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School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences - The University of Texas at Dallas

Kristen Kennedy


Kristen Kennedy

Assistant Professor

PhD, Wayne State University

Healthy Aging of Brain Structure, Function and Cognition


VP 815a, JO 3.308

972-883-3739 phone email


Kennedy Neuroimaging of Aging and Cognition (KNAC) Lab website
















About Kristen Kennedy


Dr. Kennedy received her BA in psychology from Hendrix College, her MS in clinical psychology from Emporia State University in Kansas, and her PhD in psychology from Wayne State University in Michigan.


As a postdoctoral fellow in 2010, Dr. Kennedy received a prestigious Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute on Aging, a highly competitive 5-year career-development grant given to only a handful of recipients each year. Her dissertation work was recognized by a Dissertation Research Award by the American Psychological Association. Most recently, she was named a Young Research Fellow by the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, one of only two young scientists to receive the honor in 2012, and in 2013 was named a "Rising Star" by the American Psychological Society.


Research Interests


Numerous factors influence the aging of the brain and in part determine how well we are able to age cognitively. I am interested in the neural, genetic and lifestyle factors that guide this process. My research uses structural and functional neuroimaging techniques to investigate how the health of our brain's structure supports the brain's function and how these impact our cognitive performance as we age.


Dr. Kennedy's current research project involves investigating the role of white matter in the reorganization of age-related brain function using structural and functional imaging techniques. I am interested in understanding how the brain changes with age, both adaptively, and detrimentally, and how this knowledge might be used to stave off cognitive decline.


Recent Publications


Kennedy, K. M., Reese, E., Horn, M., Sizemore, A., Unni, A., Meerbrey, M., Kalich, A., Rodrigue, K. M. (in press). BDNF val66met Polymorphism Affects Aging of Multiple Types of Memory. Brain Research, Special Issue on Memory and Aging,


Kennedy, K. M., Rodrigue, K. M., Bischof, G. N., Hebrank, A. C., Reuter-Lorenz, P. A., Park, D. C. (in press). Lifespan Age Trajectory Differences in Functional Brain Activation Under Conditions of Low and High Processing Demands. Neuroimage.


Kennedy, K. M., Rodrigue, K.M., Devous, M.D., Sr., Hebrank, A.C., Bischof, G. N., & Park, D.C. (2012). Effects of beta-amyloid accumulation on neural function during encoding across the adult lifespan. NeuroImage, 62, 1-8.


Rodrigue, K. M. & Kennedy, K. M. (2011). The cognitive consequences of structural changes to the aging brain. In K. W. Schaie, S. L. Willis (Eds.) Handbook of the Psychology of Aging, 7th ed., Ch 5, 73-92, New York: Elsevier.


Kennedy, K.M. & Raz, N. (2009). Aging White Matter and Cognition: Differential Effects of Regional Variations in Diffusion Properties on Memory, Executive Functions, and Speed. Neuropsychologia, 47(3), 916-927.