Karin Schon, PhD

Assistant Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology

Karin Schon
617.358.2118
72 E. Concord St Housman (R)

Biography

Karin Schon, Ph.D., received a joint B.A./M.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Hamburg in Germany in 1998, and her Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology at Boston University in 2005. Her dissertation focused on functional neuroimaging studies of working memory and long-term (episodic) memory formation under the mentorship of Prof. Chantal Stern. She then continued her work with Prof. Stern as a Postdoc. In 2010 she received a Pathway to Independence Career Development award from the National Institute on Aging to investigate the effects or cardio-respiratory fitness and exercise on the function and structure of the medial temporal hippocampal memory system. In May 2013 she joined the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology at the Boston University School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor where she is the Director of the Brain Plasticity and Neuroimaging Laboratory.

Dr. Schon’s brain plasticity research focuses on modulators of the medial temporal hippocampal system across the lifespan. Currently, she investigates the role of aerobic exercise, aging, and, more recently, chronic psychosocial stress, as modulators of cognitive function and brain health in aging and Alzheimer’s disease in humans. With her cognitive neuroscience research on chronic psychosocial stress she aims to take an anti-racist perspective by focusing on the impact of interpersonal and institutional racism on brain health in older African Americans. The long-term goal of this research to contribute to health policy change from a cognitive neuroscience perspective with the goal to eliminate brain health inequities.

Methods used include: Task-based, resting-state and high-resolution fMRI, structural MRI, cognitive testing, neuropsychology, exercise testing and training, and biomarker assays (e.g. neurotrophins, such as BDNF, IGF-1, and VEGF; salivary cortisol).

Keywords: cognitive neuroscience, cognitive neurobiology, brain plasticity, hippocampus, amygdala, medial temporal lobes, MRI, fMRI, episodic memory, emotion, aging, Alzheimer’s disease, health disparities / inequities, chronic psychosocial stress, racism, discrimination, resilience, social and societal contributors to brain aging and brain health.

Other Positions

  • Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Boston University College of Arts and Sciences
  • Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University College of Arts and Sciences
  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences

Education

  • Boston University, PhD
  • Universität Hamburg, MA
  • Universität Hamburg, BA

Classes Taught

  • GMS AN 702
  • GMS AN 811
  • GMSIM630

Publications

  • Published on 12/16/2020

    Kern KL, Storer TW, Schon K. Cardiorespiratory fitness, hippocampal subfield volumes, and mnemonic discrimination task performance in aging. Hum Brain Mapp. 2021 03; 42(4):871-892. PMID: 33325614.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/1/2020

    Islam MR, Luo R, Valaris S, Haley EB, Takase H, Chen YI, Dickerson BC, Schon K, Arai K, Nguyen CT, Wrann CD. Diffusion tensor-MRI detects exercise-induced neuroplasticity in the hippocampal microstructure in mice. Brain Plast. 2020 Oct 01; 5(2):147-159. PMID: 33282678.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/21/2020

    Coogan P, Schon K, Li S, Cozier Y, Bethea T, Rosenberg L. Experiences of racism and subjective cognitive function in African American women. Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2020; 12(1):e12067. PMID: 32782921.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/18/2020

    Nauer RK, Schon K, Stern CE. Cardiorespiratory fitness and mnemonic discrimination across the adult lifespan. Learn Mem. 2020 03; 27(3):91-103. PMID: 32071255.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/24/2019

    Kronman CA, Kern KL, Nauer RK, Dunne MF, Storer TW, Schon K. Cardiorespiratory fitness predicts effective connectivity between the hippocampus and default mode network nodes in young adults. Hippocampus. 2020 05; 30(5):526-541. PMID: 31647603.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/7/2019

    Nauer RK, Dunne MF, Stern CE, Storer TW, Schon K. Improving fitness increases dentate gyrus/CA3 volume in the hippocampal head and enhances memory in young adults. Hippocampus. 2020 05; 30(5):488-504. PMID: 31588607.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/26/2015

    Whiteman AS, Young DE, Budson AE, Stern CE, Schon K. Entorhinal volume, aerobic fitness, and recognition memory in healthy young adults: A voxel-based morphometry study. Neuroimage. 2016 Feb 01; 126:229-38. PMID: 26631814.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/9/2015

    Nauer RK, Whiteman AS, Dunne MF, Stern CE, Schon K. Hippocampal subfield and medial temporal cortical persistent activity during working memory reflects ongoing encoding. Front Syst Neurosci. 2015; 9:30. PMID: 25859188.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/6/2015

    Schon K, Newmark RE, Ross RS, Stern CE. A Working Memory Buffer in Parahippocampal Regions: Evidence from a Load Effect during the Delay Period. Cereb Cortex. 2016 May; 26(5):1965-74. PMID: 25662713.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/1/2013

    Ross RS, LoPresti ML, Schon K, Stern CE. Role of the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex during the disambiguation of social cues in working memory. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2013 Dec; 13(4):900-15. PMID: 23640112.

    Read at: PubMed

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