Alan I. Leshner, M.S., Ph.D. (Chair), is chief executive officer, emeritus, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and former executive publisher of the journal Science. Previously, Dr. Leshner was director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He also served as deputy director and acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and in several roles at the National Science Foundation. Before joining the government, Dr. Leshner was professor of psychology at Bucknell University. He is an elected fellow of AAAS, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Public Administration, and many other professional societies. He is a member of and served on the governing Council of the National Academy of Medicine. He was appointed by President Bush to the National Science Board in 2004, and then reappointed by President Obama in 2011. Dr. Leshner received Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in physiological psychology from Rutgers University and an A.B. in psychology from Franklin and Marshall College. He has been awarded seven honorary doctor of science degrees.
Story Landis, Ph.D. (Vice Chair), is director, emerita, of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). She received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. After postdoctoral work at Harvard University, she served on the faculty of the university’s Department of Neurobiology. In 1985, she joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where she created the Department of Neurosciences that, under her leadership, achieved an international reputation for excellence. Dr. Landis joined
NINDS in 1995 as scientific director and worked to reengineer the Institute’s intramural research program and fostered the growth of a trans-NIH neuroscience community that led to the construction of the Porter Neuroscience Building on the NIH campus. From 2003 to 2014, she served as NINDS director, overseeing an annual budget of $1.6 billion that supported research by investigators in its intramural program and public and private institutions across the country. Together with NIMH and National Institute on Aging (NIA) directors, she co-chaired the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, a roadmap-like effort to support trans-NIH activities in the brain sciences. In 2013 and 2014, she and Dr. Tom Insel played a key role in launching the NIH BRAIN Initiative. Dr. Landis currently serves on the scientific advisory boards of the Vollum Institute at Oregon Health & Science University and the Neurological Research Institute at Baylor College of Medicine, as well as the scientific review boards of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Wellcome Trust. Throughout her research career, she has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of how functionally appropriate synapses form during development and the role of neurotrophins in peripheral nervous system. She is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Medicine, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is the 2015 recipient of the Ralph W. Gerard Prize from the Society of Neuroscience for outstanding contributions to neuroscience throughout her career.
Marilyn Albert, Ph.D., is a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins and director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience. She received her Ph.D. in physiological psychology from McGill University in Montreal and completed a fellowship in neuropsychology at Boston University School of Medicine. She served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School for more than 22 years. Dr. Albert focuses on the cognitive and brain changes associated with aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Her work has delineated the cognitive changes associated with aging and early AD, along with potential methods of early identification of AD. She has also identified lifestyle factors that promote maintenance of mental abilities with advancing age. Dr. Albert’s research currently focuses on the early identification of AD and potential ways of monitoring the progression of disease to permit early intervention.
Lisa L. Barnes, Ph.D., is a professor in the departments of Neurological Sciences and Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center and a cognitive neuropsychologist in the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. She earned her Ph.D. in biopsychology from the University of Michigan and completed postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at the University of California, Davis, before joining the faculty at Rush in 1999. Her research focus is
on racial disparities in chronic diseases of aging. She is principal investigator of several community-based cohort studies of older African Americans and director of the Rush Center of Excellence on Disparities in HIV and Aging. Dr. Barnes is nationally recognized for her contributions to minority aging and health disparities, and has published extensively on risk factors for cognitive aging and dementia in older African Americans. She is an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease awareness in the minority communities in which she serves.
Dan G. Blazer, M.P.H., M.D., Ph.D., is former dean of medical education and currently J.P. Gibbons professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He is a professor of community and family medicine. He also serves as adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Blazer received his M.D. degree from the University of Tennessee and his M.P.H. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 1995, where he chaired the membership committee for 2 years (2005-2007). He was awarded the Walsh McDermott Award from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2014 for distinguished lifetime service to the institute. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Archives of General Psychiatry and as chair of the Board on the Health of Select Populations. He chaired the IOM committee on the public health aspects of cognitive aging, whose report released in 2015.
Mark A. Espeland, Ph.D., is a professor of public health sciences at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, where he was founding chair of its Department of Biostatistical Sciences. Trained as a biostatistician and an expert in statistical analysis, in the last decade Dr. Espeland has directed much of his research toward conducting clinical trials of strategies to preserve physical and cognitive function during later life. He has authored/co-authored more than 260 methodological and biomedical journal articles and has received awards for his research from the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association. He has held leadership positions in more than two dozen coordinating centers for major studies and is a frequent consultant to NIH and industry. He has served on or chaired dozens of data safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) for NIH and industry and currently serves on the NIA Clinical Trials Advisory Panel.
