Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Neurosciences)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



The brain is a network functionally organized at many spatial and temporal scales. To understand how the brain processes information, controls behavior and dynamically adapts to an ever-changing environment, it is critical to have a comprehensive description of the constituent elements of this network and how relationships between these elements may change over time. Decades of lesion studies, anatomical tract-tracing, and electrophysiological recording have given insight into this functional organization. Recently, however, resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has emerged as a powerful tool for whole-brain non-invasive measurement of spontaneous neural activity in humans, giving ready access to macroscopic scales of functional organization previously much more difficult to obtain. This thesis aims to harness the unique combination of spatial and temporal resolution provided by functional MRI to explore the spatial and temporal properties of the functional organization of the brain. First, we establish an approach for defining cortical areas using transitions in correlated patterns of spontaneous BOLD activity (Chapter 2). We then propose and apply measures of internal and external validity to evaluate the credibility of the areal parcellation generated by this technique (Chapter 3). In chapter 4, we extend the study of functional brain organization to a highly sampled individual. We describe the idiosyncratic areal and systems-level organization of the individual relative to a standard group-average description. Further, we develop a model describing the reliability of BOLD correlation estimates across days that accounts for relevant sources of variability. Finally, in Chapter 5, we examine whether BOLD correlations meaningfully vary over the course of single resting-state scans.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Steven E. Petersen

Committee Members

David Van Essen, Bradley Schlaggar, Olaf Sporns, Marcus Raichle,


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7G73C4G