Pathology Faculty Member

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    Yerkes Primate Research Center
    954 Gatewood Rd.
    Atlanta GA 30329
    404 727-8556 Phone

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    Todd M Preuss, PhD


    Associate Professor
    Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

    Pathology Faculty Photo

    Other Appointments/Positions

    Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology, Emory University

    Associate Research Professor of Neuroscience, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University

    Pathology Division(s):
    Experimental Pathology

    Email Address:


    BA, Psychology   Haverford College, - 1980

    MPhil, Biol. Anthropology   Yale University, - 1982

    PhD, Biol. Anthropology   Yale University, - 1990

    Postdoc, Biol. Psychology   Vanderbilt University, 1990 - 1995

    Research Interests:

    - Neuroanatomy / Neurohistology / Biomedical imaging / Aging
    My laboratory investigates the evolutionary specializations of the human brain. Identifying these specializations is critical for understanding how the human brain supports our unique cognitive abilities and why humans are peculiarly vulnerable to neurodegenerative diseases. We want to know, for example, the extent to which the evolutionary expansion of the human brain was accompanied by the addition of new cortical areas or by the enlargement and internal reorganization of existing areas, and how these changes are related to specializations of cogntion. We also want to understand how the human brain was modified in response to selection for a long life span. For example, how are human neocortical neuronswhich are generated before birth and not replaced during lifeable to survive and function through eight or more decades? Why does Alzheimer's disease occur naturally only in humans? We address questions like these by comparing human brains to those of chimpanzeesthe animals to which humans are most closely relatedand to other nonhuman primates. Within this basic comparative framework, we employ multiple investigative methodologies to identify human specializations at multiple levels of organization: genomic and molecular biological techniques to identify evolutionary changes in gene and protein expression, histological techniques to localize expression changes to specify cell types and cell compartments, and neuroimaging techniques to identify evolutionary changes in connectivity and cerebral morphology.

    Honors / Awards:

    Kavli Frontiers Fellow, National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science Program, 2005-2007

    Selected Publications:

    Published and Accepted Research Articles -

    Chen X, Errangi B, Li L, Glasser MF, Westlye LT, Fjell AM,Walhovd KB, Hu X, Herndon JG, Preuss TM, Rilling JK (2013) Brain aging in humans, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta): MRI studies of macro- and microstructural changes. Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Apr 24. doi:pii: S0197-4580(13)00147-4. 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.03.028. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23623601

    Glasser MF, Goyal MS Preuss TM, Raichle MC, Van Essen DC (2013) Trends and properties of human cerebral cortex: Correlations with cortical myelin content. Neuroimage. 2013 Apr 6. doi:pii: S1053-8119(13)00310-8. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.03.060. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23567887

    Li L, Hu X, Preuss TM, Glasser MF, Damen FW, Qiu Y, Rilling J. (2013) Mapping putative hubs in human, chimpanzee and rhesus macaque connectomes via diffusion tractography. Neuroimage. 2013 Apr 17. doi:pii: S1053-8119(13)00352-2. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.04.024. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23603286

    Konopka, G, Friedrich T, Davis-Turak, J, Winden K, Oldham, MC, Gao F, Chen L, Wang G-Y, Luo R, Preuss TM, Geschwind DH. 2012. Human-specific transcriptional networks in the brain. Neuron 75:601-617. PMID: 22920253.

    Bryant KL, Suwyn C, Reding KM, Smiley JF, Hackett TA, and Preuss TM. 2012. Evidence for ape and human specializations in geniculostriate projections from VGLUT2 immunohistochemistry. Brain, Behavior and Evolution. Epub 2012 Aug 10. PMID: 22889767

    Preuss TM. 2012. Human brain evolution: From gene discovery to phenotype discovery. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109 Suppl 1:10709-10716. PMID: 22723367

    Hecht, EE, Gutman, DA, Preuss TM, Sanchez, MM, Parr, LA, Rilling, JK. (2012) Comparative diffusion tensor imaging of the mirror neuron system in macaque monkeys, chimpanzees, and humans. Cerebral Cortex. Epub 2012 Apr 5 [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 22539611.

