Welcome To The Lab!

Denise Head, Assistant Professor (Ph.D., University of Memphis, 2001) conducts research on the neural basis of cognitive aging. Her research uses behavioral testing and both structural and functional neuroimaging in healthy and pathological aging (e.g. dementia of the Alzheimer type) populations.

The broad focus of Dr. Head's research program is the exploration of the constellation of the age-related brain changes and their relations with cognition. There are three primary threads within this overarching theme. For one line of research, the focus is on characterizing the nature of aging effects on the brain and accompanying cognitive changes with both normal and pathological aging examined. Examples include delineating the component processes that contribute to age-related deficits in spatial navigation and exploring the pattern and course of brain changes in frontotemporal dementia. The second major concentration involves examination of moderators and mediators of brain and cognitive aging, including such factors as cardiovascular health, exercise, lifetime stress and personality traits. The third major component of my research program entails investigation of the efficacy of intervention and training. In this area, the research focuses on aerobic exercise and cognitive training. The underlying objective of all these research lines is to gain a greater understanding of the neural underpinnings of cognitive aging, the contributing factors and effective interventions.