The D'Esposito Lab is a cognitive neuroscience research laboratory within the
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
and the Department of Psychology.

Recent Publications

Turner, GR, Novakovic-Agopian T, Kornblith ES, Adnan A, Madore M, Chen AJ-W, D'Esposito M.  2020.  Goal-oriented attention regulation (GOALS) training in older adults. Aging and Mental Health. 24(3):464-473.2020_turner.pdf
Toker, D, Sommer FT, D'Esposito M.  2020.  A simple method for detecting chaos in nature., 2020. Communications Biology. 3:11. Abstract2020_toker.pdf

Chaos, or exponential sensitivity to small perturbations, appears everywhere in nature. Moreover, chaos is predicted to play diverse functional roles in living systems. A method for detecting chaos from empirical measurements should therefore be a key component of the biologist's toolkit. But, classic chaos-detection tools are highly sensitive to measurement noise and break down for common edge cases, making it difficult to detect chaos in domains, like biology, where measurements are noisy. However, newer tools promise to overcome these limitations. Here, we combine several such tools into an automated processing pipeline, and show that our pipeline can detect the presence (or absence) of chaos in noisy recordings, even for difficult edge cases. As a first-pass application of our pipeline, we show that heart rate variability is not chaotic as some have proposed, and instead reflects a stochastic process in both health and disease. Our tool is easy-to-use and freely available.

Furman, DJ, White RL, Naskolnakorn JR, Ye S, Kayser AS, D'Esposito M.  2020.  Effects of dopaminergic drugs on cognitive control processes vary by genotype. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 32(5):804-821.2020_furman.pdf
Kimbrough, A, Lurie DJ, Collazo A, Kreifeldt M, Sidhu H, Macedo GC, D'Esposito M, Contet C, George O.  2020.  Brain-wide functional architecture remodeling by alcohol dependence and abstinence., 2020 Jan 14. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117(4):2149-2159. Abstract2020_kimbrough.pdf

Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are key factors in the development of alcohol use disorder, which is a pervasive societal problem with substantial economic, medical, and psychiatric consequences. Although our understanding of the neurocircuitry that underlies alcohol use has improved, novel brain regions that are involved in alcohol use and novel biomarkers of alcohol use need to be identified. The present study used a single-cell whole-brain imaging approach to 1) assess whether abstinence from alcohol in an animal model of alcohol dependence alters the functional architecture of brain activity and modularity, 2) validate our current knowledge of the neurocircuitry of alcohol abstinence, and 3) discover brain regions that may be involved in alcohol use. Alcohol abstinence resulted in the whole-brain reorganization of functional architecture in mice and a pronounced decrease in modularity that was not observed in nondependent moderate drinkers. Structuring of the alcohol abstinence network revealed three major brain modules: 1) extended amygdala module, 2) midbrain striatal module, and 3) cortico-hippocampo-thalamic module, reminiscent of the three-stage theory. Many hub brain regions that control this network were identified, including several that have been previously overlooked in alcohol research. These results identify brain targets for future research and demonstrate that alcohol use and dependence remodel brain-wide functional architecture to decrease modularity. Further studies are needed to determine whether the changes in coactivation and modularity that are associated with alcohol abstinence are causal features of alcohol dependence or a consequence of excessive drinking and alcohol exposure.

Kiyonaga, A, D'Esposito M.  2020.  Competition and Control During Working Memory. Elements in Perception. : Cambridge University Press2020_kiyonaga.pdf