A photo of Mark DiFrancesco.

Assistant Director, Pediatric Neuroimaging Research Consortium

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Radiology


Biography & Affiliation


I’m a physicist and neuroimaging researcher in the Imaging Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s. I study the brain using advanced imaging methods, including structural, functional and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). I’m also interested in lung structure, lung perfusion and methods of studying brain perfusion and microstructural and microvascular integrity.

After completing my PhD training in 1989, I spent 15 years in the medical device industry. I joined Cincinnati Children’s as a neuroimaging researcher in 2004. Since then, I’ve contributed to clinical and basic research by applying my skills as a physicist and brain researcher to multidisciplinary projects that require collaboration from a variety of clinical investigators.

Together, we’re working to understand the mechanisms of disease and other conditions that may contribute to neurodegeneration and cognitive dysfunction. We also seek to characterize common underlying processes of brain disease, such as neuroinflammation.

Academic Affiliation

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Radiology

Research Divisions



PhD: Physics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1989.

MS: Physics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1985.

BS: Physics, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, 1981.


Association of Orthostatic Hypotension With Cerebral Atrophy in Patients With Lewy Body Disorders. Pilotto, A; Romagnolo, A; Scalvini, A; Masellis, M; Shimo, Y; Bonanni, L; Camicioli, R; Wang, LL; Dwivedi, AK; Longardner, K; et al. Neurology. 2021.

Neuronal activation and performance changes in working memory induced by chronic sleep restriction in adolescents. Alsameen, M; DiFrancesco, MW; Drummond, SP A; Franzen, PL; Beebe, DW. Journal of Sleep Research. 2021.

Cerebral microvascular and microstructural integrity is regionally altered in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. DiFrancesco, MW; Lee, G; Altaye, M; Beebe, DW; Meyers-Eaton, J; Brunner, HI. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 2020; 22.

Correlation of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Response to Visual Food Stimuli With Clinical Measures in Adolescents With Restrictive Eating Disorders. Ziv, A; O'Donnell, JM; Ofei-Tenkorang, N; Meisman, AR; Nash, JK; Mitan, LP; DiFrancesco, M; Altaye, M; Gordon, CM. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2020; 67:209-217.

55-OR: Cerebral Blood Flow Is Lower in Youth with Type 2 Diabetes Compared with Obese Controls. REDEL, JM; DIFRANCESCO, MW; LEE, GR; DOLAN, LM; SHAH, AS. Diabetes. 2020; 69:55-or.

0331 Neurological Impact on the Reward Processing of Food Images Imposed by Mild Sleep Restriction in Adolescents. Alsameen, M; DiFrancesco, MW; St-Onge, M; Beebe, DW. Sleep. 2020; 43:a126-a126.

Network-based Responses to the Psychomotor Vigilance Task during Lapses in Adolescents after Short and Extended Sleep. DiFrancesco, MW; Van Dyk, T; Altaye, M; Drummond, SP A; Beebe, DW. Scientific Reports. 2019; 9.

Phenotype of ventilatory control in children with moderate to severe persistent asthma and obstructive sleep apnea. He, Z; Domany, KA; Nava-Guerra, L; Khoo, MC K; DiFrancesco, M; Xu, Y; McConnell, K; Hossain, MM; Amin, R. Sleep. 2019; 42.

1334-P: Structural Brain Differences between Adolescents with Type 2 Diabetes and Obese Controls. REDEL, JM; DIFRANCESCO, MW; LEE, GR; DOLAN, LM; SHAH, AS. Diabetes. 2019; 68:1334-p.

The effect of adenotonsillectomy on ventilatory control in children with obstructive sleep apnea. Domany, KA; He, Z; Nava-Guerra, L; Khoo, MC K; Xu, Y; Hossain, MM; DiFrancesco, M; McConnell, K; Amin, RS. Sleep. 2019; 42.