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Gagan Wig

Gagan Wig

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Brain network connectivity, healthy and pathological aging, brain health disparities across the lifespan


Professional Preparation

B.S. - Behavioral Neuroscience
University of British Columbia - 2018
Ph.D. - Cognitive Neuroscience
Dartmouth College - 2018

Research Areas

Research Interests
Dr. Wig's research program uses a combination of structural and functional imaging tools (including fMRI, DTI, and TMS) to understand the organization of large-scale human brain networks and how these networks change over the adult-lifespan. He uses this information to guide studies related to mnemonic and attentional processes, with a particular focus on understanding the sources of individual differences in memory and attention and how they may be modified by aging and disease.


Wig, G.S., Klausner, S., Chan, M.Y., Sullins. C., Rayanki, A., Seale, M.A. (2024). Participant diversity is necessary to advance brain aging research. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 28(2): P92-96. 2024 - publications
Han, L., Chan, M.Y., Agres, P.F., Winter-Nelson, E., Zhang, Z., Wig, G.S. (2024). Measures of resting-state brain network segregation and integration vary in relation to data quantity: Implications for within and between subject comparisons of functional brain network organization. Cerebral Cortex. 34(2): 2024 - publications
Zhang, Z., Chan, M.Y., Han, L., Carreno, C.A., Winter-Nelson, E., Wig, G.S., for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). (2023). Dissociable effects of Alzheimer’s Disease-related cognitive dysfunction and aging on functional brain network segregation. The Journal of Neuroscience. 43(46):7879-7892. 2023 - publications
Chan, M.Y., Han, L., Carreno, C.A., Zhang, Z., Rodriguez, R.M., LaRose, M., Hassenstab, J., Wig, G.S. (2021). Long-term prognosis and educational determinants of brain network decline in older adult individuals. Nature Aging. 1: 1053-1067. 2021 - Publication
Wig, G.S. (2019). Alzheimer’s dilemmas. Issues in Science and Technology. 35(2): 5-8 2019 - Publication
Chan, M.Y., Na, J., Agres, P.F., Savalia, N.K., Park, D.C., Wig, G.S. (2018). Socioeconomic status moderates age-related differences in the brain’s functional network organization and anatomy across the adult lifespan. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 115(22): E5144-E5153. 2018 - Publication
Han, L., Savalia, N.K., Chan, M.Y., Agres, P.F., Nair, A.S., Wig, G.S. (2018). Functional parcellation of the cerebral cortex across the human adult lifespan. Cerebral Cortex. 28(12): 4403-4423. 2018 - Publication
Savalia, N.K., Agres, P.F., Chan, M.Y., Feczko, E.J., Kennedy, K.M., Wig, G.S. (2017). Motion-related artifacts in structural brain images revealed with independent estimates of in-scanner head motion. Human Brain Mapping. 38: 472–492. PMCID: PMC5217095  2017 - Publication

News Articles

Researchers Explore Socioeconomic Status’s Link to Dementia
Researchers Explore Socioeconomic Status’s Link to Dementia Scientists from The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) have demonstrated that a key measure of the health of the aging brain varies in relation to education level, which can indicate the likelihood and severity of later dementia.

Their results, published in Nature Aging on Nov. 11, suggest that environmental factors related to socioeconomic status might accelerate brain aging.

Team Awarded $2.9 Million To Study Socioeconomic Ties to Alzheimer’s
Team Awarded $2.9 Million To Study Socioeconomic Ties to Alzheimer’s Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for Vital Longevity (CVL) have received a $2.9 million grant to continue their investigation into links between socioeconomic disadvantage and susceptibility to cognitive decline.

The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provided funding for the project, led by Dr. Gagan Wig, associate professor of cognition and neuroscience in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Focusing on middle-aged adults from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, researchers hope to pinpoint structural features of the adult brain that could predict later symptoms of degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Collaborative Minds Bringing Sounds to Brain Data in Yearlong Project
Collaborative Minds Bringing Sounds to Brain Data in Yearlong Project Data from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have provided eye-popping pictures of the way the brain is wired, and allowed neuroscientists and laypeople alike to view intricate anatomical and functional connections between regions of the brain. But what if a new tool could be applied to MRI and other data, to listen to the way the brain works and how it is forged with connections?
An emerging effort to “sonify” imaging data is taking root at UT Dallas’ Center for Vital Longevity, in the lab of Dr. Gagan Wig. The approach, now funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), allows data to be represented by sounds from which a trained listener might be able to discern patterns of brain connectivity not readily seen in available visualization strategies.
DALLAS – Sept. 21, 2017 – The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Dr. Gagan Wig nearly $150,000 to investigate whether certain cognitive abilities can be enhanced by directly manipulating a corresponding brain system using non-invasive brain stimulation.

Differences in cognitive abilities such as executive function, long-term memory, and language are present not only across different ages but also within groups of seemingly similar people, such as healthy young adults. Researchers consider these differences to reflect differences in the functional specialization of networks in the human brain.
Increased 'Blurring' of Brain Networks May Contribute to Poor Memory
Increased 'Blurring' of Brain Networks May Contribute to Poor Memory People may be inclined to think that poor memory is associated with a gradual disconnecting of the brain’s circuitry, but can too much connectivity in the brain actually play a role in worsening memory?

New research from the Center for Vital Longevity (CVL) at UT Dallas suggests it may. 

The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has found that the more connections forged between a brain’s sub-networks, the poorer a person’s memory was.