Dr. Fennema-Notestine is a cognitive neuroscientist with expertise in neuroimaging methods development and validation, clinical neuroimaging research, cognitive neuropsychology, and biomedical informatics. She received her B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in Cognitive Science and Psychology from UCSD, supported by graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation and McDonnell-Pew Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. Her post-doctoral work emphasized methods development of structural and functional neuroimaging techniques and clinical applications. Dr. Fennema-Notestine’s subsequent roles in national, multi-site initiatives, including the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN), produced critical methods evaluations and improved infrastructure for multi-site neuroimaging, which led to the development of large datasets and advances in our understanding of phenotypes associated with aging, and risk and progression of disorders including Alzheimer's disease and HIV infection. She served as the Director of the BIRN Data Repository and continues to play a role in national initiatives that enable data sharing and integration. Currently, Dr. Fennema-Notestine leads methods development, validation, and multi-site studies in support of the neuroimaging characterization of HIV infection, aging, substance use, and psychiatric disorders through NIH funded initiatives.
Dr. Fennema-Notestine’s research emphasizes development and validation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods and the clinical application of these methods to neurodegenerative and psychiatric populations, including normal aging, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), HIV infection, risk-immersed youth, substance use, and eating disorders. Currently, she co-directs an exploration of the influence of cannabis use and cumulative adversity exposure on the brain in young adults, both with and without HIV, to examine underlying immune and inflammatory mechanisms of action. She leads the neuroimaging aspects of several projects, including a clinical trial to improve cognition through reduction in bad fat and associated inflammation in older people with HIV; and an ongoing study to identify methamphetamine and HIV-associated biomarker signatures of CNS injury and resilience. She plays a key collaborative role in neuroimaging studies of aging, exploring environmental and genetic contributions to brain changes and cognition, risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and profiles of resilience in aging and dementia. She continues to provide expertise for the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center and for studies related to the CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER) programs as well. Her collaborative technical work emphasizes development of improved image processing approaches and sequences, and she is as an Affiliated Faculty Member and member of the Strategic Planning Committee for the UCSD Center for Functional MRI (CFMRI). Research in these programs involves morphological, diffusion, proton MR spectroscopy, arterial spin labeling, and blood brain barrier imaging, with associated studies in cognition, immune recovery, and biomarkers of inflammation. Dr. Fennema-Notestine’s work aims to provide a more sensitive characterization of underlying neuropathogenesis; to better understand the relationship between neuroimaging biomarkers and cognitive, psychiatric, and neuromedical profiles; and to further develop improved image processing approaches and sequence development that drive innovation and leverage new advances in imaging technologies. The end goal for such neuroimaging research is to guide the development of biomarkers for establishing diagnosis, monitoring treatment efficacy, and predicting risk for future impairment, through better descriptions of disease-related brain abnormalities and their relationship to medical variables, cognition, and treatment regimens.