Timothy Brown 

Timothy T. Brown, PhD 

Assistant Professor


Contact Information

8950 Villa La Jolla Drive
Suite C-101

Email: ttbrown@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858 822-1769
Fax: 858 534-1078

Mailing address:
8950 Villa La Jolla Drive
Suite C-101
La Jolla, CA 92037

Dr. Brown completed graduate training in systems neuroscience, cognitive development, and pediatric neuropsychology at Johns Hopkins University and Washington University in St. Louis, including clinical training in neuropsychology at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and St. Johns Mercy Medical Center. Before completing graduate school, he worked at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the National Institute of Mental Health. He joined UCSD as an intern in adult neuropsychology at Jacobs Medical Center, VA San Diego Healthcare Systems, and the UCSD Medical Center, after which he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental cognitive neurophysiology.


Dr. Brown’s primary research interests are in developmental changes in the structural and functional organization of the human brain, from infancy through early adulthood. He uses multimodal anatomical and physiological neuroimaging and recording methods for studying brain and cognitive development, which have included magnetoencephalography (MEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), electroencephalography (EEG), structural MRI and diffusion imaging, and autonomic psychophysiological techniques. He is also trained in the clinical assessment and diagnosis of developmental cognitive disorders and has worked with children of all ages with a variety of brain-related medical conditions.


Dr. Brown supervises undergraduate, graduate, and medical students, postdoctoral fellows, and residents within the departments of Neurosciences, Cognitive Science, Radiology, Language and Communicative Disorders, and Linguistics. In 2009, he founded and since has served as faculty advisor to Interaxon, an undergraduate neuroscience outreach and education organization that visits underprivileged schools to promote knowledge and interest in neuroscience, scientific careers, and higher education. Since its inception, Interaxon has visited more than 30 schools, reaching more than 850 students from K through 12th grades. Since 2012, Interaxon has been awarded funds from the Society for Neuroscience to continue and expand its very successful outreach program.


In addition to his university teaching and outreach service, Dr. Brown is an ad hoc reviewer for several journals, including Brain, Cerebral Cortex, Current Biology, Developmental Neuropsychology, Developmental Science, Journal of Neurophysiology, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Pediatric Neurology, Neurology, and Neuropsychology Review. He is a member of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Society for Neuroscience, Society for the Neurobiology of Language, the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, the Society for Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, and the International Flux Society for Integrative Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.


In 2016, with esteemed colleagues across the globe in neuroscience, psychology, education, and child development, Dr. Brown launched Educational Neuroscience, a new open-access interdisciplinary scientific journal that publishes original studies, commentaries and dialogues, and reviews on cognitive neuroscience research that stands to inform and improve educational assessment, practice, and policy. The journal’s primary aim is to report fundamental research and critical thinking on the mind and brain, from development through aging, as it relates to the prospect of improving the academic success and learning of children, adolescents, and adults, including individuals with cognitive and developmental disorders. The journal’s unique organizational and editorial structure allows for contributions from multiple perspectives (e.g., scientists, educators, parents, clinicians), and its novel format is designed to promote meaningful dialogue and collaboration across all related disciplines. The novel and thought-provoking inaugural article, written by renowned expert and critic John Bruer, provides just the rigorous and objective tone the journal will seek to maintain in its coming years.

Dr. Brown’s primary research interests are in characterizing developmental changes in the anatomical and physiological organization of the brain during childhood and relating this to specific phases and components of cognitive development. In this effort, he has conducted functional imaging studies of visual and auditory lexical and language processing, memory, executive functions, and learning. 


In particular, Dr. Brown has been interested in how the brain represents semantic information (such as word meanings and object concepts) and how these representations change in the brain through the course of normal and disordered development. Using an innovative multimodal neuroimaging technique called anatomically constrained magnetoencephalography (aMEG), he and his colleagues recently demonstrated atypical right hemisphere specialization for object representations in an individual patient with pervasive developmental language impairment (Brown et al., 2014). The ability to characterize such individual differences in the brain’s dynamic (millisecond-wise) functional organization for specific cognitive processing operations will increase our understanding of normal and abnormal brain development and should help us to better tailor our clinical diagnoses and treatments for a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders.


With professor Natacha Akshoomoff in the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Brown is also currently funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study genetic and sociodemographic influences on the anatomical and physiological development of brain systems that support academic skill acquisition and executive cognitive functions (such as working memory, attention, and inhibitory control), from the preschool ages through young adulthood. This research is an outgrowth of the very successful multisite Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics (PING) study, a UCSD-led collaborative effort of investigators at UCSD, USC, UC-Irvine, UC-Davis, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Hawaii, the University of Massachusetts, and Yale University.


Most recently, Dr. Brown has been developing new lines of longitudinal research that relate childhood brain development to individual differences in academic skill acquisition (such as math and reading abilities) and to other experiences such as prolonged digital media use.

Selected Publications

Schlaggar, B. L., Brown, T. T., Lugar, H. M., Visscher, K., Miezin, F. M., & Petersen, S. E. (2002). Functional neuroanatomical differences between adults and school-age children in the processing of single words. Science, 296, 1476-1479.


Brown, T. T., Petersen, S. E., & Schlaggar, B. L. (2003). Functional neuroimaging approaches to the study of human brain development. Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders (ASHA), 13, 3-10.


Brown, T. T., Petersen, S. E., & Schlaggar, B. L. (2006). Does human functional brain organization shift from diffuse to focal with development? Developmental Science, 9, 9-11.


