Vonetta Dotson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Vonetta Dotson
Dr. Vonetta Dotson

Ph.D., 2006, University of Florida

E-mail:  vonetta@phhp.ufl.edu
Office:  (352) 273-6041

Link to PHHP Research Profile

Dr. Vonetta Dotson is an Associate Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology in the College of Public Health and Health Professions and an affiliate faculty of the Department of Neuroscience in the College of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2006 with a specialization in neuropsychology and a certificate in gerontology. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Personality and Cognition in the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program under the mentorship of Drs. Susan Resnick and Alan Zonderman.

Clinical Focus

Dr. Dotson’s clinical focus is primarily in the neuropsychological assessment of elderly patients with a variety of neurocognitive disturbances including dementia, mild cognitive impairment, movement disorders, neurocognitive sequelae of medical disorders (e.g., stroke, tumors), and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Research Focus

Dr. Dotson’s research program focuses on studying the underlying neurobiology of late-life depression and its relationship to cognitive changes and functional deficits in the elderly. Currently, work in her lab is aimed at 1) using cognitive and neuroimaging methods to examine the depressive spectrum hypothesis—whether depression is best conceptualized as a continuum, starting with subthreshold depressive symptoms and dysthymia and ending with major depression, 2) investigating whether particular symptom dimensions of depression (e.g., somatic vs. affective symptoms) have distinct cognitive and neural correlates, and 3) examining whether aerobic exercise improves memory functioning and alters memory-related brain functioning in depressed older adults.

Professional Memberships

  • American Psychological Association
  •  Society for Neuroscience
  •  International Neuropsychological Society

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Psychology
  •  Abnormal Psychology
  •  Survey of Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience
  •  Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging

Representative Pubs

McLaren, M.E., Szymkowicz, S.M., O’Shea, A., Woods, A.J., Anton, S.D., & Dotson, V.M. (2016). Symptom dimensions of subthreshold depression and cingulate volumes in older adults. Translational Psychiatry, 6, e788. doi:10.1038/tp.2016.49

Szymkowicz, S.M., McLaren, M.E., Kirton, J.W., O’Shea, A., Woods, A.J., Manini, T.M., Anton, S.D., & Dotson, V.M. (2016). Depressive symptom severity is associated with increased cortical thickness in older adults. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 31, 325–333. doi: 10.1002/gps.4324. PMCID: PMC4724336

O’Shea, D. M., De Wit, L., Szymkowicz, S. M., McLaren, M. E., & Dotson, V. M. (2016). Anxiety modifies the association between fatigue and verbal fluency in cognitively normal adults. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acw045

Dotson, V.M., Hsu, F.C., Langaee, T.Y., McDonough, C.W., King, A.C., Cohen, R.A., Newman, A.B., Kritchevsky, S.B., Myers, V., Manini, T.M., Pahor, M., & LIFE Study Group (2016). Genetic moderators of the impact of physical activity on depressive symptoms. Journal of Frailty and Aging, 5(1), 6-14. doi: 10.14283/jfa.2016.76

McLaren, M.E., Szymkowicz, S.M., Kirton, J.W., & Dotson, V.M. (2015). Impact of education on memory deficits in subclinical depression. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 30, 387–393. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acv038. PMCID: PMC4542750

Kirton, J. W., Resnick, S. M., Davatzikos, C. Kraut, M. A. & Dotson, V. M. (2013). Depressive symptoms, symptom dimensions and white matter lesion volume in older adults: a longitudinal study. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(12),1469-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2013.10.005. PMCID: PMC3984387

Dotson, V.M., Baydoun, M.A., & Zonderman, A.B. (2010). Recurrent depressive symptoms and the incidence of dementia and MCI. Neurology, 75, 27-34. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181e62124. PMCID: PMC2906403

Dotson, V.M., Zonderman, A.B., Davatzikos, C., Kraut, M.A., & Resnick, S.M. (2009). Frontal atrophy and immediate memory deficits in older adults with a history of elevated depressive symptoms. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 3, 358–369. doi: 10.1007/s11682-009-9078-z. PMCID: PMC2818329

Dotson, V.M., Davatzikos, C., Kraut, M.A., & Resnick, S.M. (2009). Depressive symptoms and brain volumes in older adults: A longitudinal MRI study. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 34(5), 367-375. PMCID: PMC2732743

Dotson, V.M., Kitner-Triolo, M., Evans, M.K., & Zonderman, A.B. (2009). Effects of race and socioeconomic status on the relative influence of education and literacy on cognitive functioning. JINS, 15, 580-589. doi: 10.1017/S1355617709090821. PMCID: PMC2722437