    Li L, Rilling JK, Preuss TM, Glasser MF, Damen FW, and Hu X. 2012. Quantitative assessment of a framework for creating anatomical brain networks via global tractography. NeuroImage:1-53. PMID: 22484406

    Li L, Rilling JK, Preuss TM, Glasser MF, and Hu X. 2012. The effects of connection reconstruction method on the interregional connectivity of brain networks via diffusion tractography. Hum Brain Mapp 33(8):1894-1913. PMID: 21928316.

    Shulha HP, Crisci JL, Reshetov D, Tushir JS, Cheung I, Bharadwaj R, Chou H-J, Houston IB, Peter CJ, Mitchell AC, Yao WD, Myers RH,Chen JF, Preuss TM, Rogaev EI, Jensen JD, Weng Z, Akbarian S. 2012. Human-specific histone methylation signatures at transcription start sites in prefrontal neurons. PLoS Biology 10(11):e1001427. PMID: 23185133.

    Jean S, Preuss TM, Sharma P, Anderson DC, Provenzale JM, Ross SR, Stroud E, and Connor-Stroud FC. 2012. Cerebrovascular accident (stroke) in captive, group-housed, female chimpanzees. Comparative medicine 62(4):1-8. PMID: 23043787

    Zeng J, Konoka G, Hunt BG, Preuss TM, Geschwind, DH, Yi SJ. 2012. Divergent whole genome methylation maps of human and chimpanzee brains reveal epigenetic basis of human regulatory evolution. American Journal of Human Genetics. 91(3):455-65. PMID: 22922032

    Rilling JK, Glasser MF, Jbadi S, Andersson J, Preuss TM 2011. Continuity, divergence, and the evolution of brain language pathways. Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, 3: 1-6.PMID: 22319495

    Preuss TM. 2011. The human brain: rewired and running hot. Ann NY Acad Sci, 225 Suppl 1:E182-91. PMID: 21599696

    Rilling JK, Scholz J, Preuss TM, Glasser MF, Errangi BK, Berhens TE. 2011. Differences between chimpanzees and bonobos in neural systems supporting social cognition. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 7(4):369-79. Epub 2011 Apr 5. PMID: 21467047

    Li L, Preuss TM, Rilling JK, Hopkins WD, Glasser MF, Kumar B, Nana R, Zhang X, and Hu X. 2010. Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) precentral corticospinal system asymmetry and handedness: a diffusion magnetic resonance imaging study. PloS One 5(9):e12886. PMID: 20877630

    Balsters JH, Cussans E, Diedrichsen J, Phillips KA, Preuss TM, Rilling JK, and Ramnani N. 2010. Evolution of the cerebellar cortex: the selective expansion of prefrontal-projecting cerebellar lobules. NeuroImage 49(3):2045-2052. PMID: 19857577

    Parr LA, Hecht E, Barks SK, Preuss TM, Votaw JR (2009) Face processing in the chimpanzee brain. Curr Biol 19:50-53. PMID: 19097899

    Rilling JK, Glasser MF, Preuss TM, Ma X, Zhao T, Hu X, Behrens TEJ (2008) The evolution of the arcuate fasciculus revealed with comparative DTI. Nature Neuroscience. PMID: 18344993

    Konopka G, Bomar JM, Winden K, Coppola G, Jonsson ZO, Gao F, Peng S, Preuss TM, Wohlschlegel JA, and Geschwind DH. 2009. Human-specific transcriptional regulation of CNS development genes by FOXP2. Nature 462(7270):213-217. PMID: 19857577

    Rosen RF, Farberg AS, Gearing M, Dooyema J, Long PM, Anderson DC, Davis-Turak J, Coppola G, Geschwind DH, Pare JF, Duong TQ, Hopkins WD, Preuss TM, Walker LC (2008) Tauopathy with paired helical filaments in an aged chimpanzee. J Comp Neurol 509:259-270. PMID: 18481275

    Sherwood CC, Raghanti MA, Simpson CD, Bonar CJ, de Sousa AA, Preuss TM, Hof PR. 2007. Scaling of inhibitory interneurons in areas V1 and V2 of anthropoid primates as revealed by calcium-binding protein immunohistochemistry. Brain Behav Evol, 69: 276-195.

