Jessica L. Wisnowski, PhD

Assistant Professor of Research Radiology and Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Dr. Jessica Lee Wisnowski is an Assistant Professor of Research with expertise in perinatal brain injury. She obtained a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Iowa and completed a residency in Neuropsychology/Rehabilitation at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. She completed post-graduate training in Neuroscience and Neuroimaging at the University of Southern California/Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research, the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and the Society for Pediatric Radiology.

Dr. Wisnowski’s research focuses on the development and application of novel neuroimaging biomarkers to aid in the diagnosis of perinatal brain injury and the management of neuroprotective therapies. She has numerous peer-reviewed publications in the fields of Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), Bilirubin Encephalopathy, Kernicterus, Prematurity, and normal brain development. She is also the author of several book chapters describing the methods and application of neuroimaging techniques, including Diffusion Tensor Imaging and MR Spectroscopy of the neonatal brain. She is currently Chairwoman of the Neuroimaging Core for a NIH-funded, multi-center trial for erythropoietin neuroprotection in neonates with HIE.

Clinical Interests

Neuroprotection, Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), Bilirubin Encephalopathy, Kernicterus, Neonatal Stroke, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), Prematurity 


Graduate School

University of Iowa


VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System & University of Michigan


Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center


University of Southern California and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


Professional Memberships

Perinatal Research Society
Society for Pediatric Research
International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
Society for Pediatric Radiology


Young Investigator Travel Award, Hershey Conference on Developmental Brain Injury, 2012
Scientist Investigator Award, Hershey Conference on Developmental Brain Injury, 2018
Research Career Development Award 2018-2020, The Saban Research Institute, CHLA


Cerebral Lactate Concentration in Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy: In Relation to Time, Characteristic of Injury, and Serum Lactate Concentration. Wu T-W, Tamrazi B, Hsu K-H, Ho E, Reitman AJ, Borzage M, Bluml S, Wisnowski JL. Front Neurol, 9: 293, 2018. doi:  10.3389/fneur.2018.00293.

The effects of therapeutic hypothermia in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy: an in vivo 1H-MR Spectroscopy study.  Wisnowski JL, Wu T-W, Reitman A, McLean C, Friedlich P, Vanderbilt D, Ho E, Nelson MD, Panigrahy A, Bluml S. The Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 36(6): 1075-1086, 2016.

Abnormalities on MRI in advanced acute bilirubin encephalopathy highlight dentate-thalamo-cortical pathways. Wisnowski JL, Panigrahy A, Painter MJ, Watchko JF.  The Journal of Pediatrics, 174:260-263, 2016.

Altered Glutamatergic Metabolism Associated with Punctate White Matter Lesions In Preterm Infants. Wisnowski JL, Blüml S, Paquette L, Zelinski E, Nelson MD, Painter MJ, Damasio H, Panigrahy A. PLoS One. 2013;8(2): e56880.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056880.

Metabolic maturation of the human brain birth through adolescence: Insights from in vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Blüml SB, Wisnowski JL, Nelson MD, Paquette L, Gilles F, Kinney HC, Panigrahy A. Cerebral Cortex. 23(12):2944-2955, 2013. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhs283.  PMID: 22952278. PMCID: PMC3888212.


Dr. Wisnowski’s overarching aim is to improve long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes for at-risk newborns by developing methods to accelerate the translation of neuroprotective therapies from the bench to the bedside. More than two dozen therapies have shown potential in the laboratory for neuroprotection. However, using existing methods, testing each one in large-scale clinical trials will require decades. To accelerate the development of these vital therapies, Dr. Wisnowski has focused on developing novel neuroimaging biomarkers. Using non-invasive MRI methods such as MR Spectroscopy (MRS) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), Dr. Wisnowski developed novel biomarkers that not only mirror the histological methods used in clinical trials but also directly relate to patient outcomes. She is now working together with neonatologists and neuroradiologists to incorporate these biomarkers into the latest clinical trials, and ultimately the NICCU.

Current Funding

Co-Investigator, High-dose Erythropoietin for Asphyxia and Encephalopathy Trial (NCT02811263)
Co-Investigator, Prognostication Biomarkers in Pediatric Cardiac Arrest (NCT02769026)
Research Career Development Award, The Saban Research Institute at CHLA, 2018-2020

Current Research Studies

  1. High-dose Erythropoietin for Asphyxia and Encephalopathy Trial (NCT02811263)
  2. Prognostication Biomarkers in Pediatric Cardiac Arrest (NCT02769026)
  3. Lipids as biological markers of brain injury and treatment response in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
  4. Neurodevelopmental outcomes following Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)