School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Denise C. Park

Director of Research, Center for Vital Longevity
Distinguished University Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences
UT Regents’ Research Scholar

Research Interests

Cognitive neuroscience of aging; preclinical Alzheimer’s disease; effect of an engaged lifestyle on cognition; cultural neuroscience

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Denise Park is one of the leading researchers in the area of the cognitive neuroscience of aging. She focuses her efforts on the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study and the impact of mentally-challenging engagement on cognition in elderly. She also has a large body of work on cultural neuroscience. Dr. Park’s Dallas Lifespan Brain Study focuses on understanding the neural footprint associated with both cognitive vitality and transitions to decline using amyloid and tau imaging, functional and structural MRI, and a cognitive and psychosocial battery. In her previous research Dr. Park developed the Scaffolding Theory of Aging and Cognition, which led to work on amyloid imaging in healthy adults. She conducted intervention research on the Synapse Project and pioneered some of the earliest work on cultural neuroscience. Some of Dr. Park’s recognition includes 2006-2015 NIH MERIT Award, “Neuroimaging dedifferentiation in the aging mind”; 2008 “2008 Best Article Award” presented from the Journal of Consumer Research; 2015 Distinguished Mentor Award in Psychology of Aging, Division 20, Adult Development and Aging, American Psychological Association. Dr. Park received her bachelor’s degree from Albion College and her PhD from the State University of New York at Albany.


Recent and Selected Representative Publications

Book Chapters

Park, D.C. & Bischof, G.N. (2011). Neuroplasticity, aging, and cognitive function. In K.W. Schaie & S.L. Willis (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Lodi-Smith, J., & Park, D.C. (2011). Synapse: A clinical trial examining the impact of actively engaging the aging mind. In P.E. Hartman-Stein and A. La Rue (Eds.), Enhancing cognitive fitness in adults: A guide to the use and development of community-based programs (pp. 67-83). New York, N.Y.: Springer.

Meade, M.L., & Park, D.P. (2009). Enhancing cognitive function in older adults. In W. Chodzko-Kajko & A.F. Kramer (Eds.), Enhancing cognitive and brain plasticity in older adults. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

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