Congratulations to Apeksha Sridhar, a master student in the SDSU Department of Psychology who was awarded the Becky Award for her thesis entitled: “Reconfiguration of Neural Networks in Adolescents.”

Apeksha Sridhar developed her thesis with shared mentorship by Drs. Annika Linke, R. Joanne Jao Keehn, and Ralph-Axel Mueller. Her work, which investigates how lexical decision-making in autism spectrum disorder is related to neural network connectivity, was prompted by inconsistent results in previous ASD studies that used conventional functional connectivity MRI. Using MRI data from adolescents and young adults with ASD, Apeksha opted for a novel type of functional connectivity analysis called ‘reconfiguration’, which provides a richer picture of atypical brain function by measuring the changes in functional connectivity between rest and task processing. Apeksha’s thesis shows that many individuals with ASD, even those performing equally to neurotypical peers, apply atypical and often idiosyncratic neural processing strategies during lexical semantic decisions. Apeksha aims to complete a doctoral degree and is determined to apply the knowledge and practical experience gained as a graduate student to make a meaningful difference in the lives of atypical populations.

The Bryson-Kissinger family established the Rebecca Bryson-Kissinger Memorial Award in 2000 to honor the memory of their former faculty colleague, who for many years served as the Department’s graduate adviser.  The award, affectionately known as the “Becky,” is given to the master’s student in the Department of Psychology whose thesis has been selected as the best from among those submitted during that academic year.

Thank you to the members of the selection committee Dr. Jeff Conte and Dr. Jennifer Thomas. Congratulations to Apeksha Sridhar, her mentor Dr. Axel Müller, and her co-mentors Annika Linke and Joanne Jao Keehn!