Dr. Kristen Willeumier, Neuroscientist

“The good news is we now have scientific proof that we can indeed do things to improve our brain health.”

Dr. Kristen Willeumier

Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D., a neuroscientist with research expertise in neurobiology and neuroimaging, shared the story behind her title with us on June 14, 2023.

Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist with research expertise in neurobiology and neuroimaging. Dr. Willeumier holds a B.A. degree in Psychology from Boston College, an M.S. degree in Physiological Science from the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences and an M.S. and Ph.D. degree in Neurobiology from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She conducted her graduate work in the neurophysiology laboratory under Dr. Felix Schweitzer at UCLA and the neurogenetics laboratory under Dr. Stephan Pulst at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center using optical imaging tools to investigate synaptic vesicle recycling and the role of protein ubiquitination in regulating this process.

Her focus was on parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase encoded by PARK2, a gene implicated in autosomal recessive juvenile parkinsonism. She was a postdoctoral scientist in the Department of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where she continued her work focused on the genetic analysis of neurological disorders. In recognition of her research at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, she was the recipient of a National Research Service Award Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health. She has presented her work at national and international scientific meetings including the Society for Neuroscience and the Gordon Research Conference in Hong Kong, China.

From 2009-2016, Dr. Willeumier served as the Director of Neuroimaging Research for the Amen Clinics, where she led the efforts in utilizing imaging technologies to understand the neurobiological signatures underlying psychiatric disorders. In this capacity, she oversaw many pioneering studies, including a clinical research trial investigating the long-term effects of repetitive subconcussive impacts in National Football League players. Subsequent work focused on therapeutic approaches to rehabilitate brain function in athletes with mild traumatic brain injury and the application of machine learning algorithms to neuroimaging data to improve the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Dr. Willeumier is widely published in peer-reviewed medical journals including The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Nature Translational Psychiatry, The Journal of Neuroscience, and The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Areas of published research include mild traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, autism, neuroimaging biomarkers predictive of suicide, functional neuroimaging in obesity, sex differences in brain function, neuroimaging of nutraceutical interventions, treatment outcomes in psychiatry and brain rehabilitation.

Dr. Willeumier currently holds a position on the Scientific Advisory Board of Tate Technology, LLC, a Los Angeles based sports safety and technology licensing company and Simplr Health in Sydney NSW Australia. She has previously served as a Scientific Advisor to the Addiction Medicine Institute in Newport Beach, CA, and the Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Wellness Clinic Center for Neuroscience in Bangkok, Thailand.

Dr. Willeumier is a leading advocate for brain health and wellness and a frequent contributor to top media outlets. She has been featured on Radio MD with Your Brain Health with Dr. Kristen Willeumier and the Salem Radio Network with Here’s To Your Health. She has appeared on Good Morning America (GMA3), Good Day LA KTTV-TV FOX Los Angeles, Good Day NY WNYW-TV FOX New York, FOX 32 Chicago, KMIR-TV NBC Palm Springs, KING5-TV CBS Seattle, KDVR-TV FOX Denver, WATN-TV ABC Memphis, WSFA-TV NBC Montgomery, KSWQ-TV FOX San Diego, Signal Boost with Zerlina Maxwell, Salem Radio, Coast-to-Coast, The Michael Savage Show, and on-line/print magazines including Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Shape, Science Times, Yahoo News, PopSugar, Niki Swift, HelloGiggles, mindbodygreen, Well+Good, Verywell Health and Psychology Today. She is the author of the new book Biohack Your Brain: How to Boost Cognitive Health, Performance & Power, published by the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins.

SUE SAYS

From a young age Kristen found herself interested in the workings of the brain, from small creatures the size of bugs to eventually pro-athletes who suffered from repetitive head trauma.  What she is most excited about is what her research has proven.  We can improve our brain health!

Listen to our interview with Kristen below, on your favorite podcasting app, or watch on 6abc.com!

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