J Taylor Harden, R.N., Ph.D., is executive director, National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence, at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). She is a social and behavioral nurse scientist with expertise in aging. Prior to her current position, she was affiliated with the
Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Initiative at the American Academy of Nursing and NIA. At NIA she served as both Assistant to the Director for Special Populations (1997-2011) and Acting Deputy Director (2008). Prior to joining NIA in 1994, she was a tenured associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where she taught in both graduate and undergraduate programs. Dr. Harden has wide-ranging research and administrative expertise in aging research, with emphases in research administration, clinical interventions, risk and resilience in older women, minority health/health disparities, recruitment and retention of older adults, and mentoring and career development of early career scientists. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Maryland at Baltimore and her Ph.D. in nursing from The University of Texas at Austin.
Claudia H. Kawas, M.D., Al and Trish Nichols chair in clinical neuroscience and professor of neurobiology and behavior and neurology, University of California, Irvine, is a geriatric neurologist and researcher in the areas of aging and dementia. Her work is concentrated on the epidemiology of aging and Alzheimer’s disease, the determinants of successful aging, longitudinal and clinical pathological investigations, clinical trials, and most recently studies of cognitive and functional abilities of the oldest old (over 90 years of age). Dr. Kawas is a graduate of Swarthmore College, and completed her medical studies at the University of Louisville and her neurology residency training and a fellowship in dementia and aging at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After 15 years on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Kawas moved to the University of California, Irvine (UCI), in 2000, where she is principal investigator of The 90+ Study and associate director of the UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders. She serves on committees for NIH and the scientific advisory boards of several organizations, including the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the National Alzheimer’s Association, The Dana Foundation, and the Food and Drug Administration.
Nan M. Laird, Ph.D., is the Harvey V. Fineberg research professor of biostatistics in the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Laird has contributed to methodology in many different fields, including longitudinal data analysis, missing data, meta-analysis, and family-based association studies in genetics. She has coauthored two popular textbooks, on longitudinal data analysis and on statistical genetics. She has received numerous awards, including the Florence Nightingale David award and the Samuel S. Wilkes Award, both from the American Statistical Association.
Kenneth M. Langa, M.D., Ph.D., is the Cyrus Sturgis professor of medicine in the Division of General Medicine, Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) Center for Clinical Management Research, Institute for Social Research, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and Institute of Gerontology, University of Michigan. He is also associate director of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), an NIA-funded longitudinal study of 20,000 adults in the United States. Dr. Langa received an M.D. and a Ph.D. in public policy at the University of Chicago as a fellow in the Pew Program for Medicine, Arts, and the Social Sciences. He is a board-certified general internist with an active clinical practice treating adult patients, and is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). His research focuses on the epidemiology and costs of chronic disease in older adults, with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles on these topics. He is currently studying population trends in dementia prevalence, and the relationship of common cardiovascular risk factors, as well as acute illnesses such as sepsis and stroke, to cognitive decline and dementia. In 2007 and 2015, Dr. Langa served as a visiting professor at the Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, and in 2015, he was also a visiting professor at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where he continued work on cross-national comparisons of the epidemiology and outcomes of dementia in the United States, England, and other countries around the world.
Eric B. Larson, M.D., M.P.H., is executive director of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and vice president for research and health care innovation at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he trained in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, completed a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars and M.P.H. program at the University of Washington (UW), and then served as chief resident of University Hospital in Seattle. He served as medical director of the University of Washington Medical Center and associate dean for clinical affairs, 1989-2002. Dr. Larson’s research spans a range of general medicine topics and has focused on aging and dementia, and includes a long-running study of aging and cognitive change set in the Group Health Cooperative—the UW/Group Health Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Registry/Adult Changes in Thought Study. He has served as president of the Society of General Internal Medicine, chair of the Office of Technology Assessment/Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Panel on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, and chair of the Board of Regents (2004-2005) of the American College of Physicians. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.
José A. Luchsinger, M.P.H., M.D., is an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center. He is a general internist and epidemiologist whose main research focus has been the study of modifiable risk factors and prevention of cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s dementia. He is the principal investigator of two R01s from NIA focused on risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, and grants from the National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) focused on the health of caregivers of persons with dementia. Dr. Luchsinger is the leader of the cognitive coordinating center of the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) and the Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes study (GRADE), funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). He is editor-in-chief of the journal Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders. He received his M.D. from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and his M.P.H. from Columbia University.
Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., is director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. He received a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Minnesota and graduated from Mayo Medical School in 1980. He completed an internship in medicine at Stanford University Medical Center and returned to Mayo Clinic to complete a residency in neurology. He then completed a fellowship in behavioral neurology at Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Dr. Petersen joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in 1986 and became a professor of neurology in 1996. His current research focuses on the study of normal aging, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Petersen consults for the Federal Trade Commission. He formerly was chair of the Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council and is now on its board of directors. He was a member of the National Advisory Council on Aging and the Board of Scientific Counselors of NIA and is the chair of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services for the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, and serves on the World Dementia Council.
Ralph L. Sacco, M.S., M.D., is the chairman of neurology; Olemberg Family chair in neurological disorders; Miller Professor of neurology, epidemiology and public health sciences, human genetics, and neurosurgery; executive director of the Evelyn McKnight Brain Institute, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami; and chief of the neurology service at Jackson Memorial Hospital. A graduate of Cornell University in bioelectrical engineering and a cum laude graduate of Boston University School of Medicine, he also holds an M.S. in epidemiology from the Columbia University Mailman
School of Public Health. Dr. Sacco completed his neurology residency training and postdoctoral training in stroke and epidemiology at Columbia Presbyterian in New York. He was previously professor of neurology, chief of Stroke and Critical Care Division, and associate chairman, Columbia University. He is principal investigator of the NINDS-funded Northern Manhattan Study, the Florida Puerto Rico Collaboration to Reduce Stroke Disparities, and the Family Study of Stroke Risk and Carotid Atherosclerosis, as well as co-investigator of multiple other NIH grants. He has also been the co-chair of international stroke treatment and prevention trials. Dr. Sacco has published extensively with more than 425 peer-reviewed articles and 102 invited articles in the areas of stroke prevention, treatment, epidemiology, risk factors, vascular cognitive impairment, human genetics and stroke recurrence. His research has also addressed stroke and vascular disparities. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including, the Johann Jacob Wepfer Award from the European Stroke Conference, the American Heart Association’s Golden Heart Award, the Feinberg Award of Excellence in Clinical Stroke, the Chairman’s Award from the American Heart Association, the NINDS Javits Award in Neuroscience, and been elected to the American Association of Physicians. He has lectured extensively at national and international meetings. Dr. Sacco is a fellow of the Stroke and Epidemiology Councils of the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Neurology, and the American Neurological Association. He has been a member of the World Stroke Organization since 2008 and currently chairs the research committee, and is on the board of directors. He currently serves as president elect of the American Academy of Neurology and as a member of the National Advisory NINDS Council. He was the first neurologist to serve as the president of the American Heart Association, 2010-2011.
Sudha Seshadri, M.D., is a professor of neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine and a senior investigator of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), where she leads the neurology and neurogenetics cores. As a board-certified neurologist, she has been diagnosing and treating patients with dementia and mild cognitive impairment for more than two decades. She is also principal investigator on five NIH grants that fund dementia surveillance, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and amyloid and tau positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, neuropsychological testing and brain autopsies on FHS participants. Her research focuses on risk prediction; temporal trends; primary prevention; and the lifestyle, vascular, metabolic, biomarker, and genetic risk factors underlying dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular cognitive impairment, and healthy brain aging. She has more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, has authored or edited 3 books
and 10 chapters, serves on the editorial board of Neurology, Stroke, and Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, and chairs an NIH Study Section. She leads the neurology working group within the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium, is a founding principal investigator of the International Genomics of Alzheimer Project and the Alzheimer Disease Sequencing Project, and currently is vice-chair of the METASTROKE consortium. In addition to numerous genetic analyses, she is undertaking collaborative research with other cohorts exploring a possible protective role of diabetes and hypertension treatments in cognitive decline and dementia risk and of physical activity in cognitive decline.
Leslie B. Snyder, Ph.D., is professor and interim department head of communication at the University of Connecticut (UConn). She holds master’s and Ph.D. degrees in communications from Stanford University and was director of the Center for Health Communication and Marketing, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Center of Excellence, at UConn, 2006-2013. Dr. Snyder conducts research on media effects, communication campaigns, health, and international communication. Her research includes design and evaluation of communication-based interventions, meta-analyses of campaign effects, population-based surveys, and experimental work on messaging and communication channels. She has received more than $7 million in research funding from NIH, CDC, and other sources, and regularly consults on national health campaigns. In 2008, she received the American Public Health Association’s Rogers Health Communication Award for her research. Recent studies have examined mobile media, mobile devices, games, and traditional media across a range of topics, including tobacco, alcohol, HIV/AIDS, family planning, maternal/child health, physical activity and sedentary behaviors, food marketing, and nutrition. Dr. Snyder co-edited The Sage Sourcebook of Advanced Data Analysis Methods for Communication Research. She served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of Cognitive Aging.
Kristine Yaffe, M.D., is a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and epidemiology and Roy and Marie Scola endowed chair and vice chair of research in psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She attended Yale University for her undergraduate degree, received her medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed residencies in neurology and psychiatry at UCSF. In her research, clinical work, and mentoring, she has directed her efforts toward improving the care of patients with cognitive disorders and other geriatric neuropsychiatric conditions. Dr. Yaffe serves on the Council of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and the Alzheimer’s Association Medical & Scientific Advisory
Council, and was the co-chair of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of Cognitive Aging. As the current principal investigator of seven NIH grants, as well as several other Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs grants, Dr. Yaffe’s research focuses on the epidemiology of dementia and cognitive aging.
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