Katherine Rankin, PhD

Professor of Neurology
Program Lead: Neuroscience
Committee Members

Dr. Kate Rankin is a professor in the UCSF Department of Neurology who specializes in the neuropsychological, neuroanatomic, and genetic underpinnings of human socioemotional behavior in healthy aging and neurodegenerative disease. She studied psychology at Yale for her undergraduate work and received graduate degrees from Fuller School of Psychology in Pasadena, including her PhD degree in clinical psychology and a master’s degree in theology. 

In her work at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, Dr. Rankin developed a comprehensive battery of tests to measure socioemotional functioning in cognitively impaired patients that was adopted at the national level by NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Coordinating Centers to improve diagnostic accuracy in diseases like behavioral variant frontotemporal dementiasemantic variant progressive aphasia, progressive supranuclear palsy, and corticobasal syndrome. Her research utilizes quantitative structural and functional brain image analysis to examine the neural substrates of empathy, theory of mind, personality, and the comprehension of social signals for sarcasm and deception. 

She also has led the data/biostatistics and bioinformatics cores of a number of center grants and privately funded research consortia and specializes in the development of strategies for aggregating cross-disciplinary data across labs and institutions to facilitate scientific collaboration. Additionally, she is a leader in the UCSF-wide Precision Medicine Knowledge Network Initiative and advises on a number of UCSF committees and boards promoting digital health and the allocation of computational resources towards improving research and clinical care.