Dr. Larson-Prior is a neuroimaging and systems neuroscientist interested in understanding the dynamic neural network re-configurations that occur as the brain changes its state under normal conditions such as sleep and in abnormal conditions such as pathological shifts in cognitive awareness (for example, sleep dysregulation, neurodegenerative disease) or changes in the response to environmental factors (for example, depression, gut dysbiosis, addiction).
Her laboratory uses multimodal imaging methods, including electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to better understand these changes in network connectivity and function as the brain shifts state over the course of 24 hours.
One major thrust of Dr. Larson-Prior’s research is on brain changes associated with the development of overweight/obesity in childhood, where the interaction of environmental, dietary, and developmental processes impact cognitive development and academic achievement.
A second major research thrust of her laboratory lies in the Parkinson’s disease population, in whom the severity of cognitive dysfunction has been shown to be linked to motor deficits. To fully take advantage of the large datasets necessary to store, process, and analyze the big data represented by her approach, Dr. Larson-Prior and her team work closely with Dr. Fred Prior and his team in the UAMS Department of Biomedical Informatics on approaches for knowledge discovery.
In addition at ACRI, Dr. Larson-Prior is the Associate Center Director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention Phase 2 COBRE and a Project Principal Investigator at the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center.