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Kevin Weiner
Research Associate

From microns to systems: Understanding anatomical and functional features contributing to the structure of cortical networks

While it was once believed that the functional organization of human high-level visual cortex (HLVC) was variable from one brain to the next, we are now starting to uncover that HLVC is actually predictably variable (Weiner and Grill-Spector, NeuroImage, 2010, Weiner and Grill-Spector, NeuroImage, 2011, Weiner & Grill-Spector 2012, TiCS. Weiner & Grill-Spector, 2013 Psych Research, Weiner et al., 2014, NeuroImage, Grill-Spector & Weiner, 2014 Nature Reviews Neuroscience).
In particular, the location of functional regions in HLVC follows the variability in sulcal and gyral patterning in each individual subject. Two key methodological advancements have been essential to quantify these correspondences: (1) clarifying the morphology of tertiary anatomical structures and (2) high-resolution fMRI (1.5mm voxels). Implementing this approach reveals that higher order regions such as the fusiform face area and extrastriate body area contain multiple functional clusters, each of which are predictable from cortical folding patterns. Building on this foundation, we have continued to explore and to uncover anatomical and functional features that contribute to this consistent structural-functional coupling not only in HLVC, but also throughout the brain.



What anatomical and functional factors might constrain this consistent structural-functional coupling?

Recently, in collaboration with Katrin Amunts and Karl Zilles, we showed that cytoarchitectonics likely contribute to this consistent structural-functional coupling. Specifically, a cytoarchitectonic boundary within the mid-fusiform sulcus also corresponds to the boundary of many large-scale functional maps ( Weiner et al., 2014, NeuroImage Grill-Spector & Weiner, 2014 Nature Reviews Neuroscience Lorenz et al, 2015 Cerebral Cortex ). In collaboration with Bruce Fischl, we are following this up and further quantifying how well functional regions correspond with cytoarchitectonic areas. In collaboration with the Wandell lab (Yeatman, Weiner et al., 2014,PNAS Weiner et al., 2016,Cortex) we recently rediscovered a white matter pathway that terminates in the posterior extent of the MFS and are presently examining how anatomical connectivity may also contribute to the functional organization of HLVC. In addition to anatomical factors, we are also examining how functional factors such as temporal frequency contribute to the functional organization of HLVC (Stigliani et al., 2015,Journal of Neuroscience).


History of neuroscience.

I am also interested in the history of neuroscience and in particular, arguments that have caused structures to be written out of history (Yeatman, Weiner et al., 2014,PNAS, Weiner & Zilles, 2016, Neuropsychologia). I am also interested in how secretive societies once existed to study the brains of eminent people and how flavors of these societies still exist (Weiner, 2014 Nature; Weiner, 2015 Brain and Cognition).