Jacob Richards

The Dynamic Resting Brain: Dopamine-Dependent Changes in Functional Connectivity of Intrinsic Networks

The brain is a system of cells that electrically interact with each other in complex ways. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on a human at rest or doing a task, we can identify clusters of cells that work together to transmit electrical messages to other clusters of cells. These functional networks allow us to connect what is happening physiologically in the brain to mental phenomena. It is useful to find a baseline organization of functional networks in the brain to characterize what changes occur when a human begins a task and what happens when the mind wanders” at rest. I will look at subjects at rest with differing levels of brain dopamine (an important chemical for brain function) to identify a collection of functional networks common across subjects and present at both dopamine levels. This will provide insight into intrinsic brain activity as well as direction toward an understanding of the neural correlates of the unconscious mind.

Message to Sponsor

The SURF/Rose Hills fellowship has given me my first opportunity to carry out my own full project and publish the results. This is extremely important to my development as a researcher because it allows me to gain technical experience in data analysis and creative experience in formulating hypotheses and interpreting results. I am greatly thankful to my research mentors, Dr. Mark DEsposito and Dr. Jessica Cohen, for providing guidance and support for my work this summer.
  • Major: Mathematics
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Mark D'Esposito, Neuroscience