CNUP Training Faculty

Beatriz Luna, Ph.D.

Staunton Professor of, Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Psychology

Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh (1996)

Office: 121 Meyran Ave, 111 Loeffler Bldg.

Brain basis underlying underlying neurocognitive development through adolescence. Multimodal approaches (fMRI, rsfMRI, MRSI, DTI, MEG, and PET) and analyses are used.

Research Summary:

The adolescent stage of development is a critical period of neurocognitive specialization determining adult modes of operation. Understanding the neural basis of the brain processes that change during this time can inform adolescent heightened sensation seeking, which can lead to risk-taking undermining survival, and vulnerabilities to mental illnesses that emerge at this time. Our studies use multimodal neuroimaging to probe developmental changes through adolescence in: brain function underlying cognitive control, structural and functional connectivity, and neurotransmitter processing. Our primary focus is on normative development but we also examine risk for substance use and psychosis. Our work has identified specific brain systems that are undergoing significant specialization in adolescence including: decreases in frontostriatal and frontoamygdala connectivity, decreases in behavioral and brain state variability, and increases in network integration. These results have led to models of adolescent development indicating adolescent accessibility to prefrontal systems in the context of enhanced motivation –Driven Dual Systems Model - and the integration of experience enhancing cognition - Experience-Driven Adaptive Cognition (EDAC) model. Presently, we are working on major projects probing developmental changes in dopamine processing during reinforcement learning using simultaneous PET/MRI and in ratios of dopamine, GABA, and glutamate processing in prefrontal and hippocampal systems.

Selected Publications:

Larsen B, Verstynen TD, Yeh FC Luna B. Developmental Changes in the Integration of Affective and Cognitive Corticostriatal Pathways is Associated with Reward-Driven Behavior. Cereb Cortex. (In Press)

Montez DF, Calabro FJ, Luna B. The expression of established cognitive brain states stabilizes with working memory development. Elife. 2017 Aug 19;6. pii:e25606. doi: 10.7554/eLife.25606. PMID: 28826493

Jalbrzikowski M, Larsen B, Hallquist MN, Foran W, Calabro F, Luna B. Development of White Matter Microstructure and Intrinsic Functional Connectivity Between the Amygdala and Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex: Associations With Anxiety and Depression. Biol Psychiatry. 2017 Jan 17. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28274468

Simmonds DJ, Hallquist MN, Luna B. Protracted development of executive and mnemonic brain systems underlying working memory in adolescence: a longitudinal fMRI study. Neuroimage. 2017 Apr 26. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28456583.

Hwang K, Ghuman AS, Manoach DS, Jones SR, Luna B. Frontal Preparatory Neural Oscillations Associated with Cognitive Control: A Developmental Study Comparing Young Adults and Adolescents. Neuroimage. 2016 Aug 1;136:139-48. PMID: 27173759

Murty V, Calabro F, Luna B. The role of experience in adolescent cognitive development: Integration of executive, memory, and mesolimbic systems. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2016 Jul 28. PMID: 27477444

Marek S, Hwang K, Foran W, Hallquist MN, Luna B. The Contribution of Network Organization and Integration to the Development of Cognitive Control. PLoS Biol. 2015 Dec 29;13(12):e1002328. PMID: 26713863

Luna B, Marek S, Larsen B, Tervo-Clemmens B, Chahal R. An integrative model of the maturation of cognitive control. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2015 Jul 8;38:151-70. PMID: 2615478