Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience in the Era of Big Data

October 19, 2023
Psychology 1312
Damien Fair, University of Minnesota


Damien Fair is Redleaf Endowed Director, Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB) and Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. After receiving his PhD in Neuroscience from Washington University in Saint Louis, Dr. Fair served as a postdoctoral scholar and then an associate professor of behavioral neuroscience and psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University. In 2020 he moved to the University of Minnesota. Dr. Fair's research focuses on mechanisms and principles that underlie the developing brain. The majority of this work uses functional MRI and resting state functional connectivity MRI to assess typical and atypical populations. A second focus has become testing the feasibility of using various functional and structural MRI techniques in translational studies of developmental neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Fair is exploring ways to better characterize individual patients with these psychopathologies to help guide future diagnostic, therapeutic and genetic studies. In 2020, Dr. Fair was selected for the MacArthur Fellows Program. In 2013, he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.


Developmental cognitive neuroscience is being pulled in new directions by network science and big data. Brain imaging (e.g. functional MRI, functional connectivity MRI), analytical advances (e.g. graph theory, machine learning), and access to large computing resources have empowered us to collect and process neuro-behavioral data faster and in larger populations than ever before. The clinical and translational potential from these advances is unparalleled, as a better understanding of complex human brain function is best grounded in the onset of these functions during human development. Here I examine the state of developmental cognitive neuroscience in the era of networks and ‘big data’ and highlight the solid footing we can take forward into future discovery and real-world applications.

This lecture will take place at 4 pm in Psychology 1312 on the UCSB campus and is free and open to the public.