All Publications

  • Lateral frontoparietal functional connectivity based on individual sulcal morphology. bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology H√§kkinen, S., Voorhies, W. I., Willbrand, E. H., Tsai, Y. H., Gagnant, T., Yao, J. K., Weiner, K. S., Bunge, S. A. 2024


    A salient neuroanatomical feature of the human brain is its pronounced cortical folding, and there is mounting evidence that sulcal morphology is relevant to functional brain architecture and cognition. Recent studies have emphasized putative tertiary sulci (pTS): small, shallow, late-developing, and evolutionarily new sulci that have been posited to serve as functional landmarks in association cortices. A fruitful approach to characterizing brain architecture has been to delineate regions based on transitions in fMRI-based functional connectivity profiles; however, exact regional boundaries can change depending on the data used to generate the parcellation. As sulci are fixed neuroanatomical structures, here, we propose to anchor functional connectivity to individual-level sulcal anatomy. We characterized fine-grained patterns of functional connectivity across 42 sulci in lateral prefrontal (LPFC) and lateral parietal cortices (LPC) in a pediatric sample (N = 43; 20 female; ages 7-18). Further, we test for relationships between pTS morphology and functional network architecture, focusing on depth as a defining characteristic of these shallow sulci, and one that has been linked to variability in cognition. We find that 1) individual sulci have distinct patterns of connectivity, but nonetheless cluster together into groups with similar patterns - in some cases with distant rather than neighboring sulci, 2) there is moderate agreement in cluster assignments at the group and individual levels, underscoring the need for individual-level analyses, and 3) across individuals, greater depth was associated with higher network centrality for several pTS. These results highlight the importance of considering individual sulcal morphology for understanding functional brain organization.A salient, and functionally relevant, feature of the human brain is its pronounced cortical folding. However, the links between sulcal anatomy and brain function are still poorly understood - particularly for small, shallow, individually variable sulci in association cortices. Here, we explore functional connectivity among individually defined sulci in lateral prefrontal and parietal regions. We find that individual sulci have distinct patterns of connectivity but nonetheless cluster together into groups with similar connectivity - in some cases spanning lateral prefrontal and parietal sulci. We further show that the network centrality of specific sulci is positively associated with their depth, thereby helping to bridge the gap between individual differences in brain anatomy and functional networks leveraging the sulcal anatomy of the individual.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/2024.04.18.590165

    View details for PubMedID 38659961

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC11042283

  • Defining putative tertiary sulci in lateral prefrontal cortex in chimpanzees using human predictions. Brain structure & function Hathaway, C. B., Voorhies, W. I., Sathishkumar, N., Mittal, C., Yao, J. K., Miller, J. A., Parker, B. J., Weiner, K. S. 2023


    Similarities and differences in brain structure and function across species are of major interest in systems neuroscience, comparative biology, and brain mapping. Recently, increased emphasis has been placed on tertiary sulci, which are shallow indentations of the cerebral cortex that appear last in gestation, continue to develop after birth, and are largely either human or hominoid specific. While tertiary sulcal morphology in lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) has been linked to functional representations and cognition in humans, it is presently unknown if small and shallow LPFC sulci also exist in non-human hominoids. To fill this gap in knowledge, we leveraged two freely available multimodal datasets to address the following main question: Can small and shallow LPFC sulci be defined in chimpanzee cortical surfaces from human predictions of LPFC tertiary sulci? We found that 1-3 components of the posterior middle frontal sulcus (pmfs) in the posterior middle frontal gyrus are identifiable in nearly all chimpanzee hemispheres. In stark contrast to the consistency of the pmfs components, we could only identify components of the paraintermediate frontal sulcus (pimfs) in two chimpanzee hemispheres. Putative LPFC tertiary sulci were relatively smaller and shallower in chimpanzees compared to humans. In both species, two of the pmfs components were deeper in the right compared to the left hemisphere. As these results have direct implications for future studies interested in the functional and cognitive role of LPFC tertiary sulci, we share probabilistic predictions of the three pmfs components to guide the definitions of these sulci in future studies.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00429-023-02638-7

    View details for PubMedID 37195311

    View details for PubMedCentralID 1959460

  • Presence or absence of a prefrontal sulcus is linked to reasoning performance during child development. Brain structure & function Willbrand, E. H., Voorhies, W. I., Yao, J. K., Weiner, K. S., Bunge, S. A. 2022; 227 (7): 2543-2551


