Tim Koscik, a Ph.D. student in neuroscience, is working with his advisor, Daniel Tranel, on a large project that examines the gender-related functional asymmetry of the VMPC, amygdala and insula regions of the brain.
This work is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and is premised on the striking similarities between the deficits in social decision-making exhibited by people following damage to the VMPC and the poor decision-making associated with drug and alcohol abuse.
Both of these groups frequently make bad social decisions that are detrimental to their long-term best interests. Preliminary evidence suggests that there is an important gender difference mediating these changes in decision-making following brain injury. The right-hemisphere sectors of the VMPC and amygdala (and possibly insula) may be critical for men, whereas the left-hemisphere sectors may be critical for women.
Koscik’s credits The University of Iowa for providing him with a unique work atmosphere. “The University at large and the University Hospitals in particular are dependent on the generosity of the people of Iowa, particularly the members of the Iowa Patient Registry, who make this line of work possible,” Koscik said.