Dale Zhou

I'm a neuroscience PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, advised by Professor Danielle Bassett in the Complex Systems Lab and co-advised by Professor Theodore Satterthwaite in the Psychiatric and Developmental Imaging Laboratory. My research focuses on (1) computational models of how humans seek, process, and learn information, (2) evolutionary trade-offs in brain networks, and (3) how cognitive functions and evolutionary adaptations can go awry in psychiatric disorders.

I graduated with a B.A (honors) in philosophy and B.Sc (honors) in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, where I was advised in philosophy by Professor Peter Carruthers, and co-advised in psychology by Professors Michael Dougherty and Donald Bolger. I've also worked at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) through the Intramural Research Training Award, where I was supervised by Dr. Judith Rapoport in the Child Psychiatry Branch.

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My research addresses questions like: What do evolutionary trade-offs in brain metabolism and network architecture tell us about information processing? Do humans practice curiosity for information by co-opting evolutionarily conserved strategies of efficient search and foraging while regulating uncertainty? Do differences among humans in information seeking propensities and information processing ability contribute to differences in mood, cognitive efficiency, and neuropsychiatric symptoms?

Broadly, I'm interested in problems intersecting cognitive computational neuroscience, network neuroscience, computational psychiatry, developmental neuroscience, neuroimaging, imaging genetics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science.

7 T MRI reveals hippocampal structural abnormalities associated with memory intrusions in childhood-onset schizophrenia
Dale Zhou, Siyuan Liu, Xueping Zhou, Rebecca Berman, Diane Broadnax, Peter Gochman, Judith Rapoport, Adam Thomas
Published in Schizophrenia Research, 2018
Presented at Julius Axelrod Symposium 2017
Conference Abstracts at Society for Neuroscience 2016, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2016, Society for Biological Psychiatry 2017

The hippocampus and its small subregions are areas of the brain that play an integral role in memory. Our study leveraged new, powerful brain imaging methods to study these small subregions and their relation to memory impairment in childhood-onset schizophrenia patients. We found evidence of disrupted morphometric structure (i.e. tissue contraction) associated with impaired memory. If further research corroborates these findings, the specific structural links to memory impairment could inform targeted clinical interventions.

15q13.3 duplication in two patients with childhood-onset schizophrenia
Dale Zhou, Peter Gochman, Diane Broadnax, Judith Rapoport, Kwangmi Ahn
Published in American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 2016
Conference Abstract at Society for Biological Psychiatry 2016

We provided evidence of a new genetic mutation associated with childhood-onset schizophrenia; specifically, the duplication of the 15q13.3 chromosomal region. Our findings hold import to affected families and their genetic counselors, for whom incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity of these mutations offer substantial challenges. In previous research, the affected genes normally encode neuronal channel receptor proteins which were related to schizophrenia symptoms when mutated. Further research on gene dosage and downstream effects of this mutation may enhance understanding of contributing factors to schizophrenia and improve assessments of genetic risk.

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