    The relationship between structural variability in late-developing association cortices like the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) and the development of higher-order cognitive skills is not well understood. Recent findings show that the morphology of LPFC sulci predicts reasoning performance; this work led to the observation of substantial individual variability in the morphology of one of these sulci, the para-intermediate frontal sulcus (pimfs). Here, we sought to characterize this variability and assess its behavioral significance. To this end, we identified the pimfs in a developmental cohort of 72 participants, ages 6-18. Subsequent analyses revealed that the presence or absence of the ventral component of the pimfs was associated with reasoning, even when controlling for age. This finding shows that the cortex lining the banks of sulci can support the development of complex cognitive abilities and highlights the importance of considering individual differences in local morphology when exploring the neurodevelopmental basis of cognition.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00429-022-02539-1

    View details for PubMedID 35932310

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9418286

  • Sulcal depth in prefrontal cortex: a novel predictor of working memory performance. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) Yao, J. K., Voorhies, W. I., Miller, J. A., Bunge, S. A., Weiner, K. S. 2022


    The neuroanatomical changes that underpin cognitive development are of major interest in neuroscience. Of the many aspects of neuroanatomy to consider, tertiary sulci are particularly attractive as they emerge last in gestation, show a protracted development after birth, and are either human- or hominoid-specific. Thus, they are ideal targets for exploring morphological-cognitive relationships with cognitive skills that also show protracted development such as working memory (WM). Yet, the relationship between sulcal morphology and WM is unknown-either in development or more generally. To fill this gap, we adopted a data-driven approach with cross-validation to examine the relationship between sulcal depth in lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) and verbal WM in 60 children and adolescents between ages 6 and 18. These analyses identified 9 left, and no right, LPFC sulci (of which 7 were tertiary) whose depth predicted verbal WM performance above and beyond the effect of age. Most of these sulci are located within and around contours of previously proposed functional parcellations of LPFC. This sulcal depth model outperformed models with age or cortical thickness. Together, these findings build empirical support for a classic theory that tertiary sulci serve as landmarks in association cortices that contribute to late-maturing human cognitive abilities.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/cercor/bhac173

    View details for PubMedID 35589102

  • Cognitive insights from tertiary sulci in prefrontal cortex NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Voorhies, W., Miller, J. A., Yao, J. K., Bunge, S. A., Weiner, K. S. 2021; 12 (1): 5122


    The lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) is disproportionately expanded in humans compared to non-human primates, although the relationship between LPFC brain structures and uniquely human cognitive skills is largely unknown. Here, we test the relationship between variability in LPFC tertiary sulcal morphology and reasoning scores in a cohort of children and adolescents. Using a data-driven approach in independent discovery and replication samples, we show that the depth of specific LPFC tertiary sulci is associated with individual differences in reasoning scores beyond age. To expedite discoveries in future neuroanatomical-behavioral studies, we share tertiary sulcal definitions with the field. These findings support a classic but largely untested theory linking the protracted development of tertiary sulci to late-developing cognitive processes.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-25162-w

    View details for Web of Science ID 000691022000001

    View details for PubMedID 34433806

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8387420

  • Labeling Lateral Prefrontal Sulci using Spherical Data Augmentation and Context-aware Training. NeuroImage Lyu, I., Bao, S., Hao, L., Yao, J., Miller, J. A., Voorhies, W., Taylor, W. D., Bunge, S. A., Weiner, K. S., Landman, B. A. 2021: 117758


    The inference of cortical sulcal labels often focuses on deep (primary and secondary) sulcal regions, whereas shallow (tertiary) sulcal regions are largely overlooked in the literature due to the scarcity of manual/well-defined annotations and their large neuroanatomical variability. In this paper, we present an automated framework for regional labeling of both primary/secondary and tertiary sulci of the dorsal portion of lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) using spherical convolutional neural networks. We propose two core components that enhance the inference of sulcal labels to overcome such large neuroanatomical variability: (1) surface data augmentation and (2) context-aware training. (1) To take into account neuroanatomical variability, we synthesize training data from the proposed feature space that embeds intermediate deformation trajectories of spherical data in a rigid to non-rigid fashion, which bridges an augmentation gap in conventional rotation data augmentation. (2) Moreover, we design a two-stage training process to improve labeling accuracy of tertiary sulci by informing the biological associations in neuroanatomy: inference of primary/secondary sulci and then their spatial likelihood to guide the definition of tertiary sulci. In the experiments, we evaluate our method on 13 deep and shallow sulci of human LPFC in two independent data sets with different age ranges: pediatric (N=60) and adult (N=36) cohorts. We compare the proposed method with a conventional multi-atlas approach and spherical convolutional neural networks without/with rotation data augmentation. In both cohorts, the proposed data augmentation improves labeling accuracy of deep and shallow sulci over the baselines, and the proposed context-aware training offers further improvement in the labeling of shallow sulci over the proposed data augmentation. We share our tools with the field and discuss applications of our results for understanding neuroanatomical-functional organization of LPFC and the rest of cortex (

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117758

    View details for PubMedID 33497773