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EH MATTERS Faculty: Megan Herting

Megan Herting, PhD
Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine

Websites: Herting Lab, Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, Faculty Profile, Google Scholar

Areas of research:

• Influence of air pollutant exposure during childhood and adolescence on neurodevelopment

• Role of biological (e.g. sex and hormones) and environmental (e.g. physical activity and neurotoxins) in risk for emotional and cognitive neurodevelopment disorders

• Multi-model neuroimaging techniques: structural MRI, functional MRI (fMRI), resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)

EH MATTERS Internship description:

The Herting Laboratory focuses on understanding how endogenous and exogenous factors may influence neural and cognitive development across childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Endogenous factors include hormones, genetics, and biological sex. Exogenous factors include environmental toxins, including air pollution. Interns receive hands-on experience with important facets of conducting human research to assess brain and behavior development in children and adolescents. Topics include IRB human subjects training, discussions regarding ethics in conducting research with children and incidental MRI findings, learning about the collection and processing of neuroimaging data, and an expanded knowledge in environmental neuroscience, including how air pollution impacts the developing brain during childhood and adolescence. Interns will also have the opportunity to develop infographics about the impacts of air pollution and other environmental factors on the developing brain.

Key publications

  1. Effects of ambient fine particulates, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone on maturation of functional brain networks across early adolescence. Cotter DL, Campbell CE, Sukumaran K, McConnell R, Berhane K, Schwartz J, Hackman DA, Ahmadi H, Chen JC, Herting MM. Environ Int. 2023 Jul;177:108001. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2023.108001. Epub 2023 Jun 1. PMID: 37307604 Free PMC article
  2. Ambient fine particulate exposure and subcortical gray matter microarchitecture in 9- and 10-year-old children across the United States. Sukumaran K, Cardenas-Iniguez C, Burnor E, Bottenhorn KL, Hackman DA, McConnell R, Berhane K, Schwartz J, Chen JC, Herting MM. iScience. 2023 Jan 31;26(3):106087. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.106087. eCollection 2023 Mar 17. PMID: 36915692 Free PMC article
  3. Neurotoxicants, the Developing Brain, and Mental Health. Cardenas-Iniguez C, Burnor E, Herting MM. Biol Psychiatry Glob Open Sci. 2022 Jul;2(3):223-232. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsgos.2022.05.002. Epub 2022 May 23. PMID: 35911498 Free PMC article
  4. Association of Outdoor Ambient Fine Particulate Matter With Intracellular White Matter Microstructural Properties Among Children. Burnor E, Cserbik D, Cotter DL, Palmer CE, Ahmadi H, Eckel SP, Berhane K, McConnell R, Chen JC, Schwartz J, Jackson R, Herting MM. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Dec 1;4(12):e2138300. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.38300. PMID: 34882178 Free PMC article
  5. Fine particulate matter exposure during childhood relates to hemispheric-specific differences in brain structure. Cserbik D, Chen JC, McConnell R, Berhane K, Sowell ER, Schwartz J, Hackman DA, Kan E, Fan CC, Herting MM. Environ Int. 2020 Oct;143:105933. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105933. Epub 2020 Jul 10. PMID: 32659528 Free PMC article

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