Beatriz Luna, PhD

Staunton Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Psychology


121 Meyran Ave, Loeffler Bldg. Room 111
F: 412-383-8179


Website >


PhD, University of Pittsburgh (1996)


Brain basis underlying the transition from adolescent to adult level cognitive control (working memory, response inhibition, reward processing). fMRI, DTI, PET, MRSI and cognitive testing are used.

Research Summary

The Laboratory of Neurocognitive Development investigates the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie neurocognitive development from childhood to adulthood with a focus on adolescence when adult trajectories are established. We use multimodal imaging including: fMRI, DWI, MEG, PET, and MRSI to measure developmental changes in brain function, connectivity, network organization, and neurochemistry, and their relation to cognitive behavioral assessments as well as other measures including: hormonal assays, and genetics.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program



Marek S, Hwang K, Foran W, Hallquist MN, Luna B. The Contribution of Network Organization and Integration to the Development of Cognitive Control. PLoS Biol. 2015 Dec 29;13(12):e1002328. PMID: 26713863 [rsfMRI]

Larsen B, Verstynen TD, Yeh FC, Luna B. Developmental Changes in the Integration of Affective and Cognitive Corticostriatal Pathways are Associated with Reward-Driven Behavior. Cereb Cortex. 2017 Jul 5:1-12. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhx162. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29106535. [DTI]

Montez DF, Calabro FJ, Luna B. The expression of established cognitive brain states stabilizes with working memory development. Elife. 2017 Aug 19;6. pii: e25606. doi: 10.7554/eLife.25606. PMCID: PMC5578740. [fMRI]

Murty V, Shah H, Montez D, Foran W, Calabro F, Luna B. Age-related trajectories of functional coupling between the VTA and nucleus accumbens depend on motivational state. 2018 J Neurosci. Aug 22;38(34):7420-7427. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3508-17.2018. Epub 2018 Jul 20. PubMed PMID: 30030394.[bfMRI]

Larsen B & Luna B. Adolescence as a neurobiological critical period for the development of higher-order cognition. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2018 Nov;94:179-195. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.09.005. Epub 2018 Sep 7. Review. PubMed PMID: 30201220.

All Publications >

Investigator in Pittsburgh site of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) – NIH national Collaborative. ABCD is following 8-9 year olds across sites in the US longitudinally into adulthood measuring a large number of variables informing neurocognitive development.