NEWS | March 27, 2013

Development of the brain's networks topic of next MIND Institute Distinguished Lecture


Bradley L. Schlaggar of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis will discuss “Development of the Brain’s Functional Networks” during the next UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series presentation. 

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 10, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the MIND Institute auditorium at 2825 50th St., Sacramento. It is free and open to the public, and no reservations are required. 

Schlaggar, the A. Ernest and Jane G. Stein Associate Professor of Developmental Neurology at Washington University, will discuss his use of a sophisticated analysis approach called “Graph Theory” to analyze the brain. Graph Theory starts from the premise that no single brain region carries out complex functions. Rather, many regions must work together in order to carry out complex information processing. Graph Theory allows scientists to use functional brain imaging to determine which brain regions are interacting in order to accomplish functions such as language, memory and social behavior.

Schlaggar argues that neurodevelopmental approaches that fail to take the principles of graph theory into consideration will likely mischaracterize brain network structure and function. Scientists may also fail to detect alterations in multilevel information processing that lead to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and fragile X.

An associate professor of radiology, anatomy, neurobiology, and pediatrics, Schlaggar received an Honors ScB magna cum laude in neural science in 1986 from Brown University in Providence and earned his medical doctor and doctorate degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in 1994. He completed residency training in pediatric medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) and in adult neurology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis before completing his fellowship in pediatric neurology at SLCH in 1999. Winner of the 2002 McDonnell Center for Higher Brain Function Award, Schlaggar currently serves as director of Washington University’s pediatric neurology residency training program.

 Future Distinguished Lecturer Series speakers include:

  • Craig Newschaffer, founding director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute in Philadelphia, explaining “Autism Outcomes and Risk Factors: What Can We Learn from health Care Claims?” on May 8
  • Stephen Scherer of the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto on “Interpreting the Many Autism Risk Genes” on June 12

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 families, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers work together toward a common goal: researching causes, treatments and eventual preventions and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute has major research efforts in autism, fragile X syndrome, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome. More information about the institute and its Distinguished Lecturer Series, including previous presentations in this series, is available on the Web at