    Rilling JK, Barks SK, Parr LA, Preuss TM, Faber TL, Pagnoni G, Bremner JD, Votaw JR (2007) A comparison of resting-state brain activity in humans and chimpanzees. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:17146-17151. PMID: 17940032

    Stepniewska I, Preuss TM, Kaas JH (2007) Thalamic connections of the dorsal and ventral premotor areas in New World owl monkeys. Neuroscience 147:727-745. PMID: 17570597

    Calarco JA, Xing Y, Cáceres M, Calarco JP, Xiao X, Pan Q, Lee C, Preuss TM, and Blencowe BJ. 2007. Global analysis of alternative splicing differences between humans and chimpanzees. Genes Dev 21(22):2963-2975.

    Cáceres, M., Suwyn, C., Maddox, M., Thomas, J.W., and Preuss, T.M. (2007) Increased expression of two synaptogenic thrombospondins in human brain evolution. Cerebral Cortex 17(19):2312-2321 [Epub 2006 Dec 23].

    Preuss, T.M. (2007) Who's afraid of Homo sapiens? Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration (in press).

    Stepniewska, I., Preuss, T.M., and Kaas, J.H. (2006) Ipsilateral cortical connections of dorsal and ventral premotor areas in New World owl monkeys. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 495: 691-708.

    Cola, M.G., Seltzer, B., *Preuss, T.M., and *Cusick, C.G. (2005) Neurochemical organization of the chimpanzee inferior pulvinar complex. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 484: 299-312 (*co-last authors)

    Preuss TM, Caceres M, Oldham MC, Geschwind DH. 2004. Human brain evolution: Insights from microarrays. Nature Rev Genetics 5(11):850-860.

    Marqu¿s-Bonet, T., C¿ceres, M., Bertranpetit, J., Preuss, T.M., Thomas, J.W, and Navarro, A. (2004) Genomic distribution of gene expression divergence in humans and chimpanzees. Trends in Genetics 20: 524-9.

    C¿ceres, M., Lachuer, J, Zapala, M.A., Redmond, J.C., Kudo, L, Geschwind, D.H., Lockhart, D.J., Preuss, T.M., and Barlow, C. (2003) Elevated transcript levels distinguish the human from non-human primate brains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 100: 1330-1335.

    Preuss, T.M., and Coleman, G.Q. (2002) Human-specific organization of primary visual cortex: Alternating compartments of dense Cat-301 and calbindin immunoreactivity in layer 4A. Cerebral Cortex, 12: 671-691

    Hackett, T.A., Preuss, T.M., and Kaas, J.H. (2001) Architectonic identification of the core region in auditory cortex of macaques, chimpanzees, and humans. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 441:197-222.

    Preuss, T.M., Qi, H.-X., and Kaas, J.H. (1999) Distinctive compartmental organization of human primary visual cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 96:11601-11606.

    Qi, H.-X., Jain, N., Preuss, T.M., and Kaas, J.H. (1999) Inverted pyramidal neurons in chimpanzee sensorimotor cortex are revealed by immunostaining with monoclonal antibody SMI-32. Somatosensory and Motor Research, 16: 49-56.

    Preuss, T.M., Gray, D., and Cusick, C.G. (1998) Subdivisions of the motor and somatosensory thalamus of primates revealed with Wisteria floribunda agglutinin histochemistry. Somatosensory and Motor Research, 15: 211-219.

    Preuss, T.M., Stepniewska, I., Jain, N., and Kaas, J.H. (1997) Multiple divisions of macaque precentral motor cortex identified with neurofilament antibody SMI-32. Brain Research, 767: 148-153.

    Rosa, M., Casagrande, V.A., Preuss, T., and Kaas, J.H. (1997) Visual field representation in striate and prestriate cortices of a prosimian primate (Galago garnetti). Journal of Neurophysiology, 77: 3193-3217.

    Preuss, T.M., and Kaas, J.H. (1996) Parvalbumin-like immunoreactivity of layer V pyramidal cells in the motor and somatosensory cortex of adult primates. Brain Research 712: 353-357.

