A Data-Driven Ontology of Brain Function

For over 50 years, psychiatry research was premised in expert-determined symptom criteria – not biological understanding. The goal of my PhD thesis is to validate existing knowledge frameworks in neuroscience and generate a data-driven ontology of human brain function. The long-term goal is to redefine mental illness by variation in normal brain circuitry, laying a new foundation for targeting neuromodulatory interventions. This is possible through computational neuroimaging meta-analysis, which synthesizes texts and data from tens of thousands of published articles. 

Brain Network Disruption in Mental Illness

Mood disorders affect not only the way people feel, but also the way they plan and process information. The frontoparietal control network is believed to play a crucial role in support of goal-directed planning and adaptive behavioral adjustments. As part of my post-undergraduate work, I examined the integrity of the frontoparietal circuitry in young adults showing signs of depressive illness onset. Deficits in executive functioning were found to predict a decline in frontoparietal network integrity.

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The Semantic Structure of Neuroscience

Human neuroscience is a linking discipline that seeks to understand relationships between the systems of the brain and the processes of the mind. As an undergraduate, I visualized the semantic structure of human neuroscience by mapping co-occurrences of anatomical and psychological terms in fMRI article abstracts. Graph theoretical analyses identified topics that were likely to advance the integrative goal of the field.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Pre-Print Article

Peer-Reviewed Article

University Articles

 

Book Chapter

Invited Talks

  • Platt, M., Jenson, D., Harris, L., Beam, E.H., & Mooney, R. (2013, April). Brain science and our creative culture. Duke Forward. New York, NY.

  • Appelbaum, L.G. & Beam, E.H. (2012, November). Mapping disciplinary structures using network and semantic analysis. Text>Data Digital Scholarship Series. Durham, NC.

Posters

  • Beam, E.H. & Etkin, A. (2018, May). Toward a data-driven ontology of human brain function. Stanford MSTP Retreat, Santa Cruz, CA.

  • Beam, E.H., Maron-Katz, A., & Etkin, A. (2017, May). Discovery of post-traumatic stress disorder biotypes by clustering subcortical volumetrics. 34th Annual Stanford Medical Student Research Symposium.

  • Beam, E.H., Preston, S., & Jain, S. (2017, May). Preliminary outcomes of a novel protocol for phone-based management of antidepressant therapy initiated in primary care. 50th Annual Conference of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

  • Barbour, T., DeCross, S.N., Holmes, A.J., Boeke, E.A., Beam, E.H., Wolthusen, R.P.F., Crowell, S., Coombs, G., Nyer, M., Buckner, R.L., Fava, M., Farabaugh, A.H., Holt, D.J. (2014, December). Insecure attachment in at-risk youth is associated with hyper-responsivity of a parietofrontal cortical network involved in social behavior. American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting.

  • Holt, D.J., DeCross, S.N., Holmes, A.J., Boeke, E.A., Beam, E.H., Wolthusen, R.P.F., Crowell, S., Coombs, G., Nyer, M., Buckner, R.L., Fava, M., Farabaugh, A.H. (2014, December). Abnormal amygdala functional connectivity in youth with subclinical delusions. American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting.

  • Beam, E.H., Coombs, G., Boeke, E., Crowell, S., Fava, M., Farabaugh, A., Holt, D.J., Buckner, R.L., & Holmes, A.J. (2014, September). Frontoparietal network connectivity associates with executive functioning deficits in young adults at risk for depression. Resting State and Brain Connectivity Conference.

  • Beam, E.H. & Huettel, S.A. (2013, April). Mapping the semantic structure of cognitive neuroscience. Atlantic Coast Conference Meeting of the Minds.

  • Beam, E.H., Appelbaum, L.G., Moody, J., & Huettel, S.A. (2011, November). Mapping the intrinsic structure of cognitive neuroscience. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting.​

© 2019 by Elizabeth H. Beam