Nicole R. Zurcher Wimmer, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Mass General Research Institute
Assistant Professor of Radiology
Harvard Medical School
Research Staff
Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
PhD Ecole Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne 2012
autism spectrum disorder; cognitive processing; migraine; neuroimaging; neurolimbic system

In (their) research at the MGH-Martinos Center, (the Hadjikhani Lab has) been using different methods of brain imaging (fMRI, EEG, MEG) to better characterize the different functional components of our visual system. Using fMRI, (they) discovered and characterized the area of the brain that is responsible for color vision. Using this extensive base of knowledge of the functional organization of the brain, (they) extended the scope of my research beyond the visual system, in the broader context of neurological diseases such as brain damage following focal lesions, migraine, and developmental disorders such as autism.

The neurolimbic system is interestingly at the core of these two conditions, namely migraine and autism. In migraine, it is involved in the perception of pain and in the sensitization of the cortex over time, which can lead to the progression from episodic to chronic migraine, and may be connected with some of the co-morbidities associated with migraine, including mood and anxiety disorders; in autism, we know since the pioneering work from Bauman and Kemper (1985) that there are anatomical abnormalities in the amygdala, and dysfuntions of the limbic system are participating to the social and emotional difficulties encountered by individuals with autism.

Hooker Research Group Hadjikhani Neurolimbic Research Lab Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging Publications
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
CNY-Building #149
149 13th Street
Charlestown, MA 02129-2000