Kennedy Center Lectures on Development and Developmental Disabilities: Fumiko Hoeft

Kennedy Center Lectures on Development and Developmental Disabilities: Fumiko Hoeft

Intergenerational Imaging of Reading Networks

Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Director of Laboratory for Educational Neuroscience (LENS), University of California San Francisco

Thursday, Feb. 12, 4:10-5:10 p.m.
Room 241, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center/One Magnolia Circle Building

Parents have large influence on offspring’s brain and cognitive development that ranges from genetic, to pre-, peri- and post-natal environmental influences. The intergenerational multiple deficit model affords integration of these influences as well as others, whether parental or non-parental, genetic or environmental, and risk or protective, to explain individual variability in reading ability and liability for developing dyslexia, a specific reading disability. Further, it has recently been suggested that most complex traits show intergenerational sex-specific transmission patterns. Because dyslexia/reading is a complex phenotype with such multifactorial influences and interaction among these factors, and macrocircuits also include heterogeneous components with complex interaction among components, macrocircuits may be an ideal target for investigation, where key causes may converge in ways that lead to complex phenotypes such as reading and dyslexia.

Based on these notions, we are currently examining how parental cognitive and neuroimaging patterns are associated with offspring’s reading and related imaging patterns. We first establish the feasibility of this novel approach, intergenerational imaging, by confirming maternal transmission patterns in the cortico-limbic system that is well established in gene expression and behavioral studies of animals and humans. We then interrogate network patterns related to reading, and show strong intergenerational transmission patterns. We discuss preliminary findings in light of historical etiological theories of dyslexia (e.g. testosterone theory). We also introduce our new research program that will allow us to dissociate prenatal influence from genetic and postnatal influence, which has traditionally not been feasible in humans, but is critically important in dissecting the neurobiological mechanisms underlying reading and dyslexia.

Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D., is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist, Director of Laboratory for Educational Neuroscience (, and Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at UCSF. Her laboratory’s research is centered around neurodevelopment using neuroimaging and approaches such as multivariate pattern and network analyses, with a focus on the neuroscience of literacy acquisition, dyslexia and autism. Dr. Hoeft trained in medicine, psychiatry, neurophysiology, system and cognitive neurosciences at Keio Univ in Japan, Harvard, Caltech, UCLA and Stanford. She has over 80 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience and Psychological Sciences, and has won numerous awards from organizations such as the World Psychiatric Association, Biological Psychiatry, Mind Science Foundation, Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. Dr. Hoeft was the Norman Geschwind Memorial Lecturer at the Int’l Dyslexia Association’s 2014 Annual Conference. She has been at UCSF since 2012, and also holds appointments at Haskins Laboratories at Yale, Keio, and at the Center for Childhood Creativity as Scientific Advisor.

For more information, call (615) 322-8240.

Last Updated: 2/19/2015

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