Skip Navigation

Xi Chen, Ph.D.

University of Texas at Dallas (2019)

Xi Chen

Office: Psychology B-220

Phone: TBD, in progress


Assistant Professor, Integrative Neuroscience

Dr. Xi Chen will be reviewing graduate student applications for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Research Interests:

Individual differences in cognitive aging; Alzheimer’s disease (AD) biomarkers; successful aging; memory; socioeconomic status and cognitive health disparities; multi-modal neuroimaging.

Current Research:

Dr. Chen’s research seeks to understand brain and cognitive changes in aging, encompassing a broad spectrum ranging from older individuals with exceptional cognition (“super-agers” or “successful agers”) to those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The primary focus of her work investigates the relationships between AD pathology, brain structure, and brain function, and their collective influence on cognitive aging. The ultimate goal is to discern and elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive deficits in normal aging and AD.

Cognitive decline is common in the aging process. Even in cognitively healthy individuals, the presence of brain pathology is not uncommon, as pathology can emerge long before the onset of the first symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases such as AD. Studying this early, incubating period and distinguishing it from general age-related changes are critical for early detection and timely interventions in irreversible diseases like AD, and are thus the main research focus of the lab.

Specifically, Dr. Chen’s lab investigates the contribution of brain structure and function, using high-resolution structural MRI and task-based and resting-state functional MRI, and AD pathology, using PET imaging and blood test, to cognitive decline. Employing a multi-modal approach and quantitative modeling techniques, the ongoing research in the lab examines neural deficits that contribute to the faster memory decline in individuals with positive AD biomarkers who are otherwise cognitively normal. Additionally, Dr. Chen’s lab also seeks to examine neurological and psychological factors that may contribute to the resistance and resilience against age-related and AD-related changes.

Recent Publications:

Chen, X., Rundle, M. M., Kennedy, K. M., Moore, W., & Park, D. C. (2022). Functional activation features of memory in successful agers across the adult lifespan. NeuroImage, 257, 119276. [Article]

Chen, X., Varghese, L., & Jagust, W. J. (2022). A Double-Edged Sword: The Role of Prior Knowledge in Memory Aging. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 14. [Article]

Zhuang, K., Chen, X., Cassady, K. E., Baker, S. L., & Jagust, W. J. (2022). Metacognition, cortical thickness, and tauopathy in aging. Neurobiology of Aging, 118, 44-54. [Article]

Hennessee, J. P., Webb, C. E., Chen, X., Kennedy, K. M., Wig, G. S., & Park, D. C. (2022). Relationship of prefrontal brain lateralization to optimal cognitive function differs with age. NeuroImage, 264, 119736. [Article]

Chen, X., Cassady, K. E., Adams, J. N., Harrison, T. M., Baker, S. L., & Jagust, W. J. (2021). Regional tau effects on prospective cognitive change in cognitively normal older adults. Journal of Neuroscience, 41(2), 366-375. [Article]

Chen, X., Farrell, M. E., Rundle, M. M., Chan, M. Y., Moore, W., Wig, G. S., & Park, D. C. (2021). The relationship of functional hippocampal activity, amyloid deposition, and longitudinal memory decline to memory complaints in cognitively healthy older adults. Neurobiology of Aging, 105, 318-326. [Article]

Cassady, K. E., Adams, J. N., Chen, X., Maass, A., Harrison, T. M., Landau, S., Baker, S., & Jagust, W. (2021). Alzheimer’s pathology is associated with dedifferentiation of intrinsic functional memory networks in aging. Cerebral Cortex, 31(10), 4781-4793. [Article]

Chen, X., Farrell, M. E., Moore, W., & Park, D. C. (2019). Actual memory as a mediator of the amyloid-subjective cognitive decline relationship. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, 11, 151-160. [Article]

Zhang, M., Chen, X., & Liu, X. L. (2019). Confidence in accuracy moderates the benefits of retrieval practice. Memory, 27(4), 548-554. [Article]

Chen, X., Zhang, M., & Liu, X. L. (2019). Retrieval practice facilitates judgments of learning through multiple mechanisms: Simultaneous and independent contribution of retrieval confidence and retrieval fluency. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 987. [Article]

Farrell, M. E., Chen, X., Rundle, M. M., Chan, M. Y., Wig, G. S., & Park, D. C. (2018). Regional amyloid accumulation and cognitive decline in initially amyloid-negative adults. Neurology, 91(19), e1809-e1821. [Article]

Peng, S. L., Chen, X., Li, Y., Rodrigue, K. M., Park, D. C., & Lu, H. (2018). Age-related changes in cerebrovascular reactivity and their relationship to cognition: a four-year longitudinal study. NeuroImage, 174, 257-262. [Article]

De Vis, J. B., Peng, S. L., Chen, X., Li, Y., Liu, P., Sur, S., Rodrigue, K. M., Park, D. C., & Lu, H. (2018). Arterial‐spin‐labeling (ASL) perfusion MRI predicts cognitive function in elderly individuals: a 4‐year longitudinal study. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 48(2), 449-458. [Article]

Song, Z., Farrell, M. E., Chen, X., & Park, D. C. (2018). Longitudinal accrual of neocortical amyloid burden is associated with microstructural changes of the fornix in cognitively normal adults. Neurobiology of Aging, 68, 114-122. [Article]

Chen, X., Hertzog, C., & Park, D. C. (2017). Cognitive predictors of everyday problem solving across the lifespan. Gerontology, 63(4), 372-384. [Article]

Farrell, M. E., Kennedy, K. M., Rodrigue, K. M., Wig, G., Bischof, G. N., Rieck, J. R., Chen, X., Festini, S. B., Devous, M. D., & Park, D. C. (2017). Association of longitudinal cognitive decline with amyloid burden in middle-aged and older adults: evidence for a dose-response relationship. JAMA Neurology, 74(7), 830-838. [Article]