Courtney Gallen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professional Researcher - Neuroscape
UCSF – Mission BaySandler Neuroscience CenterMC 0444, 675 Nelson Rising LaneSan Francisco, CA 94158
Courtney graduated in 2009 from Penn State with a B.S. in biology, concentrating in neuroscience. As an undergraduate, Courtney worked with Sheri Berenbaum, examining the effects of prenatal testosterone exposure on gender-typed behavior. From 2009 to 2011, Courtney worked in Elliot Stein’s lab at the National Institute on Drug Abuse through the NIH Post-Baccalaureate IRTA program. There, she studied the effects of genetic polymorphisms on reward processing using fMRI.
In Courtney’s graduate work with Mark D’Esposito at UC Berkeley, she used fMRI and graph theory to examine properties of large-scale functional brain networks that support cognitive control processes, such as working memory. One arm of her dissertation research focused on examining modular network reconfiguration due to cognitive control demands. This work showed that the pattern of demand-related reconfiguration is altered by selective attention and normal aging. A second arm of her dissertation work focused on examining the role of baseline brain network properties in predicting training-related cognitive control gains. This work showed that brain network modularity is predictive of training gains in both young and older adults, suggesting that network properties may be a unifying predictor of cognitive training success across populations and interventions.
At Neuroscape, Courtney is using her previous research to develop personalized approaches to cognitive interventions. Further, Courtney has several lines of work at Neuroscape dedicated to understanding attention abilities that develop over childhood and adolescence, including how they are related to real-world behaviors (e.g., academic performance, risk-tasking, physical and mental health) and how we can improve these abilities with targeted training programs. Finally, Courtney is also broadly interested in how brain network properties support aspects of cognitive control, namely attention, and how such properties are related to cognitive and neural plasticity.
- Anguera, J.A., Schachtner, J.N., Simon, A.J., Volponi, J, Javed, S., Gallen, C.L., Gazzaley, A. Long-term maintenance of multitasking abilities following video game training in older adults Neurobiology of Aging (2021)
- Ziegler, D.A, Simon, A.J., Gallen, C.L., Skinner, S., Janowich, J.R., Volponi, J.J, Rolle, C.E., Mishra, J., Kornfield, J., Anguera, J.A., Gazzaley, A. Closed-loop digital meditation improves sustained attention in young adults Nature Human Behaviour (2019)
- Simon, A.J., Schachtner,J.N., Gallen, C.L. Disentangling expectation from selective attention during perceptual decision making Journal of Neurophysiology (2019)