Christina E. Wierenga, Ph.D.
Assistant Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry
Email Address:
Telephone #: (858) 552-8585 ext. 2579
FAX #: (858) 642-1218


Dr. Wierenga received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in neuropsychology from the University of Florida (2005) and completed a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCSD from 2005 to 2007. Currently she is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD and a Research Psychologist at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

Research Focus

Dr. Wierenga’s research focuses on brain functioning in healthy aging and older adults at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD), using functional MRI, arterial spin labeling, and neuropsychological testing. Specifically, she uses innovative functional neuroimaging methods to examine brain changes underlying language and memory in adults with dementia, mild cognitive impairment and those at increased genetic risk for AD with the goal of improving early detection of AD. She also studies the relationship between cerebral blood flow and neural activity to understand neurovascular changes in aging and disease. Her current research is funded primarily by a VA Career Development Award.

Clinical Focus

Dr. Wierenga is a licensed Clinical Psychologist by the State of California and is a member of UCSD’s Neuropsychological Associates. She conducts clinical neuropsychological evaluations of adults with a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Selected Publications

  • Wierenga, C.E., Maher, L.M., B., Moore, A.B., White, K.D., McGregor, K., Soltysik, D.A., Peck, K.K., Gopinath, K., Singletary, F., Rothi, L.J.G., Briggs, R.W., & Crosson, B. (2006). Neural substrates of syntactic mapping treatment: An fMRI study of two cases. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 12, 132-146.

  • Bangen, K.J., Restom, K., Liu, T.T., Jak, A.J., Wierenga, C.E., Salmon, D.P., Bondi, M.W. (2007). Differential age effects on cerebral blood flow and BOLD response to encoding: Associations with cognition and stroke risk. Neurobiology of Aging. [Epub ahead of print].

  • Wierenga, C.E., Bondi, M.W. (2007). Use of functional magnetic resonance imaging in early identification of Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychology Review, 17,127-143.

  • Wierenga, C.E., Benjamin, M., Gopinath, K., Perlstein, W.M., Leonard, C., Gonzalez Rothi, L.J., Conway, T., Cato, M.A., Briggs, R., & Crosson, B. (2008). Age-related changes in word retrieval: Role of bilateral frontal and subcortical networks. Neurobiology of Aging, 29, 436-451.

  • Wierenga, C.E., Perlstein, W.M., Benjamin, M., Leonard, C., Gonzalez Rothi, L., Conway, T., Cato, M.A., Gopinath, K., Briggs, R., Crosson, B. (2009). Neural substrates of object identification: fMRI evidence that category and visual attribute contribute to semantic knowledge. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 15, 169-181.


University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0603 La Jolla, CA 92037-0603
Telephone: (858) 534-3684, Fax: (858) 534-7653, Electronic Mail: