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Josh Baker

Faculty Advisor: David C. Zhu
B.S., 2015, University of Pittsburgh
M.S., 2017, Pennsylvania State University
Entered Program in 2018

Cognitive Imaging Research Center

Academic and Research Background

I am from Bethlehem, PA and have a BS in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and an MS in Anatomy from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. Joshua also has a Translational Science Certificate from Penn State's Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and is particularly interested in human subjects research. Before beginning the DO/PhD Program, he was a faculty member at Lebanon Valley College in the Department of Physical Therapy where he taught Physiology, Anatomy, and Kinesiology. As an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, Joshua worked in Dr. Michele Okun's lab examining the relationship between sleep disturbance and preeclampsia risk during early gestation. As a Master's student, Joshua worked with Dr. Julio Fernandez-Mendoza on a population based study to improve the diagnosis and treatment of common sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea.

Current Research Interests

I am currently working on a pilot study examining novel ways to diagnose and monitor the recovery of high school athletes with sports-related concussion. Using MRI techniques such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), resting state fMRI (rs-fMRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) we examine the default mode network and related brain regions immediately following a concussion and during the recovery period.

Personal Interests

In the Lansing area, I enjoy swimming with the MSU club swim team, volunteering at outreach events and spending time with my friends in the Neuroscience program. In my free time I travel with my fiance to visit family in the metro Detroit and my favorite places in the Northeast.


  • Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Joshua H. Baker, Alexandros N. Vgontzas, Jordan Gaines, Duanping Liao, Edward O. Bixler. Insomnia symptoms with objective short sleep duration are associated with systemic inflammation in adolescents. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2016.12.026
  • Joshua H. Baker, Scott D. Rothenberger, Christopher E. Kline & Michele L. Okun (2018) Exercise during early pregnancy is associated with greater sleep continuity, Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 16:5, 482-493, DOI: 10.1080/15402002.2016.1228649