Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Neuropsychiatry Section

Neuropsychiatry Section

David R. Roalf, PhD

David R. Roalf PhDI am a cognitive neuroscientist using behavioral and neuroimaging methods in the study of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. My research is motivated by the need to better understand the pathophysiology of brain dysfunction.  Specifically, my interests include the neural basis of neuropsychiatric disorders and cognitive aging, including changes in social-emotional processing, memory and decision-making.  Throughout my career, I have built an arsenal of skills in cognitive and behavioral neuroscientific methods, including psychophysical testing, EEG, structural and functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, that are useful for evaluating brain-behavior associations. The primary purpose of my research is to strengthen empirical knowledge about brain and behavior associations to better understand cognitive disturbances, particularly in neuropsychiatric and aging populations.


1997-2001  Bachelor of Science (B.S.)-Biological PsychologyThe College of William & Mary Williamsburg, Virginia

2005-2010 Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)-Behavioral NeuroscienceOregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Portland, Oregon

2010-2013  Post-doctoral Fellow Department of Psychiatry, NeuropsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Academic Positions

2013-present Research Associate, Neuropsychiatry Section University of Pennsylvania


2001      State of Virginia Governor’s Fellowship

2006-2008 NIH T32 Neuroscience of Aging Pre-doctoral Training Fellowship (PI: Janowsky)

2007      University of Michigan fMRI Training Course Fellow

2007      N.L. Tartar Research Fellowship (OHSU)

2008      University of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon Multimodal Neuroimaging Workshop Fellow

2008      OHSU Student Research Forum Best Poster

2009      University of Michigan Decision Neuroscience Training Workshop Fellow

2009      Recipient of the OHSU School of Medicine Alliance Award

2009      Recipient of OHSU Ginger Ashworth Foundation Award

2009     Portland, OR University Club Nominee-Portland Chapter

2010      OHSU Student Research Forum Best Oral Presentation

2010-2012 NIH T32 Neuropsychiatry Research Training Fellow (PI: RE Gur)

Selected Publications:

Roalf, D.R., Gur, R.C., Ruparel, K., Gerraty, R.T., Elliott, M.A., Gallagher, R.S., Almasy, L., Pogue-Geile, M.F., Prasad, K., Wood, J., Nimgaonkar, V.L., & Gur, R.E. Neurobehavioral predictors of cognitive performance across a standardized neurocognitive battery. Neuropsychology (in press).

Roalf, D.R., Gur, R.C., Almasy, L., Richard, J., Gallagher, R.S., Prasad, K., Wood, J., Pogue-Geile, M.F., Nimgaonkar, V.L., & Gur, R.E. Neurocognitive performance stability in a multiplex multigenerational study of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin (in press). PMID 22927671

Roalf, D.R., Ruparel, K., Verma, R., Elliott, M.A., Gur, R.E., & Gur, R.C. White matter organization and neurocognitive performance variability in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research. 2013 Jan;143(1): 172-8. PMCID:PMC3540127.

Roalf, D.R. Moberg, P.J., Xie, S.X., Wolk, D.A., Moelter, S.T., &  Arnold, S.E Comparative accuracies of two common screening instruments for the classification of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment and healthy aging. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 2013;9:529-537  PMID:23260866.

Roalf, D.R., Pruis T.A., Stevens, A.A. & Janowsky, J.S. More is less: Emotion induced prefrontal cortex activity habituates in aging. Neurobiology of Aging, 2011. Sep; 32(9): 1634-1650.  PMCID: PMC2891805.

Roalf, D.R., Mitchell, S.H., Harbaugh, W.T. & Janowsky, J.S. Risk, reward and economic decision-making in aging. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 2012 May;67(3): 289-98. PMCID: PMC3325085.

Satterthwaite, T.D., Wolf, Erus, G., Ruparel, K., Elliott, M.A., Gennatas, E.D., Hopson, R., Jackson, C. Prabhakaran, K., Calkins, M.E., Loughead, J., Smith, A., Roalf, D.R., Verma, R., Hakonarson, H., Davatzikos, C., Gur, R.C., & Gur, R.E. Functional maturation of the executive system during adolescence. Journal of Neuroscience (in press).

