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Advances in Health and Medicine

The Perfect Storm of Teens' Minds


Adolescents seek thrills and experience emotions with an intensity adults often find hard to fathom. Pitt researchers in the emerging field of developmental neuroscience aim to try.

Professor Beatriz Luna, director of Pitt’s Laboratory of Neurocognitive Development, delineates brain circuitry to determine which neurons perform which functions. This knowledge could help scientists understand how higher-order cognition develops as well as neuropsychiatric disturbances like autism.

Greg Siegle directs the Program in Cognitive Affective Neuroscience at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC. He and professor Jennifer Silk discovered differences in the ways adolescents’ pupils dilate in response to light and depression. This could affect both sleep and mood disorders and be related to puberty.

Faculty at Pitt’s Parents and Children Laboratory (PPCL) put research into practice, collaborating to advance understanding of vulnerability and resilience among at-risk children.