Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Neurosciences)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Human neuroimaging techniques enable researchers and clinicians to non-invasively study brain function across the lifespan in both healthy and clinical populations. However, functional brain imaging methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are expensive, resource-intensive, and require dedicated facilities, making these powerful imaging tools generally unavailable for assessing brain function in settings demanding open, unconstrained, and portable neuroimaging assessments. Tools such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) afford greater portability and wearability, but at the expense of cortical field-of-view and spatial resolution. High-Density Diffuse Optical Tomography (HD-DOT) is an optical neuroimaging modality directly addresses the image quality limitations associated with traditional fNIRS techniques through densely overlapping optical measurements. This thesis aims to establish the feasibility of using HD-DOT in a novel application demanding exceptional portability and flexibility: mapping disrupted cortical activity in chronically malnourished children. I first motivate the need for dense optical measurements of brain tissue to achieve fMRI-comparable localization of brain function (Chapter 2). Then, I present imaging work completed in Cali, Colombia, where a cohort of chronically malnourished children were imaged using a custom HD-DOT instrument to establish feasibility of performing field-based neuroimaging in this population (Chapter 3). Finally, in order to meet the need for age appropriate imaging paradigms in this population, I develop passive movie viewing paradigms for use in optical neuroimaging, a flexible and rich stimulation paradigm that is suitable for both adults and children (Chapter 4).


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Joseph P. Culver

Committee Members

Ana María Arbeláez, Nico Dosenbach, Jonathan Peelle, Christopher Smyser


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/y52e-5e28