David Gansler, PhD

Professor, Psychology

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  • PhD, State University of New York at Albany
  • BS, State University of New York at Albany

Internship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Boston University’s Aphasia Research Center/Boston VAMC; Diplomate in Clinical Neuropsychology; Licensed Psychologist, Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Specialty Areas

Clinical Neuroscience (Neuropsychology) - adult, lifespan, function and dysfunction of the frontal lobe, cognitive control, assessment of the dysexecutive syndrome, applications of neuro-imaging including imaging genetics.

My research focus can be described as a systems neuroscience approach to frontal lobe function and dysfunction. Toward that purpose my lab leverages various large secondary databases with neurocognitive, neuroimaging, family history, and genetics data (e.g, HCP, NKI-RS, PING). Specific disorders are not the focus of the lab, but the research is relevant to addiction disorders, degenerative disorders, and neuro-developmental disorders. Within the broad category of systems neuroscience of cognitive control there are several current research foci. What are the structural and functional mechanisms involved in the heredity of alcoholism? What is the nature and extent of brain-behavior relationships involved in frontal and cognitive control networks? What are the genetic mechanisms involved in individual differences in frontal lobe structure and function? What are the genetic mechanisms involved in individual differences in cognitive control?

An emphasis in the lab is on preparing students for the healthcare and scientific contexts of tomorrow by integrating neuropsychological, neuro-imaging, familial and genetics data. Populations of past interest have included alcoholism, dementia, serious mental illness, and ADHD. Research methodologies in use include neuropsychological testing, volumetry, region of interest analysis in aMRI and fMRI, and RSFC.


*Mace, R.A., *Waters, A.B., Sawyer, K.S., Turrisi, T., & Gansler, D.A. Components of Executive Functioning Predict Regional Prefrontal Volumes. (a manuscript in press at Neuropsychology).

*Pan, J.J., Sawyer, K., McDonough, E.K., “Slotpole, L., & Gansler, D.A. (2018) Cognitive, Neuroanatomical and Genetic Predictors of Executive Function in Healthy Children and Adolescents. Developmental Neuropsychology, 43 (7), 535-550.

*Waters, A.B., Sawyer, K.S., & Gansler, D.A. (2018). On the impact of interhemispheric white matter: Age, executive functioning, and dedifferentiation in the frontal lobes. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 33 (9), 1271-1279.

*Levy, Sarah A., Gansler, D.A., Huey, E.D., Wassermann, E., & Grafman, J. (2018). Assessment of patient self-awareness and related neural correlates in Frontotemporal Dementia and Corticobasal Syndrome. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 33, 519-529. doi:10.1093/arclin/acx105

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Courses Taught

  • PSYCH-706-A Assessment II
  • PSYCH-792-A Intro to Neuropsychology
  • NEUR-101-W1 Intro to Neuroscience
  • PSYCH-312-W1 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSYCH-510-E Independent Study