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Beatriz Luna, PhD

2024-05-23 @ 11:00 - 12:00 EDT

Please join us on Thursday, May 23, 2024, from 11:00-12:00 for our next Perspectives in Youth Mental Health Speaker Series – 2024 by Beatriz Luna, PhD. This seminar is sponsored by the Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.


Beatriz Luna, PhD
University of Pittsburg


Maturation of brain mechanisms underlying the transition from adolescence to adulthood cognitive processing

Speaker Biography

Beatriz Luna, PhD is the Distinguished Staunton Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics as well of Professor of Psychology, BioEngineering, and Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the founder and Director of the Laboratory for Neurocognitive Development, a founder and past president of the Flux Society for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, and Scientific Director of the Magnetic Resonance Research Center. Dr. Luna uses multimodal neuroimaging to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms that support the normative transition from adolescence to adulthood when lifetime trajectories are determined to inform aberrant trajectories such as in mental illness. She has received numerous awards including the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring, and the Flux Huttenlocher Award for pioneering work in developmental cognitive neuroscience. Her research has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health and has informed US Supreme Court briefs regarding extended sentencing in the juvenile justice system. Her extensive media history also includes a cover story in National Geographic and a PBS Special with Alan Alda – “Brains on Trial”.


In this talk Dr. Luna will present the findings from a collection of our studies that provide evidence for her Driven Dual Systems model, which proposes that by adolescence there is availability of adult level executive processes, but they are driven by increased reward reactivity to gain new experiences needed to specialize and establish adult trajectories. She will start by presenting behavioral and neuroimaging studies (fMRI, MEG, EEG) that characterize the shape of cognitive development and the brain mechanisms that support its optimization into adulthood. Importantly, new evidence using MRSI will be presented reflecting plasticity through adolescence in prefrontal cortex. Next, she will present our findings regarding the maturation of the reward/motivation system including neuroimaging approaches that measure dopamine function (PET, striatal tissue iron) and interactions with the executive system including inhibitory control and executive function. She will finish with a broad model of adolescent neurocognitive development and implications to psychopathology.

How to participate

The event will be held in the Bowerman Room and will be rebroadcast by Zoom.

Zoom info
Meeting ID: 899 9487 6406

Passcode 137999


11:00 - 12:00 EDT
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