Dr. Ofen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and a faculty member in the Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute. She also serves as a faculty member at the Translational Neuroscience Program at the School of Medicine.
Dr. Ofen investigates structural and functional brain development across a wide age range of typically developing children and adults. Using tests of cognitive abilities combined with neuroimaging techniques, Dr. Ofen probes how brain structure and function shape human cognitive functioning across development. She focuses on individual differences as expressed through behavior and biological measures (e.g., brain measures, genetic polymorphism). She has worked to explore the structure and function of the hippocampus, a crucial brain structure for learning and memory that is altered in several psychiatric disorders with a neurodevelopmental basis. She is also using cutting edge methodology to investigate the neuronal activity that supports memory in pediatric epilepsy patients, and extending her research of typical developing children to study atypical populations (such as individuals prematurely born). Dr. Ofen is also interested in exploring how new insights gained from developmental cognitive neuroscience can result in practical implication in education.
Other projects that Dr. Ofen conducted in the past focused on brain mechanism for cognitive control (such as those involved in deception) and the integration of cognitive control and memory. Dr. Ofen worked with the world's top researches in the fields of cognitive neuroscience and memory, at MIT, Stanford University, Harvard University, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Haifa University. In her PhD work, thesis titled: "Cognitive Skill Learning: How Repetition Determines Acquisition" (with Yadin Dudai, and Avi Karni) she studied ways to enhance learning by addressing key elements of the practice experience. For example, she found that spacing the same amount of practice over a few days results not only in better learning of the specific task but also in improvements of related aspects that were not part of the training.
Dr. Ofen serves as panelist for the National Science Foundation grant review. In 2014, she has been selected as a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Science. In 2017, she has been selected to the Memory Disorders Research Society.
Education – Degrees, Licenses, Certifications
- Ph.D., Cognitive Neuroscience, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2004
- M.Sc., Neuroscience, Weizmann Institute of Science, 1998
- B.A., Psycholog, Honors, Haifa University, 1996
Awards and Grants
NIH/NIMH R01 (MH-107512-01)
Title: ‘Development of memory networks in children’
Role: Principle Investigator; Funding term: 06/20/16–03/31/21; Amount: $1,938,565
Johnson, E.L., Tang, L., Qin Yin, Q., Asano, E., Ofen, N. (2018). Direct brain recordings reveal prefrontal cortex dynamics of memory development. Science Advances
Progovac, L., Rakhlin, N., Angell, W., Liddane, R., Tang, L., Ofen, N. (2018). Neural correlates of syntax and proto-syntax: evolutionary dimension. Frontiers in Psychology 9, 2415.
Yu, Q., McCall, D.M., Homayouni, R., Tang, L., Chen, Z., Schoof, D., Nishimura, M., Raz, S., Ofen, N. (2018). Age-associated increase in mnemonic strategy use is linked to prefrontal cortex development. NeuroImage 181, 162-169.
Tang, L., Shafer, A.T., Ofen, N. (2018). Prefrontal cortex contributions to episodic memory development. Cerebral Cortex 28(9), 3295-3308.
Yu Q., Daugherty, A.M., Anderson, D.M., Brush, D., Hardwick, A., Lacey, W., Nishimura, M., Raz, S., Ofen N. (2018). Socioeconomic status linked to differences in hippocampal volume in childhood. Developmental Science 21(3), e12561.
Hayes, J.M., Tang, L., Ofen, N., Damoiseaux, J.S. (2017). Subjective memory complains are associated with brain activation supporting successful memory encoding. Neurobiology of Aging 60, 71-80.
Daugherty, A.M., Flinn, R., Ofen, N. (2017). Hippocampal CA3-dentate gyrus volume uniquely linked to improvement in associative memory from childhood to adulthood. NeuroImage 153, 75-85.
Wisse, L., Daugherty, A.M., … Ofen, N., …, la Joie, R. for the Hippocampal Subfields Group (2017). A harmonized segmentation protocol for hippocampal and parahippocampal subregions: why do we need one and what are the key goals? Hippocampus 27, 3-11.
Ofen, N., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Chai, X.J, Schwarzlose, R.F., Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2017). Neural correlates of deception: lying about past events and personal beliefs. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 12, 116-127.
Ofen, N., Yu Q.J., Chen D. (2016). Memory and the Developing Brain: Are insights from cognitive neuroscience applicable to education? Current Opinions in Behavioral Sciences 10, 81-88.
Daugherty, A.M., Bender, A.R., Raz, N., Ofen, N. (2016). Age differences in hippocampal subfield volumes from childhood to late adulthood. Hippocampus 26, 220-228.
Daugherty, A.M., Ofen, N. (2015). That's a good one! Belief in the efficacy of mnemonic strategies contributes to age-related increase in associative memory. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 136, 17-29.
Daugherty, A.M., Yu, Q.J., Flinn, R., Ofen, N. (2015). A Reliable and valid method for manual demarcation of hippocampal head, body and tail. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 41, 115-122.
Matsuzaki, N., Schwarzlose, R., Nishida, M., Ofen, N., Asano, E. (2015). Upright face-preferential high-gamma responses in lower-order visual areas: evidence from intracranial recordings in children. Neuroimage 109, 249-259.
Chai, X.J., Ofen, N., Gabrieli, J.D.E., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S. (2014). Selective development of anticorrelated networks in the intrinsic functional organization of the human brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 26, 501-513.
Chai, X.J., Ofen, N. (CXJ NO equal contribution), Gabrieli, J.D.E., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S. (2014). Development of deactivation of the default-mode network during episodic memory formation. Neuroimage 84, 932-938.
Ofen, N., Shing, Y.L. (2013). From perception to memory: Changes in memory systems across the lifespan. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 37, 2258-2267.
Ofen, N., Chai, X.J., Schuil, K.D.I., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S. Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2012). The development of brain systems for successful memory retrieval of scenes. Journal of Neuroscience 32, 10012-10020.
Ofen, N. (2012). The development of neural correlates for memory formation. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 36, 1708-1717.
Dr. Ofen is on Sabbatical AY 2018-2019
PSY 1010 Introduction to Psychology, 4 credits, Winter 2016, Winter 2018
PSY 8050 Cognitive Neuroscience, 3 credits, Fall 2016
PYC 7140 Fundamentals of Neuroinaging, 3 credits, Winter 2016; Winter 2017, Winter 2018
PSY 7991 Current Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience, 1 credit, Winter 2017, Winter 2018