The pearl lab seeks to illuminate the neurological bases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and mood disorders in the brain, and evaluate how their manifestations differ between boys and girls.


  • 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and 75% begin by age 24.

  • Only a small number of these children receive treatment due to a lack of rigorous diagnostic understanding.

  • If untreated, these disorders are exacerbated as the child develops into adolescence and adulthood.

The Project

The PEARL lab seeks to understand the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and mood disorders through childhood, and how this development differs between boys and girls.

Students working on this project will have access to an enormous dataset with over 1000 fMRI scans of young patients.  This project hopes to leverage the size of the dataset by using high-dimensional model selection and pattern recognition methods to gain a data-driven understanding of mood disorders.  Further, students will aid in the development of a pre-processing and analysis pipeline for the dataset, to answer questions about the underlying biological risk factors for anxiety and mood disorders.  

Additionally, the project seeks to understand how sexual dimorphism (XX vs. XY chromosome pairs) differentially affects the development of these disorders.

technical skills

We are looking for students with a background in or a willingness to learn:

  • Signal processing

  • R, Python, or Matlab