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Decomposing the heterogeneity of autism with fMRI

7 February 2024
9:00 am
San Francesco Complex - Sagrestia

Atypical functional connectivity, as measured with resting state fMRI, is a hallmark feature of autism. However, fundamental questions on the interpretation of fMRI dysconnectivity in autism remain open. For example, why is functional connectivity so heterogeneous across people with autism? What is the etiopathological significance of this heterogeneity? In this seminar, I will highlight some key findings from this recent line of investigation. By reviewing studies on fMRI connectivity mapping in mice and humans carried out with whole-brain and network-based techniques, I will show that functional brain networks are evolutionarily conserved across species. Then, by applying network analysis to human and rodent fMRI brain scans, I will show how we linked synaptic pathology and large-scale network hyper-connectivity in autism. I will finally show how we leveraged a fMRI database of 20 autism-related mouse models and of 2000 brain scans of people with and without autism to enhance our understanding of the neuroconnectional heterogeneity in autism. Together, these cross-species fMRI connectivity studies define a translational framework that sheds light on the functional circuit atypicality in autism.


Join at:

Marco Pagani, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca