Helge Malmgren and Steven Grossberg

Lunchseminar with Harvard professor Nouchine Hadjikhani concerning autism research

Nouchine HadjikhaniThree years ago, Nouchine held a lunchseminar for MedTech West on her autism disorder research.

At this seminar, Nouchine will be presenting data related to two new hypothesis concerning autism spectrum disorders. One is the Predictive Impairment Hypothesis, and refers to the work she is currently doing with P. Sinha’s group at MIT, and the other one is the Excitatory/Inhibitory imbalance hypothesis, and refers to work I have been doing in my lab and that we are also now conducting with the GNC.

Nouchine Hadjikhani is Associate Professor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School, where she directs the Neurolimbic Research Laboratory. She is also an Assistant in Radiology at Mass General Hospital and Visiting Professor at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, GNC, Gothenburg University. She is an author of 93 peer-review articles and 9 books chapters and other publications.

In her work Nouchine has employed neuroanatomy, histology, Positron Emission Tomography (PET), functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG) as well as behavioral methods, including eye-tracking, to study the normal and the diseased brain.

In her study she discovered and characterized the area of the brain that is responsible for color vision with use of fMRI. She also showed that the aura of migraine was a phenomenon similar to cortical spreading depression and has since studied the long-term effects of migraine on the brain. In the field of autism, she demonstrated that “low level” visual processing is normal in individuals with autism, ruling out a bottom-up deficit. She was also the first to provide data disproving a popular theory stating that individuals with autism are lacking the brain area devoted to face identification (the “fusiform face area”, or FFA). Anatomical and functional studies conducted by her team have evidenced the presence of abnormalities in the so-called “mirror neuron” areas (which enable us to mimic and mentally simulate the emotions, behavior and movement of others) of young adults with high-functioning autism. Her current work is dedicated to understand the neural bases of the deficits of social instinct in ASD, and to develop neural biomarkers that will help to objectify the effect of therapeutic approaches, both behavioral and pharmacological. Most recently, she demonstrated that affective empathy is preserved in individuals with autism. She published the first functional study on the perception of body expression of emotion in normal subjects. In her current research she is using this new model of emotion perception to examine neurodevelopmental disorders and intend to explore this aspect of emotional cognition in autism, together with the influence of gaze in face processing.

For her outstanding research in the field of autism she received Niclas Öberg Life Watch Award in 2016 and The Leenaards Award in 2010.

Nouchine´s profile at GNC>>

NOTE! We hav added a couple of days for registration because of the weekends. If you register before 13:00 pm on Friday 9 June, you will be served a light lunch after the seminar.

When? 11:30-12:30 (13:00 incl. lunch) Monday 12 June 2017
Where? Förmaket, Vita stråket 12, Sahlgrenska University Hospital