Lisa Bruckert is a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at Stanford School of Medicine. She works at the intersection of experimental and medical science, bridging neuroscience and pediatrics to understand child development and health. Specifically, her current research with Dr. Heidi Feldman and Dr. Katherine Travis uses different neuroimaging techniques to examine how brain maturation promotes cognitive development in infants and young children, both in healthy and at-risk populations. Dr. Bruckert completed her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford in 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Kate Watkins and Dr. Dorothy Bishop. Her doctoral work focused on language-related asymmetries in brain structure and function, and their behavioral relevance in children and adults with developmental language disorders. She received a B.S. in Psychology and an M.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience from the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (Germany).
Member, Maternal & Child Health Research Institute (MCHRI)
Honors & Awards
Predicting Long-Term Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Infants Born Preterm from Diffusion MRI Measures, Stanford Maternal & Child Health Research Institute (MCHRI) (2020)
Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations
Member, Association for Women in Science (AWIS) (2019 - Present)
Member, Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL) (2014 - Present)
Member, Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) (2014 - Present)
Member, Society for Neuroscience (SfN) (2015 - 2016)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford (2017)
Master of Science, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Cognitive Neuroscience (2012)
Bachelor of Science, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Psychology (2009)
Brain and Learning Sciences
Literacy and Language
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Cerebellar Circuitry in Development, Learning, and Clinical Conditions: The structure and functional properties of cerebellar white matter has not been well characterized in children at different ages. While many recent studies document the importance of cerebral white matter circuitry in human development and learning, it remains unclear how circuits that connect cerebellum to the rest of the brain change with age, experience, and disease. I am interested in examining the white matter circuitry of the human cerebellum in normal development and in relation to healthy and disordered cognitive functioning. More generally, I am excited about using different functional and structural neuroimaging techniques to investigate brain plasticity in typically developing children and in pediatric populations.
Associations of Reading Efficiency with White Matter Properties of the Cerebellar Peduncles in Children.
Cerebellum (London, England)
Reading in children has been associated with microstructural properties of the cerebellar peduncles, the white matter pathways connecting the cerebellum to the cerebrum. In this study, we used two independent neuroimaging modalities to assess which features of the cerebellar peduncles would be associated with reading. Twenty-three 8-year-old children were evaluated on word reading efficiency and imaged using diffusion MRI (dMRI) and quantitative T1 relaxometry (qT1). We segmented the superior (SCP), middle, and inferior cerebellar peduncles and extracted two metrics: fractional anisotropy (FA) from dMRI and R1 from qT1. Tract-FA was significantly correlated with tract-R1 in left and right SCPs (left: rP(21)=.63, right: rP(21)=.76, p≤.001) suggesting that FA of these peduncles, at least in part, indexed myelin content. Tract-FA and tract R1 were not correlated in the other cerebellar peduncles. Reading efficiency negatively correlated with tract-FA of the left (rP(21)=-.43, p=.040) and right SCP (rP(21)=-.37, p=.079). Reading efficiency did not correlate with tract-R1 in the SCPs. The negative association of reading efficiency with tract-FA and the lack of association of reading efficiency with tract-R1 implicate properties other than myelin content as relevant to the information flow between the cerebellum and the cerebrum for individual differences in reading skills in children.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12311-020-01162-2
View details for PubMedID 32642932
Neonatal white matter tract microstructure and 2-year language outcomes after preterm birth.
2020; 28: 102446
To determine whether variability in diffusion MRI (dMRI) white matter tract metrics, obtained in a cohort of preterm infants prior to neonatal hospital discharge, would be associated with language outcomes at age 2 years, after consideration of age at scan and number of major neonatal complications.30 children, gestational age 28.9 (2.4) weeks, underwent dMRI at mean post menstrual age 36.4 (1.4) weeks and language assessment with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-III at mean age 22.2 (1.7) months chronological age. Mean fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were calculated for 5 white matter tracts. Hierarchical linear regression assessed associations between tract FA, moderating variables, and language outcomes.FA of the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus accounted for 17% (p = 0.03) of the variance in composite language and FA of the posterior corpus callosum accounted for 19% (p = 0.02) of the variance in composite language, beyond that accounted for by post-menstrual age at scan and neonatal medical complications. The number of neonatal medical complications moderated the relationship between language and posterior corpus callosum FA but did not moderate the association in the other tract.Language at age 2 is associated with white matter metrics in early infancy in preterm children. The different pattern of associations by fiber group may relate to the stage of brain maturation and/or the nature and timing of medical complications related to preterm birth. Future studies should replicate these findings with a larger sample size to assure reliability of the findings.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102446
View details for PubMedID 33035964
Posterior fossa syndrome and increased mean diffusivity in the olivary bodies.
