Jean Augustinack, PhD

Assistant Professor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School
Assistant in Neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital
Department of Radiology, MGH

PhD, Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Iowa

My research focuses on two main concentrations: brain mapping and neuropathological systems in Alzheimer’s disease. We study healthy brains to understand neuroanatomical systems, improve cortical area localization, and examine Alzheimer’s samples to investigate neurofibrillary, neuronal and morphological changes in the medial temporal lobe.
Our laboratory utilizes an ex vivo model to study the relationship between MRI and histological tissue in the human brain. This approach gleans information from histological ground truth and relates it to the MRI. In this model, histological sections validate MRI intensities for more accurate neuroanatomical localization of cortical areas and diagnoses in structural MRI. Because this method is based on architecture – cytoarchitecture and myeloarchitecture – of the tissue at high resolution, this validation adds an extra level of information than methods based solely on topography.
We also study the neuroanatomical and neuroimaging correlates of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease pathology severely affects the cerebral cortex. Neurofibrillary tangles, one of the neuropathological markers in Alzheimer’s disease, manifest first in the medial temporal lobe specifically the perirhinal and entorhinal cortices. In previous work, we have demonstrated cortical architecture in the medial temporal lobe with high field and high resolution MRI. We continue to investigate the early morphological changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease with MRI to understand the effects of aging.