    Preuss, T.M., Stepniewska, I., and Kaas, J.H. (1996) Movement representation in the dorsal and ventral premotor areas of owl monkeys: A microstimulation study. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 371: 649-676.

    Preuss, T.M., and Kaas, J.H. (1996) Cytochrome oxidase "blobs" and other characteristics of primary visual cortex in a lemuroid primate, Cheirogaleus medius. Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 47: 103-112.

    Preuss TM. 1995. Do rats have prefrontal cortex? The Rose-Woolsey-Akert program reconsidered. J Cogn Neurosci, 7:1-24.

    Povinelli DJ, Preuss TM. 1995. Theory of mind: evolutionary history of a cognitive specialization. Trends Neurosci 18:418-424.

    Stepniewska I, Preuss TM, Kaas JH. 1994. Thalamic connections of the primary motor cortex (M1) of owl monkeys. J Comp Neurol 349(4):558-582.

    Jain N, Preuss TM, Kaas JH. 1994. Subdivisions of the visual system labeled with the Cat-301 antibody in tree shrews. Vis Neurosci 11(4):731-741.

    Stepniewska I, Preuss TM, Kaas JH. 1994. Architectonic subdivisions of the motor thalamus of owl monkeys: Nissl, acetylcholinesterase, and cytochrome oxidase patterns. J Comp Neurol 349(4):536-557.

    Stepniewska I, Preuss TM, Kaas JH. 1993. Architectonics, somatotopic organization, and ipsilateral cortical connections of the primary motor area (M1) of owl monkeys. J Comp Neurol 330(2):238-271.

    Preuss TM, Beck PD, Kaas JH. 1993. Areal, modular, and connectional organization of visual cortex in a prosimian primate, the slow loris (Nycticebus coucang). Brain Behav Evol 42(6):321-335.

    Preuss TM, Goldman-Rakic PS. 1991. Myelo- and cytoarchitecture of the granular frontal cortex and surrounding regions in the strepsirhine primate Galago and the anthropoid primate Macaca. J Comp Neurol 310(4):429-474.

    Preuss TM, Goldman-Rakic PS. 1991. Ipsilateral cortical connections of granular frontal cortex in the strepsirhine primate Galago, with comparative comments on anthropoid primates. J Comp Neurol 310(4):507-549.

    Preuss TM, Goldman-Rakic PS. 1991. Architectonics of the parietal and temporal association cortex in the strepsirhine primate Galago compared to the anthropoid primate Macaca. J Comp Neurol 310(4):475-506.

    Preuss TM, Goldman-Rakic PS. 1989. Connections of the ventral granular frontal cortex of macaques with perisylvian premotor and somatosensory areas: anatomical evidence for somatic representation in primate frontal association cortex. J Comp Neurol 282(2):293-316.

    Preuss TM, Goldman-Rakic PS. 1987. Crossed corticothalamic and thalamocortical connections of macaque prefrontal cortex. J Comp Neurol 257(2):269-281.

    Preuss TM. 1982. The face of Sivapithecus indicus: description of a new, relatively complete specimen from the Siwaliks of Pakistan. Folia Primatol (Basel) 38(3-4):141-157.

    Book Chapters -

    Povinelli, DJ, Preuss, TM. 2012. Afterword: A world without apes? In Povinelli, DJ, World Without Weight: Perspectives on an Alien Mind, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 330-332.

    Preuss, TM. 2012. Alien brains - a defense of exceptionalism. In Povinelli, DJ, World Without Weight: Perspectives on an Alien Mind, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 30-31.

    Kaas JH, and Preuss TM (2012) Human brain evolution. In Fundamental Neuroscience, 4th Edition (eds: L Squire, D Berg, FE Bloom, S du Lac, A Ghosh, NC Spitzer). Academic Press. pp. 901-918.

    Bunge S, Preuss TM (2010) Evolutionary and developmental issues in cognitive neuroscience. In: Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience (Koob G, Thompson RF, Le Moal M, eds), Oxford: Elsevier. p 512-516.

