Research: Human Neuroscience
Areas of Research: Human cognitive neuroscience and brain development.
The development of the human brain is the most protracted of any species. For humans, this makes childhood experience an especially pronounced factor in sculpting the neural hardware that will support essential behaviors in adulthood. Despite its importance, the period of time spanning gestation to adolescence remains glaringly understudied in human cognitive neuroscience. The development of the human brain and the cognition it supports is a powerful lens through which to understanding cognitive neuroscience more generally. My research program aims to address fundamental questions whose answers lie in the study of the brain, behavior, and their co-development: What are the origins of human brain organization? What is the model that relates a child’s experience to the functional and structural development of their brain? What happens when this development goes awry, as in dyslexia, autism, or prosopagnosia? Addressing these gaps in knowledge inherently requires understanding multiple aspects of the brain, which is why my research employs an array of methods including functional (fMRI), quantitative (qMRI), diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI), and behavioral observations, as well as translational techniques using postmortem tissue and immunohistochemistry. This multimodal approach enables the construction of some of the first models bridging a child’s experience with its impact on the make-up and function of their brain across development.
- Gomez J, Zhen Z, Weiner KS. Human visual cortex is organized along two genetically opposed hierarchical gradients with unique developmental and evolutionary origins. PLOS Biology (2019)
- Gomez J, Barnett M, Grill-Spector K. Extensive childhood experience with Pokémon suggests eccentricity drives organization of visual cortex. Nature Human Behavior (2019)
- Gomez J, Natu V, Jeska B, Barnett M, Grill-Spector K. Development differentially sculpts receptive fields across early and high-level human visual cortex. Nature Communications (2018)
- Gomez J, Barnett M, Mezer A, Natu V, Weiner K, Palomero-Gallagher N, Amunts K, Zilles K, Grill-Spector K. Microstructural proliferation in human cortex is coupled with the development of face processing. Science (2017)
- Gomez J, Pestilli F, Witthoft N, Golarai G, Liberman A, Poltoratski S, Yoon J, Grill-Spector K. Functionally defined white matter reveals segregated pathways in human ventral temporal cortex associated with category-specific processing. Neuron (2015)