Healthcare Future



Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D.


Kristen Willeumier, PhD, is a neuroscientist with research expertise in neurobiology and neuroimaging. Dr. Willeumier holds a BA degree in Psychology from Boston College, an MS degree in Physiological Science from the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences and an MS and PhD degree in Neurobiology from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  She conducted her graduate work in the laboratory of neurophysiology at UCLA and the laboratory of neurogenetics 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 in the field of neurodegenerative disease.     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 Honk Kong, China.

From 2009-2016, Dr. Willeumier served as the Director of Neuroimaging and Clinical Research for the Amen Clinics, where she led the efforts to utilize imaging techniques to understand the neurobiological basis of psychiatric disorders. In this capacity, she oversaw many pioneering studies, including a clinical research trial investigating the long-term effects of concussive and repetitive subconcussive impacts on brain function 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 is a leading advocate for brain health and is a frequent contributor to top media outlets.  She has appeared on Good Morning America, Good Day NY, Good Day LA, 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, Sirius XM Progress, Salem Radio, Coast-to-Coast radio, The Michael Savage Show and magazines including Harper’s Bazaar Saudi Arabia, Shape, Wired, Science Times and Psychology Today among others.  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.


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