BiographyDr. McDonald received her B.S. in Psychology from Eckerd College and her Ph.D. in Clinical and Health Psychology from the University of Florida, with a specialization in neuropsychology. She completed a predoctoral internship in clinical neuropsychology at UCSD and the V.A. San Diego Healthcare System. She completed pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships awarded by the Epilepsy Foundation/American Epilepsy Society, as well as the UCSD Fellowship in Biological Psychiatry and Neuroscience. She joined the UCSD faculty in 2006, funded by a Career Development Award (K-23) from NINDS. She is currently the Principal Investigator on an R01 from NINDS to study preoperative predictors of postoperative language decline in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. She is a member of the UCSD Multimodal Imaging Laboratory and the UCSD Epilepsy Center.
Research InterestsDr. McDonald’s research focuses on understanding neuropsychological deficits in patients with intractable epilepsy before and after surgical resection of the epileptic focus. Her research uses advanced structural, diffusion, and functional neuroimaging to explore the localization of language and memory processing in patients with epilepsy, with the goal of determining the best predictors of postsurgical outcome. Her research goals are aligned with the clinical goal of developing and implementing new cognitive/imaging paradigms for clinical use. She is also involved in neuroimaging and neuropsychological research in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment, as well as research examining the application of new, advanced diffusion methods for the detection and monitoring of brain tumors in patients with high-grade gliomas and cerebral metastases.
Clinical FocusDr. McDonald is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist and a member of UCSD Neuropsychological Associates and the UCSD Translational Brain Tumor Assessment Clinic. She evaluates adults with a range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including epilepsy, brain tumors, head injury, dementia, and other disorders of aging.