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.


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.

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.

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.

Differential effect of reading training on functional connectivity in It children with reading difficulties with and without ADHD comorbidity. Horowitz-Kraus, T; Hershey, A; Kay, B; DiFrancesco, M. Journal of Neurolinguistics. 2019; 49:93-108.

Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes and the Developing Brain. Redel, JM; Dolan, LM; DiFrancesco, M; Vannest, J; Shah, AS. Current Diabetes Reports. 2019; 19.

Resting-state functional connectivity of subcortical locomotor centers explains variance in walking capacity. Boyne, P; Maloney, T; DiFrancesco, M; Fox, MD; Awosika, O; Aggarwal, P; Woeste, J; Jaroch, L; Braswell, D; Vannest, J. Human Brain Mapping. 2018; 39:4831-4843.

Cardioventilatory Control in Preterm-born Children and the Risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Domany, KA; Hossain, MM; Nava-Guerra, L; Khoo, MC; McConnell, K; Carroll, JL; Xu, Y; DiFrancesco, M; Amin, RS. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2018; 197:1596-1603.

Brain gray matter volume differences in obese youth with type 2 diabetes: a pilot study. Redel, JM; DiFrancesco, M; Vannest, J; Altaye, M; Beebe, D; Khoury, J; Dolan, LM; Lee, G; Brunner, H; Holland, S; et al. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2018; 31:261-268.