Pruis T.A., Roalf, D.R. & Janowsky, J.S. Hormone therapy does not modify emotion-induced brain activity in older women. Hormones & Behavior, 2009 Nov;56(5): 539-47. PMCID:PMC2783864

Satterthwaite, T.D., Ruparel, K., Wolf, D.H., Jackson, C., Calkins, M.E., Elliott, M.A., Roalf, D.R., Bilker, W.B., Parbhakaran, K., Davatzikos, C., Hakonarson, H., Gur, R.E., & Gur, R.C. Sexually dimorphic changes in hippocampal volume during puberty mediate recognition memory performance in adolescents. (in revision)

Roalf, D.R. Raddy Nanga, R.P., Cai, K., Ruparel, K. Elliott, M.A., Hariharan, H., Reddy, R., & Gur, R.C. Quantitative 1H-MRS of glutamate/glutamine in human amygdala at 7.0T: a preliminary study. (under review)

Cai, K., Singh, A., Roalf, D.R., Reddy Nanga, R.P., Haris, M., Hariharan, H., Gur, R.C., Reddy.R. Mapping glutamate in subcortical brain structures using high-resolution GluCEST MRI. NMR in Biomedicine, (in press). PMID 23553932

Additional publications of importance to the field (in chronological order)

Turetsky, B.I., Moberg, P.J., Roalf, D.R., Arnold, S.E., & Gur, R.E.  Decrements in Volume of Anterior Ventromedial Temporal Lobe and Olfactory Dysfunction in Schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry,  2003; 60, 1193-1200.  PMID:14662551

Moberg, P.J., Roalf, D.R., Gur, R.E., & Turetsky, B.I.  Smaller nasal volumes as stigmata of aberrant neurodevelopment in schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry,  2004; 161 (12), 2314-2316. PMID: 15569907

Moberg, P.J., Roalf, D.R., Balderston, C.C., Kanes, S.J., Gur, R.E., & Turetsky, B.I.  Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) perception in patients with schizophrenia and first-degree family members. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2005; 162 (4), 788-790. PMID:15800154.

Roalf, D.R., Lowery, N. & Turetsky, B. I.  Behavioral and Physiological Findings of Gender Differences in Global-Local Visual Processing. Brain & Cognition, 2006; 60(1), 32-42. PMID:16271817

Moberg, P.J., Arnold, S.E., Roalf, D.R., Balderston, C., Abbazia, J., Kohler, C.G., Gur, R.E., & Turetsky, B.I. Apolipoprotein E genotype and odor identification in schizophrenia. Journal of  Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 2006; 18, 231-233. PMID: 16720801.

Moberg, P.J., McGue, C., Kanes, S.J., Roalf, D.R., Balderston, C.C., Gur, R.E., Kohler, C.G., Turetsky, B.I.   Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) Perception in patients with schizophrenia and first-degree family members: Relationship to clinical symptomatology and psychophysical olfactory performance. Schizophrenia Research, 2007 Feb; 90 (1-3): 221-228. PMCID:PMC1862680

Roalf, D.R., Turetsky, B.I., Owzar, K., Balderston, C.C., Johnson, S.C., Brensinger, C.M., Gur, R.E., Siegel, S., Moberg, P.J. Unirhinal olfactory function in patients with schizophrenia and first-degree relatives. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 2006, 18, 389-396. PMID:16963589

Moberg, P.J., Arnold, S.E., Doty, R.L., Gur, R.E., Balderston, C.C., Roalf, D.R., Gur, R.C., Kohler, C.G., Kanes, S.J., Seigel, S.J., & Turetsky, B.I. Olfactory functioning in schizophrenia: Relationship to clinical, neuropsychological, and volumetric MRI measures. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 2006; 28, 1444-1461.PMID:17050269