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Mark D’Esposito, MD

Mark D’Esposito, PhD Hero with colorful glass sculpture background. Distinguished BrainHealth Scientist Collaborator, The BrainHealth Project.

Carol Heller BrainHealth Project Co-Leader

Dr. Mark D’Esposito investigates the neural mechanisms underlying working memory, cognitive control and frontal lobe function utilizing different convergent experimental approaches such as functional MRI, transcranial magnetic stimulation, pharmacological interventions, and behavioral studies of healthy individuals and those with neurological disorders.

Key Research and Publications

Dr. D'Esposito has been the principal investigator on numerous NIH, private foundation and VA-funded grants. He has authored over 400 research publications, which have been cited over 70,000 times, as well as seven books on the topics of behavioral neurology and cognitive neuroscience.

Woman, thinking with a brain thought bubble.

Top-Down Modulation of Visual Processing: Converging fMRI and ERP Evidence

This study investigates the ability filter out distracting information during a working memory task. Findings suggest a heavier load on working memory impairs one’s ability to filter out distracting information.

Large group of high school students running to class through a hallway. Focus is on a happy student looking at the camera.

Impulsive Personality Predicts Dopamine-Dependent Changes in Fronto-Striatal Activity during Component Processes of Working Memory

This study presents a key link between dopamine function, impulsivity and fronto-striatal activity during component processes of working memory.

An abstract brain illustration made of blue gradient line in a white background.

Hierarchical Cognitive Control Deficits Following Damage to the Human Frontal Lobe

This was the first study to provide causal evidence for a rostral-caudal hierarchical organization of the frontal lobes.

Figure 1 - Representative structural MRI images from participants with visible structural brain lesions.

Training of Goal-Directed Attention Regulation Enhances Control Over Neural Processing for Individuals With Brain Injury

Evidence from this study suggests that participation in a goal-directed training program may underlie improvements in attention and executive control.

See through 3D brain black and white image

Focal Brain Lesions Cause Widespread Disruption of the Modular Organization of the Brain

Suggesting focal brain damage can produce widespread, nonlocal impacts on brain network organization, this study contributes to growing literature proposing the function of individual brain regions cannot be considered in isolation.

More Information

Learning in Retirement - The Modular Brain

The brain is widely assumed to be a modular system. In this talk, Dr. Mark D'Esposito discusses a series of empirical findings from fMRI studies that begin to elucidate the neural architecture of modular processing by showing that brain modules execute discrete processes and connector hubs are likely integrating and sending information across modules in support of goal-directed cognition.

Leveraging Graph Theory to Understand the Large Scale Organization of Cognitive Control

Mark D’Esposito is a behavioral neurologist, which means that he is expert in diagnosing and understanding how different types of brain damage can affect behavior and cognition. Here, we’re witness to how the melding of this centuries-old tradition with cutting-edge mathematical theory provides insight into why the consequences of a stroke or other insult to the brain can depend more on where the damage is located than on how large an area is affected.

Your Brain on Drugs: Novel Clinical Implications

Get an introduction to the latest scientific findings on addiction's effect on the brain in this incisive talk with UC Berkeley professor Mark. D'Esposito. Understand how certain circuits in the brain that normally guide goal-directed behavior are malfunctioning in the throes of addiction.

Cognitive Neuroscience - Sane Society

Professor Mark D'Esposito of the UC Berkeley Psychology Department discusses the mind, the brain, and his research into the neural bases of high-level cognitive processes, such as working memory and executive control.

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