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Aysenil Belger

Adjunct Assistant Professor in Radiology
Brain Imaging and Analysis Ctr, Box 3918, Durham, NC 27710
40 Duke Medicine Circle, Davison 414, Box 3918, Durham, NC 27710


Dr. Belger’s research focuses on translational and interdisciplinary studies of the cortical circuits underlying attention, executive function and emotion processing in the human brain, as well as their breakdown in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia, mood disorders, and PTSD. Dr. Belger combines functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electrophysiological scalp recording (EEG), functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), experimental psychology and neuropsychological assessment techniques to explore the behavioral and neurophysiological underpinnings of sensory and cognitive impairments across disorders. Her integrative research has most recently examined electrophysiological and functional abnormalities in young autistic children, as well as children, adolescents and adults at clinical and familial risk for psychosis. Dr. Belger is part of a large interdisciplinary team of investigators conducting multi-institutional studies exploring the impact of early childhood abuse and neglect on adult brain function, structure and substance abuse outcomes.

Recent studies from Dr. Belger’s laboratory have demonstrated that parents of children with autism share phenotypic and neurobiological markers associated with aberrant social information processing. Additionally, her lab has demonstrated that abnormal neural oscillatory activity in multiple frequency bandwidths are associated with specific higher order cognitive and affective processing impairments in patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected first-degree relatives. She currently examines stress regulation and brain function in adolescence, and risk for psychosis. She eagerly mentors multiple undergraduate, graduate and medical students, postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty, and teaches Cognitive Clinical Neuroscience at UNC.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Adjunct Assistant Professor in Radiology · 2001 - Present Radiology, Clinical Science Departments
Member of the Center for Brain Imaging and Analysis · 2001 - Present Duke-UNC Center for Brain Imaging and Analysis, Institutes and Centers
Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences · 2011 - Present Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, University Institutes and Centers

Education, Training & Certifications

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign · 1993 Ph.D.