Network Structures of the Brain
Human brain develops under special sets of constraints reflected through its physical features. It is spatially embedded into a three-dimensional anatomical space and is subject to metabolic costs in forming axonal connections between regions. Despite the presence of such anatomical and physiological restrictions, human brain shows tremendous functional flexibility in rapidly adapting to different tasks and challenges, especially during development. The structural substrate of such flexibility relies on a distinctive architecture with hierarchically modular organization of neuronal clusters and with special hub regions facilitating the integration of segregated clusters. Unfortunately, little is known about how this modular yet integrative organization is acquired during development. Using our sophisticated connectivity analysis tools, we investigate how the structural brain network is shaped over the course of development, forming a basis for the emergent functional and thereby behavioral characteristics.Moreover, we develop new methodologies in effectively identifying developmental alterations in connectivity patterns that have been proven to be present in clinical samples, between sexes, and during learning.