Neuropsychology researcher Jiwandeep Kohli loves making fancy pies

Jiwandeep Kohli – Photo: San Diego Union Tribune

So, what is a neuroscientist in training who authored a paper on “Cerebral Gyrification and Cortical Architecture in Autism Spectrum Disorders” doing in London making pistachio chocolate lemon meringue eclairs on a baking show?

Neuropsychology researcher Jiwandeep Kohli, who is pursuing a joint San Diego State-UC San Diego clinical psychology doctoral degree, believes hobbies should be pursued with the same passion as one’s career.

When he started helping his mom make richly flavored Indian-Punjabi food, he was so young he had to stand on a kitchen stool to reach the countertop. In college, though, Kohli turned to baking, launching his pastry adventures with a fruit tart.

The Mission Valley resident was first contacted about entering a televised baking competition last March. Three years earlier, “The Great British Bake Off” had branched out to produce a U.S. version, “The Great American Baking Show,” which targets baking hobbyists, not professional cooks.

“A casting agent for the show stumbled across my Instagram photos and got in touch with me,” Kohli explained. He was hesitant. He had never imagined baking in front of a national TV audience. In the end, he says, “My friends and family convinced me to do it.”

Outside the kitchen, Kohli’s neuroimaging analyzes the anatomy of the brain, its shape, microstructure and folding patterns. His goal is to aid in earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and identify subgroups to enable targeted intervention. He is now turning his research attention to adults with ASD, a group that has been largely neglected.

Kohli, who wears outfit-coordinated turbans rather than a chef’s toque, gravitated toward cooking because “a love of food and sharing food is one of easiest and strongest ways to connect with other people.” Since it’s his hobby, the only way others can sample Kohli’s culinary creations is to become a friend, he laughs.

Read the full story, When not analyzing brain scans, one San Diego neuropsychology researcher makes fancy pies ( San Diego Union Tribune, 13 Dec 2018), here