Maria Angela Franceschini, PhD, is widely recognized as a leader in the field of diffuse optical imaging in both neuroscience and clinical neuro-monitoring applications. Her research interests lie mainly in the development of novel optical imaging methods to achieve a deeper understanding of the brain and to impact the clinical management of patients, with a specific focus on investigating and quantifying oxygen delivery to and consumption by the brain in health and disease. Her activities are centered on non-invasive optical measurements in humans, from hardware and theoretical development to translational applications. Her research is intrinsically interdisciplinary and translational.

Dr. Franceschini’s broad vision and mission center on the translation of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) imaging devices to general use as monitors of brain health and function. This can be achieved by pushing the development of more sophisticated, accurate and comprehensive devices, by refining the modeling of the measured signal to quantifiable biomarkers and by applying the novel tools in a wide range of applications with pilot, pivotal and clinical studies. She firmly believes in the impact that optical methods will have on advancing our understanding of how the brain works in health and disease. In particular, advanced NIRS tools have the potential to change patient management when used as bedside monitors, to provide a concrete measure of brain development in children in seconds by quantifying regional oxygen metabolism, and to assess adequacy of cerebral perfusion in astronauts in space by monitoring hypertension and intracranial pressure.


PhD in Physics, University of Florence, Italy

Select Publications

1. Roche-Labarbe N, Fenoglio A, Radhakrishnan H, Kocienski-Filip M, Carp SA, Dubb J, Boas DA, Grant PE, Franceschini MA. Somatosensory evoked changes in cerebral oxygen consumption measured non-invasively in premature neonates. Neuroimage. 2014 Jan 15;85 Pt 1:279-86.

2. Sutin J, Zimmerman B, Tyulmankov D, Tamborini D, Wu KC, Selb J, Gulinatti A, Rech I, Tosi A, Boas DA, Franceschini MA. Time-domain diffuse correlation spectroscopy. Optica. 2016 Sep;3(9):1006-1013.

3. Roberts SB, Franceschini MA, Krauss A, Lin PY, de Sa AB, Có R, Taylor S, Brown C, Chen O, Johnson EJ, Pruzensky W, Schlossman N, Balé C, Wu KT, Hagan K, Saltzman E, Muentener P. A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of a New Supplementary Food Designed to Enhance Cognitive Performance during Prevention and Treatment of Malnutrition in Childhood. Curr Dev Nutr. 2017 Nov;1(11). pii: e000885.


President Elect of the Society for Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

Fellow of AIMBE and OSA

Distinguished Investigator, Academy of Radiology Research

Over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, H-Index 57, over 15 patents


Optics @ Martinos