Tricia Z. King, Ph.D.

Phone: 404-413-6279
Location: Urban Life Building, Room 1122
Professor, Psychology
Associate Member,  Neuroscience Institute
Education: Ph.D., University of Florida, 2000
Specialization: Clinical Neuropsychology


Dr. King was interviewed about her program of research for Georgia State University Research Magazine. Read the full interview by clicking here.

Research Interests in Optimizing Outcomes

I am a developmental clinical neuropsychologist who studies brain-behavior relationships in adults and children with acquired neurological disorders during early life (i.e., brain tumors, congenital heart disease, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and rare genetic disorders). My research requires collaborative team science as we develop innovative methodologies using rapidly advancing technologies, methods, and analyses. Building on this complementary rich comprehensive neuroimaging and neuropsychological research, plus our evidence of significant heterogeneity of outcomes within tumor subtypes, I began to expand my research to examine the genetic diatheses that may predispose individuals to more severe impairments while others have only mild difficulties that cannot be explained by disease characteristics (e.g., molecular subtype of tumor, age at chemoradiation). In order to advance the implementation of personalized medicine, I employ a biopsychosocial approach to understand, target, and improve cognitive and functional adaptive outcomes. I direct a program of research that informs precision medicine advances that optimize long-term outcomes and increase independence across the lifespan.

More specifically, some pediatric brain tumor survivors experience more severe impairments following lifesaving neurotoxic treatments (e.g., radiation and/or chemotherapy), while others with similar disease characteristics (e.g., molecular subtype of tumor, radiation dose, chemotherapy protocol, age at treatment) are thriving. In an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Tobey McDonald, we examine targeted single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with chemoradiation-induced cognitive toxicities in childhood survivors of medulloblastoma and pediatric low-grade gliomas. In addition to the biologic factors, there is a significant need to identify socioeconomic contextual factors that are contributing to survivorship cognitive difficulties.

  1. We lead a multisite NIH National Cancer Institute funded project with our collaborators at Emory/Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in Atlanta, GA, University of Alabama, Birmingham, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, OH. This study examines the contributions of multifactorial socioeconomic context, clinical factors, and clinically relevant candidate SNPs using gene and RNA sequencing to cognitive outcomes. Read more about the study here.
  2. Our team has expanded our program of research to examine socioeconomic and clinical contextual factors simultaneously with candidate SNPs in survivors of pediatric low-grade glioma, the most common childhood brain cancer. These include individuals with diagnosed with midline juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma tumor treated with chemotherapy. We currently lead this multisite collaboration with Children’s National Health System in DC that is funded by the PLGA Fund at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

By integrating these unique and complementary data, our team science will accelerate advancements in individualized precision medicine of the future, resulting in greater prognostic abilities and enhanced interventions to mitigate neurotoxicities and enable survivors to thrive. Consistent with the STAR Act of 2018 and the Precision Medicine Initiative, our research will allow for early identification of individuals at risk for cognitive impairment, inform the development of risk-adapted chemotherapy and radiation regimens, and reduce cognitive impairment. Furthermore, it will provide individualized targets for cognitive and lifestyle interventions and help to mechanistically develop drugs designed to prevent, mitigate, and manage the severity of late effects. Such progress will optimize childhood brain tumor survivors’ cognitive abilities and adaptive outcomes and improve their overall health-related quality of life. These data also will guide the development of interventions to mitigate the severity of late effects and to optimize adaptive outcomes across the lifespan.

All of these rewarding collaborations build upon my interests of optimizing outcomes of individuals with neurodevelopmental conditions across the lifespan.

See Dr. King speak about her research at the GSU Women Inspire Lecture Series: