Quimby Lee

UC Davis

“Sex-specific cerebrovascular reactivity differences in autism”

As a neuroengineer, my goal is to promote positive outcomes from neurodevelopmental diagnoses by developing accessible neuroimaging tools to better understand and characterize human brain development and its heterogeneous disorders. My current project optimizes an accessible resting-state functional MRI metric of cerebrovascular function for pediatric populations and evaluates whether changes in cerebrovascular function may explain brain network and behavior differences in autistic compared to typical development.


Processes of brain network development during middle childhood (i.e. synaptogenesis, myelination, and pruning) are metabolically demanding; however, the development of the cerebrovasculature required to supply energy substrates to the brain during this critical period of network formation has been understudied in pediatric populations, including neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism. In this study, we will optimize a new, non-invasive measure of relative cerebrovascular reactivity (rCVR), derived from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to directly assess brain vascular function in pediatric and autistic populations. With this accessible protocol, we will utilize large neuroimaging datasets to evaluate regional rCVR differences between TD and ASD children and whether these rCVR changes explain functional connectivity differences in networks associated with autistic traits, and ultimately understand typical and atypical development from a cerebrovascular perspective.

5 + 15 =