NEWS | April 2, 2012

Imaging and the brain the focus of the next MIND Institute distinguished lecture


F. Xavier Castellanos, director and vice-chair for research at the New York University Child Study Center's Phyllis Green and Randolph Cōwen Institute for Pediatric Neuroscience, will discuss "The Restless Brain: Spontaneous Brain Fluctuations and Increased Variability in ADHD," during the next UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series presentation.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 11, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the MIND Institute auditorium at 2825 50th St., Sacramento.

Castellanos, a renowned neuroscientist who serves as the Brooke and Daniel Neidich Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and professor of Radiology at the NYU School of Medicine, conducts research on the neuroscience of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders, combining neuroimaging, genetic, and biological marker approaches.

Moment-to-moment fluctuations in task performance can be distressing for the child with ADHD and their parents or teachers, as it's a challenge to understand why persons with ADHD can sometimes present with good attentional focus, yet at other times with impaired attention. Neuroimaging research is examining patterns of brain activity and connectivity that may underlie these inconsistencies.

Converging but incomplete lines of evidence support the hypothesis that, in those with ADHD, spontaneous fluctuations among large-scale networks--including the default network, the frontal-parietal executive control network, and the dorsal and ventral attention networks--coincides with fluctuations in small-scale tasks. In his talk, Castellanos will detail this promising area of ADHD research.

Castellanos studied linguistics at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, obtained his masters degree in experimental psychology from the University of New Orleans and his doctorate in medicine at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, and completed a research fellowship in child psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health.

He is the founder of the Phyllis Green and Randolph Cōwen Institute for Pediatric Neuroscience, whose mission is to conduct interdisciplinary/translational research studies focused on understanding the causes and developmental pathways that lead to pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders and to provide research training at multiple stages of career development.

Other Distinguished Lecturer Series speakers will include Steven F. Maier of the University of Colorado, who will speak on "The Role of Hippocampal Microglia in Age-Related Cognitive Decline" on May 9, and Judith H. Miles of the University of Missouri, who will close this year's series with a talk on "Delineation of Etiological Subgroups within the Autism Diagnosis" on June 13.

All Distinguished Lecturer Series presentations are free and open to the public, with no reservations required. The MIND Institute Resource Center, specializing in information and resources relating to neurodevelopmental disorders and related conditions, is open one hour before and 30 minutes after each presentation.

The UC Davis MIND Institute, in Sacramento, Calif., was founded in 1998 as a unique interdisciplinary research center where parents, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers collaborate to study and treat autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute has major research efforts in autism, Tourette syndrome, fragile X syndrome, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More information about the institute, including previous presentations in its Distinguished Lecture Series, is available on the Web at