratory manager, four undergraduate research assistants and two post-graduate volunteers.