The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville

The Department of Medicine

Roberto Fernandez-Romero, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor
Division of Neurology

Research Focus

Multiple research endeavors explore the role of functional connectivity and neuronal network dysfunction in normal aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) and the possible links between the two conditions. The goal is to elucidate important pathophysiological mechanisms in AD and develop functional biomarkers for early detection, monitoring of disease progression and assessment of therapeutic interventions. Using the EEG technique known as "optic flow event related potentials" (OF-ERPs), significant abnormalities in cortical responses have been identified that reveal separate and distinct effects in aging and AD. These cortical response differences may be markers of dysfunction in posterior cortical networks that results in functional dysregulation, excitotoxic injury and propagation of disease. Dr. Fernandez plans to investigate the links between OF-ERPs and the known pathological findings of AD, namely amyloid plaque, tau neurofibrillary tangles, neurodegeneration and genetic risk factors. For this purpose, he and his colleagues will perform neuroimaging, spinal fluid analyses, genetic testing and both cognitive and behavioral assessments in patients with mild cognitive impairment, early stage AD and aged matched controls, who will be followed longitudinally with repeated measures. This novel and unique neural-systems based approach will probe the links between structure, function, and behavior to identify new therapeutic targets and also lead to the development of functional biomarkers that are objective, non-invasive and affordable.


Medical School
Escuela Autónoma de Ciencias Medicos, San José, Costa Rica, 1997

Neurology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, 2011
Internal Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, 2007


Behavioral Neurology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 2012

Professional Affiliations

Colegio de Medicos y Cirujanos de Costa Rica
American Academy of Neurology
International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment
International Society for Frontotemporal Dementias-Founding Member
American Neurological Association
Gerontological Society of America Top

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