Principal Investigators //

Julia M. Stephen, PhD

Director, MEG/EEG Core
Professor of Translational Neuroscience

Julia M. Stephen

​Dr. Stephen specializes in magnetoencephalography (MEG) research investigating both sensory and cognitive functioning using the unique spatial and temporal precision afforded by MEG to better understand normal and abnormal brain functioning. Dr. Stephen studies brain development across the age spectrum, focusing on both early, rapid brain development in infants and young children and gradual age-related declines in the elderly. By characterizing the normal functioning of the brain across the age spectrum, it allows us to better understand atypical brain development in neurodevelopmental disorders such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and autism spectrum disorders, and age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Stephen is using multimodal neuroimaging (MEG, EEG and fMRI) to better understand schizophrenia to provide guidance for improved intervention and treatment.  

For more information on Dr. Stephen, please refer to her Curriculum Vitae

Email Dr. Stephen

Selected Publications //

Identifying Markers of Atypical Brain Development Due to Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading cause of developmental delays in children. However, due to the stigma associated with drinking during pregnancy, it is often difficult to identify the children at risk of developmental delays due to prenatal alcohol exposure. Identification of prenatal alcohol exposure at a young age provides the opportunity for early intervention to optimize long-term outcomes. Left untreated, these children are at higher risk of developing addictions and being incarcerated than controls. Based on their neurobehavioral profile, identification of prenatal alcohol exposure in adolescence would suggest a different course of treatment for at-risk youth and could prevent long-term incarceration. This NIH funded pilot study uses MEG, EEG and MRI to identify a unique pattern of brain dysfunction in children prenatally exposed to alcohol.

Auditory and Visual Integration in Schizophrenia

This NIH funded project explores the brain mechanism underlying the integration of auditory and visual stimuli using a simple ecologically relevant multisensory integration task. Individuals with schizophrenia often experience cognitive impairment in addition to the symptoms directly associated with the disorder. Previous studies have shown that impaired sensory processing impacts cognitive functioning in patients with schizophrenia. The goal of this study is to explore the link between basic sensory processing and the integration of sensory signals to better understand the deficits or benefits of multisensory stimuli for targeting cognitive impairment in schizophrenia.