    Preuss TM (2010) Reinventing primate neuroscience for the 21st century. In: Primate Neuroethology (Platt ML, Ghazanfar AA, eds), Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 422-453.

    Preuss TM (2009) The cognitive neuroscience of human uniqueness. In: The Cognitive Neurosciences. Fourth Edition. (Gazzaniga MS, ed). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. In press.

    Qi H-X, Preuss TM, Kaas JH (2008) Somatosensory areas of the cerebral cortex: Architectonic characteristics and modular organization. In: The Senses: A Comprehensive Reference, Vol. 6, Somatosensation (Gardner EP, Kaas JH, eds), pp 143-170. London: Elsevier.

    Kaas JH, Preuss TM (2008) Human brain evolution. In: Fundamental Neuroscience, Third Edition (Squire LR, Berg D, Bloom FE, du Lac S, Ghosh A, Spizer NC, eds), pp 1019-1037. Amsterdam: Academic Press.

    Preuss, T.M. (2007) Evolutionary specializations of primate brain organization. In M. Ravosa and M. Dagosto (Editors): Primate Origins. New York: Kluwer, pp 625-675.

    Preuss TM. 2007. Primate brain evolution in phylogenetic context. In: Kaas JH, Preuss TM, editors. Evolution of Nervous Sytems Vol 4: Primates. Oxford: Elsevier, pp 1-34.

    Povinelli, D.J., Prince, C.G., and Preuss, T.M. (2005). Parent-offspring conflict and the development of social understanding. In: Carruthers, P., Laurence, S., Stich, S., editors. The Innate Mind: Structure and Content: Oxford University Press.

    Preuss, T.M. (2004) Specializations of the human visual system  the monkey model meets human reality. In J.H. Kaas and C.E. Collins (Editors): The Primate Visual system. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, pp. 231-259.

    Preuss, T.M. (2004) What is it like to be a human? In M.S. Gazzaniga (ed): The Cognitive Neurosciences. Third Edition. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 5-22.

    Kaas, J.H., and Preuss, T.M. (2003) Human brain evolution. In F.E. Bloom, S.C. Landis, J.L. Roberts, L.R. Squire, and M.J. Zigmond (Senior Editors): Fundamental Neuroscience (Second Ed.) San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 1147-1166.

    Preuss, T.M. (2001) The discovery of cerebral diversity: An unwelcome scientific revolution. In D. Falk and K. Gibson (eds.): Evolutionary Anatomy of the Primate Cerebral Cortex. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 138-164.

    Preuss, T.M. (2000) What's human about the human brain? In M.S. Gazzaniga (ed): The New Cognitive Neurosciences. Second Edition. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 1219-1234.

    Preuss, T.M., and Kaas, J.H. (1998) Human brain evolution. In F.E. Bloom, S.C. Landis, J.L. Roberts, L.R. Squire, and M.J. Zigmond (Senior Editors): Fundamental Neuroscience, San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 1283-1311.

    Preuss, T.M. (1995) The argument from animals to humans in cognitive neuroscience. In M.S. Gazzaniga (ed): The Cognitive Neurosciences. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 1227-1241. [Reprinted in M.S. Gazzaniga (ed): Cognitive Neuroscience: A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2000].

    Preuss TM. 1993. The role of the neurosciences in primate evolutionary biology: Historical commentary and prospectus. In: MacPhee RDE, editor. Primates and their Relatives in Phylogenetic Perspective. New York: Penum. p 333-362.

    Kaas JH, Preuss TM. 1993. Archontan affinities of the primate brain as reflected in the nervous system. In: Szalay FS, Novacek MJ, McKenna MC, editors. Mammalian Phylogeny: Placentals. New York: Springer Verlag. p 115-128.

    Books Edited and Written -

    Kaas JH, Preuss TM, editors. 2007. Evolution of Nervous Systems, Vol. 4: The Evolution of Primate Nervous Systems. Oxford: Elsevier.

    Preuss, T.M., editor (2000) The Diversity of Mammalian Cortical Organization. Special symposium edition. Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 55: 279-348. (Also published as separatum by Karger, Basel).