Profile of a Pathology Faculty Member

Pathology Faculty Photo

Todd M Preuss, PhD


Associate Professor
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

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/Most Recent Publications:

Click here to view all 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

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).