Journal of neurosurgery. Pediatrics
OBJECTIVE: Posterior fossa syndrome (PFS) is a common postoperative complication following resection of posterior fossa tumors in children. It typically presents 1 to 2 days after surgery with mutism, ataxia, emotional lability, and other behavioral symptoms. Recent structural MRI studies have found an association between PFS and hypertrophic olivary degeneration, which is detectable as T2 hyperintensity in the inferior olivary nuclei (IONs) months after surgery. In this study, the authors investigated whether immediate postoperative diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the ION can serve as an early imaging marker of PFS.METHODS: The authors retrospectively reviewed pediatric brain tumor patients treated at their institution, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, from 2004 to 2016. They compared the immediate postoperative DTI studies obtained in 6 medulloblastoma patients who developed PFS to those of 6 age-matched controls.RESULTS: Patients with PFS had statistically significant increased mean diffusivity (MD) in the left ION (1085.17 ± 215.51 vs 860.17 ± 102.64, p = 0.044) and variably increased MD in the right ION (923.17 ± 119.2 vs 873.67 ± 60.16, p = 0.385) compared with age-matched controls. Patients with PFS had downward trending fractional anisotropy (FA) in both the left (0.28 ± 0.06 vs 0.23 ± 0.03, p = 0.085) and right (0.29 ± 0.06 vs 0.25 ± 0.02, p = 0.164) IONs compared with age-matched controls, although neither of these values reached statistical significance.CONCLUSIONS: Increased MD in the ION is associated with development of PFS. ION MD changes may represent an early imaging marker of PFS.
View details for DOI 10.3171/2019.5.PEDS1964
View details for PubMedID 31349230
- Age-Dependent White Matter Characteristics of the Cerebellar Peduncles from Infancy Through Adolescence CEREBELLUM 2019; 18 (3): 372–87
- White Matter Plasticity in Reading-Related Pathways Differs in Children Born Preterm and at Term: A Longitudinal Analysis FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE 2019; 13
- Predicting text reading skills at age 8 years in children born preterm and at term EARLY HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 2019; 130: 80–86
Arterial spin labeling perfusion changes of the frontal lobes in children with posterior fossa syndrome.
Journal of neurosurgery. Pediatrics
Posterior fossa syndrome (PFS) is a common complication following the resection of posterior fossa tumors in children. The pathophysiology of PFS remains incompletely elucidated; however, the wide-ranging symptoms of PFS suggest the possibility of widespread cortical dysfunction. In this study, the authors utilized arterial spin labeling (ASL), an MR perfusion modality that provides quantitative measurements of cerebral blood flow without the use of intravenous contrast, to assess cortical blood flow in patients with PFS.A database of medulloblastoma treated at the authors' institution from 2004 to 2016 was retrospectively reviewed, and 14 patients with PFS were identified. Immediate postoperative ASL for patients with PFS and medulloblastoma patients who did not develop PFS were compared. Additionally, in patients with PFS, ASL following the return of speech was compared with immediate postoperative ASL.On immediate postoperative ASL, patients who subsequently developed PFS had statistically significant decreases in right frontal lobe perfusion and a trend toward decreased perfusion in the left frontal lobe compared with controls. Patients with PFS had statistically significant increases in bilateral frontal lobe perfusion after the resolution of symptoms compared with their immediate postoperative imaging findings.ASL perfusion imaging identifies decreased frontal lobe blood flow as a strong physiological correlate of PFS that is consistent with the symptomatology of PFS. This is the first study to demonstrate that decreases in frontal lobe perfusion are present in the immediate postoperative period and resolve with the resolution of symptoms, suggesting a physiological explanation for the transient symptoms of PFS.
View details for DOI 10.3171/2019.5.PEDS18452
View details for PubMedID 31374541
Stereotactic laser ablation for completion corpus callosotomy.
Journal of neurosurgery. Pediatrics
Completion corpus callosotomy can offer further remission from disabling seizures when a prior partial corpus callosotomy has failed and residual callosal tissue is identified on imaging. Traditional microsurgical approaches to section residual fibers carry risks associated with multiple craniotomies and the proximity to the medially oriented motor cortices. Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) represents a minimally invasive approach for the ablation of residual fibers following a prior partial corpus callosotomy. Here, the authors report clinical outcomes of 6 patients undergoing LITT for completion corpus callosotomy and characterize the radiological effects of ablation.A retrospective clinical review was performed on a series of 6 patients who underwent LITT completion corpus callosotomy for medically intractable epilepsy at Stanford University Medical Center and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford between January 2015 and January 2018. Detailed structural and diffusion-weighted MR images were obtained prior to and at multiple time points after LITT. In 4 patients who underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), streamline tractography was used to reconstruct and evaluate tract projections crossing the anterior (genu and rostrum) and posterior (splenium) parts of the corpus callosum. Multiple diffusion parameters were evaluated at baseline and at each follow-up.Three pediatric (age 8-18 years) and 3 adult patients (age 30-40 years) who underwent completion corpus callosotomy by LITT were identified. Mean length of follow-up postoperatively was 21.2 (range 12-34) months. Two patients had residual splenium, rostrum, and genu of the corpus callosum, while 4 patients had residual splenium only. Postoperative complications included asymptomatic extension of ablation into the left thalamus and transient disconnection syndrome. Ablation of the targeted area was confirmed on immediate postoperative diffusion-weighted MRI in all patients. Engel class I-II outcomes were achieved in 3 adult patients, whereas all 3 pediatric patients had Engel class III-IV outcomes. Tractography in 2 adult and 2 pediatric patients revealed time-dependent reduction of fractional anisotropy after LITT.LITT is a safe, minimally invasive approach for completion corpus callosotomy. Engel outcomes for completion corpus callosotomy by LITT were similar to reported outcomes of open completion callosotomy, with seizure reduction primarily observed in adult patients. Serial DTI can be used to assess the presence of tract projections over time but does not classify treatment responders or nonresponders.
