Olivia Surgent

Position title: Morse Scholar 2019-2022

Olivia Surgent, PhD

My research focuses broadly on sensorimotor integration in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I am particularly interested in the neural mechanisms of motor modulation in response to sensory feedback from the environment and how these mechanisms may be different in individuals with ASD compared to those with typical development or other developmental disorders. In order to further characterize these neural mechanisms of sensorimotor integration, I am to use behavioral measures of sensory and motor function along with innovative structural and functional neuroimaging techniques.

Home Department: Neuroscience (Neuroscience Training Program)

Major Professors: Brittany Travers, PhD and Brendon Nacewicz, MD, PhD

Disciplines that I pull from in my research include: Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Computer Science.

Articles that influenced my research:

Cascio, C. J., Woynaroski, T., Baranek, G. T., & Wallace, M. T. (2016). Toward an interdisciplinary approach to understanding sensory function in autism spectrum disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary approach. Autism Research, 9(9), 920–925. doi:10.1002/aur.1612

Nacewicz, B. M., Angelos, L., Dalton, K. M., Fischer, R., Anderle, M. J., Alexander, A. L., & Davidson, R. J. (2012). Reliable non-invasive measurement of human neurochemistry using proton spectroscopy with an anatomically defined amygdala-specific voxel. NeuroImage, 59(3), 2548–2559. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.08.090

Robertson, C. E., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2017). Sensory perception in autism. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 18(11), 671–684. doi:10.1038/nrn.2017.112

Travers, B. G., Bigler, E. D., Tromp, D. P. M., Adluru, N., Destiche, D., Samsin, D., Froehlich, A., Prigge, M. D. B., Duffield, T. C., Lange, N., Alexander, A., Lainhart, J. (2015). Brainstem White Matter Predicts Individual Differences in Manual Motor Difficulties and Symptom Severity in Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(9), 3030–3040. doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2467-9