Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology
Office: 397 Psychology Building
Additional Contact Information
Department of Psychology
36 Eagle Row
Atlanta, GA 30322
Dr. Bachevalier received a Doctorate Degree in Psychophysiology from the University of Paris in 1975 and a Ph. D. in Clinical Sciences from the University of Montreal in 1981. She was a Visiting Scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda (MD) until 1991 and then took a position of Professor in Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Texas-Houston. She joined the Emory faculty in Summer, 2004.
- Lab Members:
- Maria Alvarado, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor
- Jessica Raper, Ph.D., Associate Scientist
- Rebecca Richardson, Lead Research Specialist
- Graduate Students:
- Lauren Murphy
- Arick Wang
- Research Program:
Our laboratory investigates the neural substrates underlying the development of learning and memory functions and the regulation of socioemotional behaviors in non-human primates. An important facet of our research program has been to relate basic findings in non-human primates to normal development of cognitive functions in children and to abnormal human behavior, such as autism, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. Our studies use a combination of newly designed behavioral tasks to test episodic-like memory processes, decision-making abilities, and emotional regulation in infant and adult monkeys as well as observations of social skills in semi-naturalistic environment, selective MRI-guided neurotoxic lesions and neurochemical deactivations, neuroimaging techniques (structural MRI, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, and Spectroscopy), and neuroanatomical procedures to assess brain reorganization following neonatal brain lesions.
- Current Studies:
Development of Hippocampal-Prefrontal Interactions in Adolescent Monkeys: In this study we will develop a cutting edge and clinically-relevant non-human primate (NHP) model to trace the development of HIPPO-PFC interactions in monkeys from pre-adolescence to early adulthood, focusing on critical cognitive functions, i.e. relational (episodic) and working memory (WM) mediated by these brain structures in parallel to underlying developmental changes in HIPPO-dlPFC structural and functional connectivity, using noninvasive neuroimaging techniques (structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging and resting state functional MRI) as well as transient pharmacological disconnection of these two structures.
Cycles of Social Contingency: Pivotal Transitions that Shape Brain-Behavior Development in Monkeys: The criticality of non-human primate models for understanding deviations from normative complex human development, and particularly social behavior, has been emphasized repeatedly and recently. In humans, recent discoveries point to the importance of early-emerging and highly-conserved quantitative mediating phenotypes to advance understanding of the brain-behavior pathogenesis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. This project uses eye-tracking technology to assess the development of social engagement in infant monkeys living in semi-naturalistic large social groups and ethological tools to trace the development of early cycles of social contingency, adding a strong focus on mother-infant reciprocal behaviors given the apparent criticality of social contingency in identifying early social predictors of later social competency. Additionally, neuroimaging tools will be used to map the unfolding maturation of neural networks mediating changes in perception and attention to social stimuli, in mother-infant contingency cycles, and in the development of social competency. The study will yield a critically needed non-human primate model of early social development for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that could be used to assess how genetic variations as well as molecular and/or experimental manipulations of social neural networks alter social development, and to validate efficacy of potential therapeutic treatments for attenuating social deficits in ASD.
- Raper J, Wilson M, Sanchez M, Payne C, Bachevalier J (2017). Increased anxiety-like behaviors, but blunted cortisol stress response after neonatal hippocampal lesions in monkeys. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 76:57-66. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.11.018. PMCID: PMC5272817
- Meng Y, Hu X, Bachevalier J, Zhang X. (2016). Decreased functional connectivity in dorsolateral prefrontal cortical networks in adult macaques with neonatal hippocampal lesions: Relations to visual working memory deficits. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. pii: S1074-7427(16)30026-0. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2016.04.003. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27063864
- Weiss AR, Bachevalier J (2016). Object and spatial memory after neonatal perirhinal lesions in monkeys. Behavioral Brain Research, 298(Pt B):210-7. PMID: 26593109 [PubMed - in process] PMCID: PMC4688056 [Available on 2017-02-01]
- Weiss AR, Nadji R, Bachevalier J (2016) Neonatal Perirhinal Lesions in Rhesus Macaques Alter Performance on Working Memory Tasks with High Proactive Interference. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 9:179. DOI: 10.3389/fnsys.2015.00179. PMCID: PMC4700260
- Alvarado MC, Malkova L, Bachevalier J. (2016). Development of relational memory processes in monkeys. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. 22:27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2016.10.007. PMCID: PMC5135601