Brown, T. T., Lugar, H. M., Coalson, R. S., Miezin, F. M., Petersen, S. E., & Schlaggar, B. L. (2005). Developmental changes in human cerebral functional organization for word generation. Cerebral Cortex, 15, 275-290.


Fair, D. A., Brown, T. T., Petersen, S. E., & Schlaggar, B. L. (2006). fMRI reveals novel functional neuroanatomy in a child with perinatal stroke. Neurology, 67, 2246-2249.


Brown, T. T., Lugar, H. M., Coalson, R. S., Miezin, F. M., Petersen, S. E., & Schlaggar, B. L. (2007). Developmental changes in human cerebral functional organization for word generation.  In D. Riva, I. Rapin, & G. Zardini (Eds.), Language: Normal and pathological development (A tribute to Elizabeth Bates).


Brown, T. T., Kuperman, J. M., Erhart, M., White, N. S., Roddey, J. C., Shankaranarayanan, A., Han, E. T., Rettmann, D., & Dale, A. M. (2010). Prospective motion correction of high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging data in children. NeuroImage, 53, 139-145.  PMID: 20542120


Brown, T. T., Kuperman, J.M., Chung, Y., Erhart, M., McCabe, C., Hagler, D.J., Jr., Venkatraman, V.K., Akshoomoff, N., Amaral, D.G., Bloss, C.S., Casey, B.J., Chang, L., Ernst, T.M., Frazier, J.A., Gruen, J.R., Kaufmann, W.E., Kenet, T., Kennedy, D.N., Murray, S.S., Sowell, E.R., Jernigan, T.L., & Dale, A.M. (2012). Neuroanatomical assessment of biological maturity. Current Biology, 22, 1693-1698.


Brown, T. T., & Jernigan, T. L. (2012). Brain development during the preschool years. Neuropsychology Review, 22, 313-333.


Fjell, A. M., Walhovd, K. B., Brown, T. T., Kuperman, J. M., Chung, Y., Hagler, D. J., Venkatraman, V., Cooper, R. Erhart, M., McCabe, C., Akshoomoff, N., Amaral, D. G., Bloss, C. S., Libiger, O., Darst, B. F., Schork, N. J., Casey, B. J., Chang, L., Ernst, T. M., Gruen, J. R., Kaufmann, W. E., Kenet, T., Frazier, J., Murray, S. S., Sowell, E. R., van Zijl, P., Mostofsky, S., Jernigan, T. L., & Dale, A. M. (2012). Multimodal imaging of the self-regulating developing brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, 19620-19625.


Irimia, A., Erhart, M., & Brown, T. T. (2014). Variability of magnetoencephalographic sensor sensitivity measures as a function of age, brain volume, and cortical area. Clinical Neurophysiology, doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2014.01.027.


Brown, T. T., Erhart, M., Avesar, D., Dale, A. M., Halgren, E., & Evans, J. L. (2014). Atypical right hemisphere specialization for object representations in an adolescent with specific language impairment. Frontiers in Neurology, doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00082.


Stiles, J., Brown, T. T., Haist, F., & Jernigan, T. L. (2015). Brain and cognitive development. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.), Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science, 7th edition; Volume II: Cognitive Processes.


Evans, J. L. & Brown, T. T. (2016). The neurobiology of specific language impairment. In S. Small and G. Hickock (Eds.), Neurobiology of language, 899-912.


Jernigan, T. L., Brown, T. T., Hagler, D. J., Akshoomoff, N., Bartsch, H., Newman, E., Thompson, W. K., Bloss, C. S., Murray, S. S., Schork, N., Kennedy, D. N., Kuperman, J. M., McCabe, C., Chung, Y., Libiger, O., Maddox, M., Casey, B. J., Chang, L., Ernst, T. M., Frazier, J. A., Gruen, J. R., Sowell, E. R., Kenet, T., Kaufmann, W. E., Mostofsky, S., Amaral, D. G., and Dale, A. M. (2016). The Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics (PING) study: A multisite brain-genomics database. NeuroImage, 124, 1149-1154.


Brown, T. T. (2016). Individual differences in human brain development. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, WIREs Cogn Sci 2016. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1389.


Walhovd, K. A, Fjell, A. M., Giedd, J., Dale, A. M., & Brown, T. T. (2016). Feature Article: Through thick and thin: A need to reconcile contradictory results on trajectories in human cortical development. Cerebral Cortex. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhv301.


Brown, T. T. (2016). On the brain basis of digital daze in millennial minds. Journal of Management Education, doi: 10.1177/1052562916634118.


Chailangkarn, T., Trujillo, C. A., Freitas, B. C., Hrvoj-Mihic, B., Herai, R. H., Yu, D. X., Brown, T. T., Marchetto, M. C. N., Bardy, C., McHenry, L., Stefanacci, L., Järvinen, A., Searcy, Y. M., DeWitt, M., Wong, W., Lai, P., Ard, M. C., Hanson, K. L., Romero, S., Jacobs, R., Dale, A. M., Dai, L., Korenberg, J. R., Gage, F, H., Bellugi, U., Halgren, E., Semendeferi, K., & Muotri, A. R. (in press). A human neurodevelopmental model for Williams syndrome linking genes to patient brain alterations. Nature.

1997 NIMH Clinical Brain Disorders Branch Cash Award

1999 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

2006 NIH National Research Service Award Fellowship

2009 Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind Innovative Research Award

2012 Elected Member, San Diego Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Consortium

2014 Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center Young Researcher Award