MnRI Seminar: Suma Jacob

Using technology to study disorders and shift neurodevelopment

Neurodevelopmental disorders include autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tic disorders, and attention-deficit disorder. Most children have combined features of these disorders because they are related to similar brain pathways and networks as children grow and develop. Biological changes in the brain can contribute to atypical and varying compensatory responses; these in turn contribute to different patterns of developmental trajectories.

With colleagues at UMN, Jacob is using technology and computational approaches to identify symptoms earlier than current clinical methods. This creates opportunities for early intervention and better outcomes. We are also using technology to track eye-movements, body-movements, and how individuals play games in order to identify individual and subgroup differences that may help us optimize and develop new treatments.

In this talk, she will discuss current projects using computer technology for assessment and also share intervention data from computerized cognitive training. The goal is to give an overview of recent advances and consider new ideas to clinical application.

About Suma Jacob

Suma Jacob is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences with a joint appointment in Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She completed her undergraduate, MD, and Ph.D. degree in neurobiology at the University of Chicago.  Dr. Jacob then completed her residency, specialization, and research fellowship training at UCLA, UChicago, and UIC.

Her current research is related to data-driven approaches to study biobehavioral differences in early childhood that predict dimensional and categorical disorder outcomes related to autism. In addition, she studies intervention targets along with biobehavioral biomarkers in order to predict risk and/or treatment responses of neurodevelopmental disorders.  

More details can be found at