Anatomist and anthropologist Kristina Aldridge, PhD, investigates the brain in three dimensions.
Dr. Aldridge uses three-dimensional mapping to research autism spectrum disorder. Working with engineers and medical researchers, she tested the hypothesis that autism-causing genes simultaneously affect early development of the brain and face and discovered distinct subtypes of facial measurements in children with autism. The results could help scientists identify vulnerable points in prenatal development and specific genes that cause the disorder.
Dr. Aldridge is also working to better understand craniosynostosis, a disorder that changes the shape of the skull and the brain in infants. Partnering with surgeons, psychologists and geneticists, she uses computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and 3D photography to test the theory that prenatal skull and brain interaction causes the change in shape. The team’s findings will lead to better treatment options and contribute toward identifying the cause.
In addition to brain disorders, Dr. Aldridge works to understand brain evolution. Using 3D imaging, she studies brain shape variation among humans and other primates including chimpanzees, gorillas and groups of monkeys. Capturing patterns among the different species sheds light on the unique evolutionary history of the human brain.
Dr. Aldridge is an associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences in the School of Medicine and a researcher at the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
- Brain development
- Craniofacial phenotypes
- Genotype-phenotype associations in craniofacial development
Education & Training
Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University
National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine
Ph.D., Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore
- Aldridge K, Wang, L, Harms MP, Moffitt AJ, Cole KK, Csernansky JG, Selemon LD (2012) A longitudinal analysis of regional brain volume in macaques exposed to X-irradiation in early gestation. PLoS ONE, 7: e43109.
- Aldridge K, George ID, Cole KK, Austin JR, Takahashi TN, Duan Y, Miles JH (2011) Facial phenotypes in subgroups of pre-pubertal boys with autism spectrum disorders are correlated with clinical phenotypes. Molecular Autism, 2: 15.
- Aldridge K (2011) Patterns of differences in brain morphology in humans as compared to extant apes. Journal of Human Evolution, 60: 94-105.
- Hill CA, Vaddi S, Moffitt AJ, Kane AA, Marsh JL, Panchal J, Richtsmeier JT, Aldridge K (2011) Intracranial volume and whole brain volume in infants with unicoronal craniosynostosis. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 48: 394-398.
- Aldridge K, Reeves RH, Olson LE, Richtsmeier JT (2007) “Differential effects of trisomy on brain shape and volume in related aneuploid mouse models.” American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A: 143A: 1060-1070.
- Aldridge K, Boyadjiev SA, Capone GT, DeLeon VB, Richtsmeier JT (2005) Precision and error of three-dimensional phenotypic measures acquired from 3dMD photogrammetric images. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 138A: 247-253.