The main research goal of Jennifer Whitwell, Ph.D., is to use neuroimaging to increase understanding of how the brain changes in patients with a range of different neurodegenerative diseases, particularly frontotemporal dementia, progressive supranuclear palsy, apraxia of speech, primary progressive aphasia and atypical presentations of Alzheimer's disease. She utilizes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans to assess structural and functional changes in the brain and determine how these changes are related to clinical symptoms and disease progression. Dr. Whitwell's research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer's Association.
- Microbleeds in atypical Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Whitwell is leading an investigation of associations between the presence of microbleeds and other clinical and imaging features in patients with clinically defined atypical Alzheimer's disease.
- Neuroimaging in pathological variants of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Whitwell leads a project assessing imaging correlates of pathologically defined typical and atypical variants of Alzheimer's disease.
- Neuroimaging biomarkers in progressive supranuclear palsy. Dr. Whitwell works in collaboration with Keith A. Josephs, M.D., assessing patterns of atrophy and progression of atrophy over time in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy.
- Neuroimaging in speech and language disorders. Also in collaboration with Dr. Josephs, Dr. Whitwell is assessing imaging correlates of apraxia of speech and primary progressive aphasia.
Significance to patient care
Neuroimaging biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases will assist in early diagnosis and prediction of future progression and will be essential to the development of future treatments.
- Editorial board member, Scientific Reports journal, Nature Publishing Group, 2014-present
- Academic editor, PeerJ journal, 2012-present
- Junior Investigator Award for Excellence in Imaging and Aging Research, American Federation for Aging Research-GE Healthcare, 2010
- Best Paper in Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging: New Investigator Award, Alzheimer's Association, 2009