View details for DOI 10.3171/2019.5.PEDS19117
View details for PubMedID 31374542
Microstructural properties of white matter pathways in relation tosubsequent reading abilities in children: a longitudinal analysis.
Brain structure & function
Microstructural properties of white matter pathways are associated with concurrent reading abilities in children. In this longitudinal study, we asked whether properties of white matter pathways at the onset of learning to read would be associated with reading abilities at older ages. Children (N=37) with a wide range of reading abilities completed standardized measures of language and phonological awareness and diffusion MRI at age 6years. Mean tract-fractional anisotropy (FA) was extracted from reading-related pathways. At age 8, the same children were re-assessed using a standardized reading measure. Using linear regressions, we examined the contribution of tract-FA at age 6 to reading outcome at age 8, beyond known demographic and pre-literacy predictors of reading. Tract-FA of the left arcuate, left and right superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), and left inferior cerebellar peduncle (ICP) made unique contributions to reading outcome after consideration of sex and family history of reading delays. Tract-FA of the left and right SLF and left ICP made unique contributions to reading outcome after the addition of pre-literacy skills. Thus, cerebellar and bilateral cortical pathways represented a network associated with subsequent reading abilities. Early white matter properties may be associated with other neuropsychological functions that predict reading or may influence reading development, independent of reading-related abilities. Tract FA at early stages of learning to read may serve as a biomarker of later reading abilities.
View details for PubMedID 30539288
Long-term Supratentorial Radiological Effects of Surgery and Local Radiation in Children with Infratentorial Ependymoma.
OBJECT: Current standard of care for children with infratentorial ependymoma includes maximal safe resection and local radiation of 54-59gy. High-dose local radiation has been associated with declines in multiple cognitive domains. The anatomic and physiologic correlates of this cognitive decline remain undefined and there have been no radiographic studies on the long-term effects of this treatment paradigm.METHODS: A comprehensive database of pediatric brain tumor patients treated at Stanford Children's from 2004-2016 was queried. Seven patients with posterior fossa ependymoma were identified who were treated with surgery and local radiation alone, who had no evidence of recurrent disease, and had imaging suitable for analysis. Diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) datasets were used to calculate apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps for each subject, while arterial spin labeling (ASL) datasets were used to calculated maps of cerebral blood flow (CBF). DWI and ASL datasets of 52 age-matched healthy children were a analyzed in the same fashion to enable group comparisons.RESULTS: Several statistically significant differences were detected between the two groups. CBF was lower in the caudate and pallidum and higher in the nucleus accumbens in the ependymoma cohort compared to controls. ADC was increased in the thalamus and trended towards decreased in the amygdala.CONCLUSIONS: Surgery and local radiation for posterior fossa ependymoma are associated with supratentorial ADC and CBF alterations, which may represent an anatomic and physiologic correlate to the previously published decline in neurocognitive outcomes in this population.
View details for PubMedID 30448581
Framework for shape analysis of white matter fiber bundles
2018; 167: 466–77
Diffusion imaging coupled with tractography algorithms allows researchers to image human white matter fiber bundles in-vivo. These bundles are three-dimensional structures with shapes that change over time during the course of development as well as in pathologic states. While most studies on white matter variability focus on analysis of tissue properties estimated from the diffusion data, e.g. fractional anisotropy, the shape variability of white matter fiber bundle is much less explored. In this paper, we present a set of tools for shape analysis of white matter fiber bundles, namely: (1) a concise geometric model of bundle shapes; (2) a method for bundle registration between subjects; (3) a method for deformation estimation. Our framework is useful for analysis of shape variability in white matter fiber bundles. We demonstrate our framework by applying our methods on two datasets: one consisting of data for 6 normal adults and another consisting of data for 38 normal children of age 11 days to 8.5 years. We suggest a robust and reproducible method to measure changes in the shape of white matter fiber bundles. We demonstrate how this method can be used to create a model to assess age-dependent changes in the shape of specific fiber bundles. We derive such models for an ensemble of white matter fiber bundles on our pediatric dataset and show that our results agree with normative human head and brain growth data. Creating these models for a large pediatric longitudinal dataset may improve understanding of both normal development and pathologic states and propose novel parameters for the examination of the pediatric brain.
View details for PubMedID 29203454
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5845796