Alexandre R. Franco, PhD

Research Scientist

Child Mind Institute

Alexandre R. Franco, PhD, is a research scientist at the Child Mind Institute. With a strong signal processing background, he brings extensive knowledge of MRI image processing and analysis methods to support several research initiatives. Through functional and structural neuroimaging, he aims to create novel techniques to understand how mental illnesses affect neurodevelopment. He also assists clinical researchers with computational and statistical methods.

Dr. Franco was a pioneer in neuroimaging in southern Brazil, where he built a neuroinformatics laboratory. His lab was responsible for processing and analyzing the images of all MRI studies at the Brain Institute of Rio Grande do Sul. This generated a wide network of collaboration, which lead Dr. Franco to study a variety of neurological and psychiatric illnesses, including  multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dyslexia, microcephaly (caused by Zika virus), ,and ADHD, as well as conditions  such as use of crack cocaine, excessive use of social media, biological effects on children in violent communities, and adolescent obesity.

Dr. Franco was also a pioneer in teaching researchers in Brazil how to conduct neuroimaging studies. He has led an annual hands-on fMRI course in Brazil, which is taught in partnership with the Child Mind Institute. He has mentored 12 graduate students and over 20 undergraduate students, all on projects focused on neuroimaging.

Past Experience

  • Associate Professor, School of Technology and School of Medicine, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Coordinator of Neuroinformatics and Image Post-Processing, Brain Institute of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Training 

  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, School of Medicine at Emory University
  • Research Assistant, The Mind Research Network, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Education

  • PhD, Computer Engineering, University of New Mexico