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Katerina Semendeferi, PhD

Katerina Semendeferi, PhD

Professor, Department of Anthropology

Contact Information

9500 Gilman Drive MC 0532
La Jolla, CA 92093-0532
Office: 822-822-0750
Lab: 858-534-2977
Lab Website

Katerina Semendeferi received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Iowa. A physical anthropologist interested in the evolution of the human brain and behavior, Katerina Semendeferi obtained an interdisciplinary education in Anthropology and Neuroscience followed by a postdoctoral training in neuroimaging and cognitive science in the Department of Neurology, University of Iowa. Semendeferi's research interests include:

Evolution of emotional and cognitive processes in hominoids Species-specific adaptations in the organization of neocortical and limbic areas in the brain of humans and apes Semendeferi's work emphasizes the acquisition of new comparative data on the organization of the human, chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, orangutan and gibbon brain at the macroscopic and microscopic levels using non-invasive techniques: 3D reconstruction of Magnetic Resonance scans of the brain of living humans and apes qualitative and quantitative analysis of histological sections of postmortem specimens The National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the Leakey Foundation for the Study of Human Origins have supported her research.

Van Hoesen, G.W., Morecraft, R.J. and Semendeferi, K. (1996) Functional neuroanatomy of the limbic system and prefrontal cortex. In B. Fogel, R.B. Schiffer and S.M. Roa (Eds.) Neuropsychiatry: A Comprehensive Textbook, William & Wilkins, Baltimore, pp. 113-143.

Semendeferi, K., Damasio, H., Frank, R. and Van Hoesen, G.W. (1997) The evolution of the frontal lobes: a volumetric analysis based on three-dimensional reconstructions of magnetic resonance scans of human and ape brains. Journal of Human Evolution, 32: 375-388.

Semendeferi, K., Armstrong, E., Schleicher, A., Zilles, K., and Van Hoesen, G.W. (1998) Limbic frontal cortex in hominoids: A comparative study of area 13. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 106:129-155.

Semendeferi, K. (1999) The frontal lobes of the great apes with a focus on the gorilla and the orangutan. In S.T. Parker, R.W. Mitchell and H.L. Miles (Eds.) The Mentality of Gorillas and Orangutans: Comparative Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., pp. 70-95.

Semendeferi, K. and Damasio, H. (2000) The brain and its main anatomical subdivisions in living hominoids using magnetic resonance imaging. Journal of Human Evolution, 38: 317-332.

Semendeferi, K. (2001) Before or after the split? Hominid neural specializations. In A. Nowell (Ed.) In the Mind’s Eye: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the evolution of Human Cognition. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, International Monograph Series, pp 107-120.

Semendeferi, K., Schleicher, A, Zilles, K, Armstrong, E and Van Hoesen, G.W. (2001) Prefrontal cortex in humans and apes: A comparative study of area 10. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 114(3):224-241.

Semendeferi, K. (2001) Advances in the study of hominoid brain evolution: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and 3D reconstruction. In D. Falk and K. Gibson (Eds.) Evolutionary Anatomy of the Primate Cerebral Cortex. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, pp 257-289.

Semendeferi, K., Lu, A., Schenker, N., and Damasio, H. (2002) Humans and great apes share a large frontal cortex. Nature Neuroscience 5(3):272-276.

Sherwood CC, Holloway RL, Gannon PJ, Semendeferi K, Erwin JM, Zilles K, and Hof PR. (2003) Neuroanatomical basis of facial expression in monkeys, apes, and humans. Ann. N Y Acad. Sci. 1000:1-5.

Sherwood, C.C., Hof, P.R., Holloway, R.L., Semendeferi, K., Gannon, P.J., Frahm, H., and Zilles, K. (2005) Evolution of the brainstem orofacial motor system in primates: a comparative quantitative study of trigeminal, facial and hypoglossal motor nuclei. Journal of Human Evolution, 48(1):45-84.

Sherwood, C.C., Holloway, R.L., Semendeferi, K., Hof, P.R. (2005) Is prefrontal white matter enlargement a human evolutionary specialization? Nature Neuroscience 8(5):537-538.

Schenker, N., Desgouttes, A.M and Semendeferi, K. (2005) Neural connectivity and cortical substrates of cognition in hominoids. Journal of Human Evolution 49:547-569.

Buxhoeveden, D.P., K.Semendeferi, J. Buckwalter, N. Schenker, R. Switzer, E. Courchesne (2006) Reduced minicolumns in the frontal cortex of patients with autism. Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology 32:483-491.