Current Work

Francesca is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on identifying risk factors and early biomarkers of dementia. She also works with various patient and community advocacy groups on creative engagement initiatives that promote lifelong well-being. 

Personal Hero

Constance Markievicz

Words of Strength

Making connections


To prevent dementia, Francesca believes we need to promote better understanding and awareness of risk and protective factors early in the life course, particularly in young adults. We also need to amplify the voices of people living with a diagnosis and their care partners to reduce fear and stigma surrounding dementia. 


Francesca uses mixed methods research, including cognitive testing, neuroimaging, and qualitative interviewing, in community-based and patient populations, including people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. She also organizes community outreach projects to promote better understanding of brain health.


Francesca is excited to be part of the global community of Atlantic Fellows to gain diverse perspectives of brain health and dementia from across the world. She hopes that her work will support dementia prevention, and ultimately, foster more inclusive and age-friendly societies. 


Francesca works towards a future where everyone can easily access the resources needed to promote healthy brain aging, and where people living with dementia are empowered and supported. 

Education & Experience

Francesca received her PhD in neuroscience from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, in 2016. She completed post-doctoral training at the School of Psychology, University College Dublin, and the Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, before joining the Global Brain Health Institute in 2020. She is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago

In addition to research, Francesca is passionate about cross-disciplinary collaboration between the arts and sciences. In 2018, she co-authored a popular science book, Why Science Needs Art (Routledge, UK).

University of Chicago
Research Assistant Professor
Global Brain Health Institute
Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health
National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Behavioral Neuroscience
National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Awards & Honors

Alzheimer’s Association
International Research Fellowship
Global Brain Health Institute
Pilot Award for Global Brain Health Leaders
Northwestern University
Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
Pilot Research Award
Irish Research Council
in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland
Engaging Civic Society Award
Irish Research Council
Enterprise Postdoctoral Fellowship



Near FM

Voyage Around My Brain: Sarah Fox, Susanne Roehr, Berenice Werle and Francesca Farina

What is Brain Health?

November 2, 2020
Near FM

Voyage Around My Brain: John Gore-Grimes, Kate Byrne and Francesca Farina

Living with Dementia

September 14, 2020



 a Note

Have ideas for global brain health or a collaboration? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send an introductory note.