Congratulations to our graduates – Class of 2023!

Warm felicitations to our freshly minted Phd and MSc graduates -Yu Fangwen, Liu Xiqin, Guojuan Jiao and Ran Zhang!

  • New preprint from Benjamin Klugah-Brown, Mercy Bore and Ben Becker showing neurostructural changes in glaucoma and their overlap with disorders exhibiting emotional dysregulations is out. Access link:
  • New preprint from Xianyang Gan showing a decoder for the experience of disgust. It shows that the experience of unfairness elicits the disgust signature. Access link:
  • New dimensional neuroimaging approach study from Lan Wang and Xinqi Zhou shows that individual variations in fear of missing out (FOMO) are associated with the levels of problematic smartphone/social media use and the brain structual architecture of the right precuneus, a core hub of the posterior default mode network(DMN) involved in social and self-referential processes. Access link:
  • New preprint from Ting Xu and Ben Becker that combines transcriptomics with pharmaco-fMRI to map the human angiotensin II brain system and its function is now out. Access link:
  • New dimensional approaches paper from Fangwen Yu and Ben Becker showing that Internet use disorder (IUD) symptom-domain specific associations with progressive alterations in the intrinsic structural and functional organization of the brain, particularly of striatal systems involved in reward, habitual and cognitive control processes. Access link:
  • New preprint from Mercy Bore, Benjamin Klugah-Brown and Ben Becker shows distinct neurofunctional alterations during processing of rewards. The right striatum and subgenual ACC exhibit generally reduced reward reactivity in patients with depression. subsequent analyses demonstrates that more ventral parts of the right striatum (caudate) show reduced reactivity during monetary reward outcome while more dorsal and bilateral parts of the striatum (putamen) show reduced reactivity during receipt of natural rewards. Access link:
  • New preprint from Lan Wang and Xinqi Zhou showing that Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is associated with cortical thickness variations in core nodes of the posterior default mode network and social media addiction. Access link:
  • New meta-analytic paper from Stefania Ferraro and Ben Becker showing that the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are rooted in a single functional network similar to the salience network and anchored in the bilateral dorsal anterior insular cortex, midcingulate cortex, and the bilateral inferior parietal lobule. Access link:
  • New study from Xiqin Liu and Ben Becker shows that faces with threatening expressions are better remembered at 1.5 years and that this is related to individual differences in the bilateral inferior occipital gyrus (IOG) and ventromedial prefrontal/orbitofrontal cortex (vmPFC/OFC) activity during encoding. Access link:
  • New study from Dr. Xinqi Zhou shows that the choice of analysis software for brain structure strongly influences the results. Xinqi focused on Voxel-Based Morphometry (VBM) – an analysis that is used in excess of 600 studies per year – and shows that the choice of VBM analysis software strongly influences the results of a study. For instance, differences in brain structure between men and women changed dramatically depending on which software was used. This strongly challenges the interpretability and biological plausibility of thousands of studies that used VBM. Now out in Communications Biology. Access link:
  • New study from Dr. Ting Xu and Ben Becker shows that the angiotensin antagonist losartan abolished the memory advantage for negative events in the absence of effects on emotional processing and this attenuation was mirrored in valence-specific decreased hippocampus activity and coupling of this region with the basolateral amygdala. Now out in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Access link:
  • New study from Xianyang Gan reveals common and distinct neurofunctional representations of core and social disgust in the brain. Xianyang performed a series of coordinate-based neuroimaging meta-analyses using GingerALE 3.0.2 and shows that (a) disgust generally engaged occipital, insular, amygdalar and prefrontal regions, (b) core disgust engaged threat detection, social disgust social cognitive networks, and (c) both engaged anterior insular and fusiform regions as common neural basis. Many theoretical models have been proposed to further disentangle the deeper mechanisms of disgust processing in the brain, e.g., embodied simulation theories, a neurobiological model for the domain-specific core disgust and a face processing model for the domain-specific social disgust. Together this work demonstrates robust neural bases of the primary disgust response and processing of the associated social-communicative signal as well as distinct and common neurofunctional representations of these processes. Now out in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. Access link:
  • New neuroimaging meta-analysis from Xiqin Liu and Ben Becker shows that fear, anxiety and depression have a different brain structural basis. The study provides the first meta-analytic evidence for distinct neuroanatomical abnormalities underlying the pathophysiology of anxiety-, fear-related and depressive disorders. These findings may help determining promising target regions for disorder-specific neuromodulation interventions. Now out in Translational Psychiatry. Access link:
  • Ran Zhang and Feng Zhou developed a precision pharmaco-fMRI approach to overcome the limited specificity that impedes the use of fMRI for treatment evaluation. Combining pharmacological blockade of the angiotensin-renin receptor (ATR1) via losartan and multivariate neuroaffective fMRI signatures they demonstrate a functional specific regulation of subjective fear by the ATR1. Now out in Biological Psychiatry: CNNI Access link: