S Davis Headshot
Primary Investigator
Assistant Professor in Neurology
Assistant Professor in Pathology
Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Contact Information

Campus mail: B243q LSRC, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 668-2299

Email: simon.davis@duke.edu

Location
227E Bryan Research Building, 311 Research Dr

About us

Our lab focuses on three kinds of research: memory studies, white matter in the brain, and brain stimulation.

Our first research focus examines our ability to form abstract representations of objects in semantic memory is crucial to language and thought. However, it's unclear how semantic memory influences and is influenced by the organization of complex representational structures. We have shown how feature similarity across a wide set of items predicts distinct forms of episodic memory performance. 

Second, the integrity of cerebral white matter is critical for efficient cognitive functioning. Our lab finds interesting ways to use diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) to ask novel questions about how white matter supports healthy cognitive function. DWI measures the directional displacement of molecular water, and as a result can characterize the properties of white matter that combine to restrict diffusivity in a spatially coherent manner.

Thirdly, over the past few decades, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has developed into a powerful tool to causally establish brain-behavior relationships. The goal of our work here is to understand how differences in stimulation parameters map onto these global network dynamics, or how cognitive states can be selectively targeted using dynamic spatiotemporal signals distributed over large-scale networks of the brain.

We are located in Durham, North Carolina and are a part of both the Duke Neurology Department and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. 

Our Research

White matter changes in Normal Aging and ADBlue Painted Brain

The integrity of cerebral white matter is critical for efficient cognitive functioning. Our lab finds interesting ways to use diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) to ask novel questions about how white matter supports healthy cognitive function. DWI measures the directional displacement of molecular water and as a result can characterize the properties of white matter that combine to restrict diffusivity in a spatially coherent manner.

Semantic Memory Networks

Our ability to form abstract representations of objects in semantic memory is crucial to language and thought. The utility of this information relies both on the representations of sensory-motor feature knowledge stored in long-term memory and the executive processes required to retrieve, manipulate, and evaluate this semantic knowledge in a task-relevant manner.Semantic connections illustration

The explosion of fMRI-based representational similarity analyses (RSA) have helped to elucidate the functional correlates of object representation. What is less clear is how memory influences and is influenced by the organization of complex representational structures. We have shown how feature similarity across a wide set of items predicts distinct forms of episodic memory performance. Subjects named everyday objects during fMRI and returned a day later to make old/new judgments on either conceptual (old/new words) or perceptual information (same/exemplar images).

Brain Stimulation Effects on Networks in AgingBrain with connections within

As populations experience a rapid growth of its older segments, a major neuroscientific research goal is to increase our knowledge about mechanisms that sustain healthy brain aging, as well as to promote projects that may help to prevent neuropsychiatric age-associated disorders. Over the past few decades, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has developed into a powerful tool to causally establish brain-behavior relationships. The goal of our work here is to understand how differences in stimulation parameters map onto these global network dynamics, or how cognitive states can be selectively targeted using dynamic spatiotemporal signals distributed over large-scale networks of the brain.

Collaborators

Cabeza Lab (Duke University)

Opti Lab (Duke University School of Medicine)

Cam-CAN (Cambridge University)

Rogier Kievit  (Cambridge University)

Karen Campbell  (Cambridge University)

Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (Duke’s umbrella organization for neuroscience-related research)

Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (Bryan ADRC)

Publications

  • Davis SW, Luber B, Murphy DLK, Lisanby SH, Cabeza R. Frequency-specific neuromodulation of local and distant connectivity in aging and episodic memory function. Human Brain Mapping. 2017 Sep 8.
  • Multiple determinants of lifespan memory differences. Henson RN, Campbell KL, Davis SW, Taylor JR, Emery T, Erzinclioglu S; Cam-CAN, Kievit RA. Scientific Reports. 2016 Sep 7;6:32527.
  • Davis SW, Stanley ML, Moscovitch M, Cabeza R. Resting-state networks do not determine cognitive function networks. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience. 32, 6: 669-673.
  • Davis SW & Cabeza R. Cross-Hemispheric Collaboration and Segregation Associated with Task Difficulty as Revealed by Structural and Functional Connectivity. Journal of Neuroscience. 35: 8191-8200.  
  • Kievet RA, Davis SW, Mitchell DJ, Taylor JR, Duncan J, Henson RNA. Distinct aspects of frontal lobe structure mediate age-related differences in fluid intelligence and multitasking. in press. Nature Communications.
  • Madden DJ, Parks EL, Davis SW, Diaz MT, Potter GG, Chou YH, Chen NK, Cabeza R. 2014. Age mediation of frontoparietal activation during visual feature search. NeuroImage, doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.07.053.
  • Davis SW, Zhuang J, Wright P, Tyler LK. Task-related modulation of neurocognitive networks in aging. 2014. Neuropsychologia. 63:107-15.
  • Hall SA, Rubin DC, Miles A, Davis SW, Wing EA, Cabeza R, Berntsen D. 2014. The Neural Basis of Involuntary Episodic Memories. J Cogn Neurosci.
  • Daselaar SM, Davis SW, Iyengar V, Eklund K, Hayes SM, Cabeza R. 2013. Less Wiring, More Firing: Low-Performing Older Adults Compensate for Impaired White Matter with Greater Neural Activity. Cerebral Cortex.
  • Whalley MG, Kroes MC, Huntley Z, Rugg MD, Davis SW, Brewin CR. 2013. An fMRI investigation of posttraumatic flashbacks. Brain Cogn. 81:151-9.
  • Cantlon JF, Davis SW, Libertus M, Brannon E.M, and Pelphrey KA.  2012. Inter-parietal white matter development predicts numerical performance in young children. Learning and Individual Differences. 21, 672-680.
  • Davis SW, Kragel JE, Madden DJ, Cabeza R.  2011. The architecture of cross-hemispheric communication in aging: Linking behavior to structural and functional connectivity. Cerebral Cortex, 21(4), 231-42.
  • Madden DJ, Costello MC, Dennis NA, Davis SW, Shepler AM, Spaniol J, Bucur B, Cabeza R. 2010. Adult age differences in functional connectivity during executive control. Neuroimage, 15, 643-657.
  • Davis SW, Dennis, NA, Buchler, NEG, Madden DJ, White LE, Cabeza R.  2009. Assessing the effects of age on long association fibers using DTI tractography.  NeuroImage. 46, 530-541.
  • Madden, D.J, Spaniol, J, Costello, M, Bucur, B, White LE, Cabeza, R, Davis, S.W, Dennis, N.A, Provenzale, J.M, Huettel, S.A.  2009.  Cerebral white matter integrity mediates adult age differences in cognitive performance. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 21, 289-302.
  • Davis SW, Dennis NA, Daselaar, SM, Fleck, ME, Cabeza, R. 2008. Que PASA? The posterior-anterior shift in aging.  Cerebral Cortex. 18(5), 1201-1209. *Reviewed by Faculty of 1000, Medicine: Must Read
  • Leow AD, Yanovsky I, Chiang MC, Lee AD, Klunder AD, Lu A, Becker JT, Davis SW, Toga AW, Thompson PM. 2007. Statistical properties of Jacobian maps and the realization of unbiased large-deformation nonlinear image registration. IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 26(6), 822-832.
  • Simons JS, Davis SW, Gilbert SJ, Frith CD, Burgess PW. 2006. Discriminating imagined from perceived information engages brain areas implicated in schizophrenia. NeuroImage. 32, 696-703.
  • Becker JT, Davis SW, Hiyashi KM, Meltzer CC, Toga AW, Lopez OL, Thompson PM. 2006. Three-dimensional patterns of hippocampal atrophy in mild cognitive impairment. Archives of Neurology. 63, 90-101.
  • Carmichael OT, Aizenstein HA, Davis SW, Becker JT, Thompson PM, Meltzer CC, Liu Y. 2005. Atlas-based hippocampus segmentation in Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment. NeuroImage. 27, 979-990.

Our Team