Keck School Faculty

Megan M. Herting
Megan M. Herting
Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine
Preventive Medicine
2001 N Soto Off Campus Los Angeles
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and the Director of the Herting NeuroImaging Laboratory at the University of Southern California. Broadly, my research has focused on brain and cognitive development in healthy and at-risk populations including several ongoing NIH funded studies in children, adolescents, and young adults. Using cognitive-behavioral assessments, neuropsychological testing, semi-structured mental health interviews, and a multi-modal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) approach, I aim to determine which lifestyle and environmental factors, including exposure to air pollutants, influence neurodevelopment, cognition, and mental health outcomes in children and adolescents. I am currently the PI on a K01 grant from the NIMH (K01 MH108761) and an R03 grant from NICHD (R03HD090308) that aims to understand the role of endocrine function and hormones on amygdala development and subsequent emotional behavior and risk for psychopathology. Beyond my research in emotional development and mental health, I am also the PI and team leader of a number of multi-disciplinary grants that examine the role of environmental risk factors on brain structure and functional outcomes in developing children and young adults (SC-CTSI Pilot; USC DORI Team Grant; Rose Hill Foundation). I have recently been awarded the Rosenblith Award from the Health Effect Institute to examine how air pollution may impact emotional development and white matter maturation as children transition to adolescence.

At a national level, I am part of multiple NIH consortium projects that aim to further assess how hormones and the environment may affect brain maturation, cognition, and mental health, including the Mobile Technologies, Passive Data Collection, and Physical Health Working Groups for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study (U01DA041048, 2P30ES007048-23S1) and Neurodevelopment Working Group for the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program (4UH3OD023287).

Brain Differences in the Prefrontal Cortex, Amygdala, and Hippocampus in Youth with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Jan 17. . View in PubMed

Sex differences in the association between prenatal exposure to maternal obesity and hippocampal volume in children Brain Behav. 2020 Jan 05; e01522. . View in PubMed

Imputation Strategy for Reliable Regional MRI Morphological Measurements Neuroinformatics. 2020 Jan; 18(1):59-70. . View in PubMed

Image processing and analysis methods for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study Neuroimage. 2019 Nov 15; 202:116091. . View in PubMed

Regional and traffic-related air pollutants are associated with higher consumption of fast food and trans fat among adolescents Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 01 01; 109(1):99-108. . View in PubMed

Outdoor Air Pollution and Brain Structure and Function From Across Childhood to Young Adulthood: A Methodological Review of Brain MRI Studies Front Public Health. 2019; 7:332. . View in PubMed

Test-retest reliability of longitudinal task-based fMRI: Implications for developmental studies Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2018 10; 33:17-26. . View in PubMed

Current, future and potential use of mobile and wearable technologies and social media data in the ABCD study to increase understanding of contributors to child health Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2018 08; 32:121-129. . View in PubMed

Neuroanatomical morphometric characterization of sex differences in youth using statistical learning Neuroimage. 2018 05 15; 172:217-227. . View in PubMed

Development of subcortical volumes across adolescence in males and females: A multisample study of longitudinal changes Neuroimage. 2018 05 15; 172:194-205. . View in PubMed

Exercise, cognition, and the adolescent brain Birth Defects Res. 2017 Dec 01; 109(20):1672-1679. . View in PubMed

Low-Cost Air Quality Monitoring Tools: From Research to Practice (A Workshop Summary) Sensors (Basel). 2017 Oct 28; 17(11). . View in PubMed

Sex differences in associations between white matter microstructure and gonadal hormones in children and adolescents with prenatal alcohol exposure Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017 Sep; 83:111-121. . View in PubMed

Longitudinal changes in pubertal maturation and white matter microstructure Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017 Jul; 81:70-79. . View in PubMed

Lower total and regional grey matter brain volumes in youth with perinatally-acquired HIV infection: Associations with HIV disease severity, substance use, and cognition Brain Behav Immun. 2017 May; 62:100-109. . View in PubMed

Puberty and structural brain development in humans Front Neuroendocrinol. 2017 01; 44:122-137. . View in PubMed

Development of the Cerebral Cortex across Adolescence: A Multisample Study of Inter-Related Longitudinal Changes in Cortical Volume, Surface Area, and Thickness J Neurosci. 2017 03 22; 37(12):3402-3412. . View in PubMed

Structural brain development between childhood and adulthood: Convergence across four longitudinal samples Neuroimage. 2016 Nov 01; 141:273-281. . View in PubMed

Aerobic Fitness Linked to Cortical Brain Development in Adolescent Males: Preliminary Findings Suggest a Possible Role of BDNF Genotype Front Hum Neurosci. 2016; 10:327. . View in PubMed

Quality Control of Structural MRI Images Applied Using FreeSurfer-A Hands-On Workflow to Rate Motion Artifacts Front Neurosci. 2016; 10:558. . View in PubMed

Default Mode Connectivity in Youth With Perinatally Acquired HIV Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Sep; 94(37):e1417. . View in PubMed

White matter microstructure among youth with perinatally acquired HIV is associated with disease severity AIDS. 2015 Jun 01; 29(9):1035-44. . View in PubMed

Atypical parietal lobe activity to subliminal faces in youth with a family history of alcoholism Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2015 Mar; 41(2):139-45. . View in PubMed

A longitudinal study: changes in cortical thickness and surface area during pubertal maturation PLoS One. 2015; 10(3):e0119774. . View in PubMed

The role of testosterone and estradiol in brain volume changes across adolescence: a longitudinal structural MRI study Hum Brain Mapp. 2014 Nov; 35(11):5633-45. . View in PubMed

White matter connectivity and aerobic fitness in male adolescents Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2014 Jan; 7:65-75. . View in PubMed

The neurobiology of childhood structural brain development: conception through adulthood Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2014; 16:3-17. . View in PubMed

White matter microstructure correlates of inhibition and task-switching in adolescents Brain Res. 2013 Aug 21; 1527:15-28. . View in PubMed

Hemispheric lateralization of verbal and spatial working memory during adolescence Brain Cogn. 2013 Jun; 82(1):58-68. . View in PubMed

Differences in brain activity during a verbal associative memory encoding task in high- and low-fit adolescents J Cogn Neurosci. 2013 Apr; 25(4):595-612. . View in PubMed

Atypical spatial working memory and task-general brain activity in adolescents with a family history of alcoholism Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2013 Mar; 37(3):390-8. . View in PubMed

High and low sensation seeking adolescents show distinct patterns of brain activity during reward processing Neuroimage. 2013 Feb 01; 66:184-93. . View in PubMed

The impact of sex, puberty, and hormones on white matter microstructure in adolescents Cereb Cortex. 2012 Sep; 22(9):1979-92. . View in PubMed

Aerobic fitness relates to learning on a virtual Morris Water Task and hippocampal volume in adolescents Behav Brain Res. 2012 Aug 01; 233(2):517-25. . View in PubMed

Atypical frontal lobe activity during verbal working memory in youth with a family history of alcoholism Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Jun 01; 123(1-3):98-104. . View in PubMed

Altered white matter microstructure in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2011 Mar; 50(3):283-92. . View in PubMed

Altered fronto-cerebellar connectivity in alcohol-naïve youth with a family history of alcoholism Neuroimage. 2011 Feb 14; 54(4):2582-9. . View in PubMed

Delay discounting behavior and white matter microstructure abnormalities in youth with a family history of alcoholism Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2010 Sep 01; 34(9):1590-602. . View in PubMed

Myelination of the corpus callosum in male and female rats following complex environment housing during adulthood Brain Res. 2009 Sep 08; 1288:9-17. . View in PubMed

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