Corinna M. Bauer, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School
Instructor in Ophthalmology

Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear
Investigator

Research Summary

Biography

Dr. Bauer focuses her research on understanding how the visual dysfunctions observed in cortical/cerebral visual impairment (CVI) relate to brain structure and function. During her doctoral studies, she utilized multi-modal neuroimaging techniques in the development of potential biomarkers for monitoring the progression of Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment. Currently, she applies advanced multimodal MRI techniques to study how the brain adapts vision loss due to both ocular and cerebral causes. Her recent work concentrates on the relationship between brain structure and function with visual processing abilities in individuals living with visual impairment due to CVI.

Download her CV [PDF] for more information.

Education

M.A., Bioimaging, Boston University School of Medicine (2008)
Ph.D., Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine (2013)

Postgraduate Training

Senior Research Fellow, Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear (2013-2016)

Honors

2017: Best Dry Lab Paper by a Trainee, Schepens Eye Research Institute (Bauer et al., Cortex 2015 Feb;63:104-17)
2017: ARVO Travel Grant, Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation
2015: Educational Stipend, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
2012: Professional Development Award, Boston University Graduate and Medical Sciences Student Organization
2012: Henry I. Russek Student Achievement Award, Boston University School of Medicine

Her Story

With the increasing prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders, it is imperative to better understand the relationship between brain damage and behavioural changes, as well as determine the brain’s ability to compensate for its injuries. This remains a challenge in part because brain injuries can damage multiple tissue types, impacting processing within multiple sensory and cognitive domains. To this end, Dr. Bauer’s research program focuses on using a unique combination of multiple neuroimaging techniques to study the changes in brain structure, function, and connectivity that occur in neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders and determining how these relate to specific changes in sensory, cognitive, and behavioral function.

During her postdoctoral fellowship research, Dr. Bauer worked closely with her mentor, Dr. Lotfi Merabet, and collaborators at Boston University School of Medicine to develop an analysis pipeline of cutting edge MRI techniques (e.g., resting state functional connectivity, high angular resolution diffusion imaging, neural network analysis, cortical morphometry and complexity, etc.). By using this unique combination of methodologies, they were able to probe the neuroplastic changes in cortical morphometry, white matter connectivity, and functional connectivity that occur in individuals with early ocular blindness.

In recent years, neonatal care of infants with neurological damage has improved dramatically, significantly increasing survival rates. As a consequence, cortical/cerebral visual impairment (CVI) is the leading cause of pediatric visual impairment in developed nations. Children with CVI present clinically with a variety of visual dysfunctions, including reduced acuity, visual field loss, and deficits in higher order visual processing such as motion, optic flow, and visual attention. Currently, Dr. Bauer is investigating the neural correlates of vision loss and visual dysfunctions associated with CVI. One of the primary causes of CVI is perinatal hypoxic-ischaemic brain damage in preterm infants (e.g. periventricular leukomalacia or PVL), which can lead to changes in myelination, white matter connectivity, and cortical development within the motor, sensory, and visual cortices. Dr. Bauer is using MRI methods to characterize the long-term neuropathological and developmental consequences of this type of brain injury in adolescents and young adults with PVL.

Dr. Bauer collaborates with a number of investigators at Northeastern University, the Center for Biomedical Imaging at Boston University School of Medicine, and the Perkins School for the Blind.

Projects

Research Interests

  • Neuroplasticity in ocular blindness, cortical/cerebral visual impairment (CVI), and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Functional vision abilities in CVI
  • MRI methodology

Neuroplasticity in Early Ocular Blindness

The goal of this study is to understand the neuroplastic changes in brain morphometry, structural connectivity, and functional connectivity that occur in the context of early-onset ocular blindness.

Visual Attention in Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment

The goal of this study is to characterize the deficits in visual attention that are observed in individuals with CVI. This study also aims to determine the neural correlates of visual attention deficits associated with CVI.

Neuroplastic Changes in Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment

The goal of this study is to determine the neuroplastic changes in brain morphometry, structural connectivity, and functional connectivity that occur in adolescents with CVI and relate these to specific visual deficits.

Long-Term Neurodevelopmental Consequences of Periventricular Leukomalacia

The goal of this study is to elucidate the brain’s long-term ability to compensate for neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury in preterm infants.

Assessing Myelination with Magnetic Resonance Imaging

The goal of this project is to develop a pipeline of MRI techniques to monitor and assess myelination of white matter in typical development, as well as in the context of early developmental brain injury.

Current Research Funding

2017 Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Research Fund O'Brien Award

Publications

H-index

7 (Google Scholar, as of August 2017)

Selected Publications

Dr. Bauer has published more than 16 peer-reviewed articles and 27 abstracts. Below is a list of selected publications. View her publications on PubMed, Google Scholar, or ORCID.

  1. Bauer CM, Zajac LE, Koo BB, Killiany RJ, Merabet LB. Age-related changes in structural connectivity are improved using subject-specific thresholding. J Neurosci Methods. 2017 Aug 15;288:45-56
  2. Bauer CM, Hirsch GV, Zajac L, Koo BB, Collignon O, Merabet LB. Multimodal MR-Imaging reveals large-scale structural and functional connectivity changes in profound early blindness. PLoS One. 2017 Mar 22;12(3):e0173064
  3. Merabet, LB, Devaney KJ, Bauer CM, Panja A, Heidary G, and Somers DC. “Characterizing visual field deficits in cerebral/cortical visual impairment (CVI) using combined diffusion based imaging and functional retinotopic mapping: A case study.” Front. Syst. Neurosci. 2016; 10:13.
  4. Bauer CM*, Yazzolino L*, Hirsch G, Cattaneo Z, Vecchi T, and Merabet LB. “Neural correlates associated with superior tactile symmetry perception in the early blind.” Cortex. 2014; 63:104-117. (* equal contributing authors)
  5. Bauer CM, Heidary G, Koo BB, Killiany RJ, Bex P, and Merabet LB. “Abnormal white matter tractography of visual pathways detected by high-angular-resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) corresponds to visual dysfunction in cortical/cerebral visual impairment.” JAAPOS. 2014; 18:398-401.